Patti Audrey Gibson

March 26, 1936October 5, 2021

Patti A. Gibson, 85, of Crystal Lake, IL, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at Huntley Hospital, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on March 26, 1936 in Elgin, daughter of Edmund and Olive (Buckley) Ritschard. She married Billie Dale Gibson in 1957.

She lived in her “beloved Crystal Lake” all of her adult years, raising her kids there and getting involved in the community through scouting, community theatre, church, and various ways of giving back and serving others. She endured the loss of her beloved Billie Dale in 1968 when the children were young. Patti soldiered on, loving her children fiercely, knitting them close to each other and to her, and molding them in character to care for others (human and animal) and to make the world a better place, in ways large and small.

Patti worked for several years at the office of Drs. Hillstrom and Wall, and later enjoyed her years working part-time at the Nature Center at Veteran Acres.

But the activity that Patti was the most enthusiastic about, truly her passion and her calling, was her work as a search and rescue dog handler, since the mid-1980s. She was a founding member of both Illinois-Wisconsin Search and Rescue (IL-WIS SAR) and Canine Search and Recovery (CSR). She saw her work with the bloodhounds she trained and loved as her way to do good in the world.

Patti is survived by her children Mark Gibson of Crystal Lake, Kim (Paul) Rampenthal of Freeport, Kandis (Rory Baracani) Cane of Arlington Heights, Kelly (Nils) Swanson of Wonder Lake, and Jenny (Scott) Leech of Crystal Lake, as well as 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by her Walker coonhound Lily. Patti was predeceased by her beloved bloodhounds Emma Rose, Josie Wales, Maggie, and Sybil— who all met her at the Rainbow Bridge that Tuesday afternoon.

On Thursday, November 4, at 11:00 AM, a memorial service for Patti will be held in the chapel at First Congregational Church, 461 Pierson St, Crystal Lake. Then, from 12:15 to 3:00 PM, we’ll celebrate Patti’s beautiful life at an open house event at one of her favorite places, the CL Park District Nature Center, 330 N Main St, Crystal Lake. At that event, a light lunch will be served, and we’ll share our photos, mementos, and stories about our mom/grandma. (Bring yours too!)

Feel free to come to the service at church or the Nature Center gathering, or both. Please dress casually—as Patti would! In lieu of flowers (seriously!) you can do one of two things: Make a donation in Patti’s memory to Illinois-Wisconsin Search and Rescue Dogs (IL-WIS), PO Box 96, Woodstock, IL 60098, OR bring a donation of dog or cat treats to the Nature Center when you come; they will be taken to the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Patti loved the idea of food pantry patrons being able to pick up treats for their pets when they came by.


  • Edmund Ritschard, Father (deceased)
  • Olive (Buckley) Ritschard, Mother (deceased)
  • Billie Dale Gibson, Husband (deceased)
  • Mark Gibson, Son
  • Kim Rampenthal (Paul), Daughter
  • Kandis Cane (Rory Baracani), Daughter
  • Kelly Swanson (Nils), Daughter
  • Jenny Leech (Scott), Daughter
  • Christopher Schultz, Grandchild
  • Kori Jung (John), Grandchild
  • Taylor Harman (Hans Diaz), Grandchild
  • Nate Harman, Grandchild
  • Hailey Pliner (Tyler), Grandchild
  • Billie Swanson, Grandchild
  • Molly Mehlman (Jeremy), Grandchild
  • Wylie Swanson, Grandchild
  • Macky Leech, Grandchild
  • Braeden Jung, Great Grandchild
  • Payton Jung, Great Grandchild
  • Cameron Pliner, Great Grandchild
  • Lily, Walker coonhound
  • Emma Rose, Josie Wales, Sybil, Bloodhounds (deceased)


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Patti Audrey Gibson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Melissa Stormer

October 12, 2021

Patti and I go back 20 years as we understood each other’s love of Bloodhounds and public service. May her family feel the respect we all had for Patti in this community. I will miss her Christmas cards the most, each one is a reminder of her devotion to all the people and dogs she loved.

Lisa Starbuck

October 7, 2021

Hi Jenny and Family - I only know your mom through your various facebook posts. She was obviously a strong woman and compassionate about helping animals and people. She did so much good for her family and this world. I'm guessing she set a great example, and I'm grateful that there are people like her, you and Scott in this world that have compassion for animals in need. Your tribute to her is wonderful. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. I know she will live on in your hearts.