OBITUARY

Robert David Gibson

May 27, 1924August 27, 2021
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Robert "Hoot" David Gibson

Robert Gibson, 97, of Rainbow City, passed away at UAB Hospital on Friday, August 27, 2021. Funeral services will be held on Sunday, August 29, 2021 at Collier Butler Funeral Home. Visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. with the service to be held at 2:00 p.m. with Dr. John Richey and Lauil Thompson officiating. Burial will follow at Ashland City Cemetery for the family.

Mr. Gibson was born in Ophelia, Alabama on May 27, 1924 to Wyatt Lorenzo and Jeppie Stanford Gibson. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Alma DeStefano, brother Baron, twin brothers Burl and Earl, in-laws R.Y. and Elizabeth Gilbert. He was a 1943 graduate of Lineville High School and a graduate of University of Alabama with a degree in Business.

An Army Air Corps veteran of WWII, he flew 24 combat missions as a waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress based in Lavenham, England. During one mission, his plane was struck by enemy fire forcing all the crew to parachute to safety. He landed in the Marne River in Chalon-sur-Marne, France, was injured and rescued by his crew mate, Joe Bail. This injury earned him the Purple Heart. On a separate mission, his plane was struck by German flak suffering an elbow injury earning him an Oak Leaf Cluster. He was honorably discharged in November 1945. He was the last surviving member of the 487th Bomb Group, 836th Bomb Squadron, Mulholland Group. He was honored to be inducted in the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association in 2015 and served as the Grand Marshall of the Parade.

He was a proud 1986 retiree of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. serving in the "factories" (his definition of plants) of Gadsden, AL and Union City, TN. He was a member of Coosa Valley Baptist Church since 1976. He enjoyed cattle farming, gardening, hunting, fishing, golfing, bowling, baking pecans pies, and enjoyed traveling the world visiting 56 countries, principalities, and territories.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Louise Gilbert Gibson, daughters Ellen (Allen) Hawkins, Beth (Johnny) Lee, grandchildren, Laura Hawkins Miller, Brett Hawkins, and Elizabeth Lee; great-grandchildren, Mason and Chloe Miller; step-granddaughter Dr. Amanda Glaze and family; sister, Jane Waters of Destin, FL.; nephews, Robert DeStefano, Dr. David Gibson, Steve Spratt, Keith Gibson, Donald Gibson, Ken Spratt, and Jeffrey Gibson, and niece Becky Watson.

Pallbearers will be grandson Brett Hawkins and nephews. Honorary pallbearers are former neighbors of Covered Bridge Estates, residents of Regency Pointe, and members of Coosa Valley Baptist Church. Special thanks to all caregivers and all who provided care to him including UAB TBICU doctors, nurses, and staff.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Coosa Valley Baptist Church 523 W. Grand Avenue Rainbow City AL 35906 or any charity of your choice.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, August 29, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Sunday, August 29, 2021

Memories

Robert David Gibson

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Teresa Greer

September 12, 2021

I had the most awesome privilege of being a caregiver for Mr Gibson . I was with him when he fell on August 21, Mr and Mrs Gibson are the most beautiful people ever and I am so proud to know them. Mr Gibson was a great American war hero and I got to experience the love he had for his awesome wife and his family. He always had a special love in his eyes and in his voice when he talked to his wife. This world has truly lost a fine man, wish we could have more like him. I am so grateful for having spent time with Mr. Gibson, those memories I will cherish for the rest of my days. To his wife Louise and daughters Ellen and Beth may you find peace and comfort with each passing day.

Jeanette Stanforf Bone

August 28, 2021

So sorry for your loss. Your cousins in Texas are praying for your family. May God hold you close in His loving arms.

David Lee

August 28, 2021

Me Gibson was very great American 🇺🇸 who loved his Country, his God, and his family. He was always a nice gentleman to me and others that he came in contact with. A true war hero from the greatest generation and oh how we need his kind today! I am so thankful for men like him who made so many sacrifices for all of us. Rest In Peace my friend! Love and prayers to all your family!!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Bonnie Vaughan Daniel

August 28, 2021

Mrs. Gibson, Beth, Elaine, and Family.

I can't think of a single memory of your dad when he was not smiling. He once told me the story about how he killed the bobcat that was mounted in your UC house. Looking back, I wonder how that conversation went down with Mrs. Gibson when he shared his idea. Reading his obituary, I was humbled to learn that he had such a distinguished career in our military. Love you all and sending hugs from West TN.

Bonnie Vaughan Daniel

Christine Bullington

August 28, 2021

Mr Gibson was a very kind man I was one of his housekeepers at Regency Pointe ever time I would see him and ask how he was doing he would give me thunds up sure will miss seeing him he's RIP now love Christine

Jerry Smith

August 28, 2021

My all time hero.

Jerry Smith

August 28, 2021

Robert “Hoot” Gibson was a true hero from America’s Greatest Generation who played a significant role in winning the air war over Nazi occupied Europe. Flying as a gunner on a B-17, Hood’s aircraft was shot down on his third mission. The captain ordered his crew to bail from the damaged aircraft. The aircraft made it to friendly territory before the crew was ordered to bail from the aircraft. Landing in a river, Hoot would likely have drown from the weight of his wet flight suit and shoot. But his life was soared as friendliest swam out to pull him ashore.

Hoot continued his war with the Nazis until his 24th mission over Berlin when he was severely injured when flack hit him. Hoot’s war was over. He spent many long months in rehab as he gained much of the use of his damaged shoulder.

Hoot was a true hero and he rightly is honored in the Etowah County Patriot’s Hall of Fame.

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