Wesley "Wes" Gibbs
February 24, 1936 – December 6, 2020
Wesley (Wes) Waits Gibbs (2/24/1936-12/6/2020) was a devoted family man, an accomplished mechanical engineer, and a multi-sports athlete. He was born in Memphis, TN and was the youngest child of Wesley Veloice Gibbs. He had two older sisters - Dana and Martha. He was married to Sandra Adair Barton on August 9, 1954. They remained married for 66 years and had three children - Karen Adair, Wesley Barton, and Mark Griffith. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Wes distinguished himself with hard work and respected performance throughout his life. As a young man, he was an eagle scout, an ROTC cadet, and a devout Methodist. In high school, he lettered in basketball, baseball, and was co-captain of the Memphis Central High School football team. He received a football scholarship from the Georgia Institute of Technology when he was seventeen years old. After receiving a BSME in 1958, he chose to focus on practicing engineering and raising a family rather than pursuing professional sports.
His career was long, diverse, and successful. After three years with International Harvester as an engineering apprentice, Wes took a job with Brown Engineering in Huntsville, AL. He then took an assignment with NASA Huntsville and worked on the Saturn 1-C booster. He wrapped up his stint in Huntsville with a year at Martec, Inc. as their chief engineer.
In 1965, Wes began a five year tour with Boeing Aerospace. That assignment would take him and his family to Seattle Washington, Merritt Island, Florida, and back to Kent, a Seattle suburb. During that time, Wes worked on various Air force and NASA programs including Short Range Attack Missle and the Apollo Moon Mission. During that time, he also completed graduate courses in finance and accounting.
Tiring of the transfers and constant threat of layoffs (even though Boeing never expressed having an interest in laying off Wes Gibbs), he returned to Memphis in 1970 to work one year for his father-in-law at Barton Scaffolding and Service Company, Inc., and two years at J.M. O'Brien Construction. In 1973, he took on what would be an eighteen-month stint with United Inns, Inc., Construction Division in Jackson, MS.
Wes found his professional calling in 1974 when he moved his family to Gallatin, TN and began working for Westinghouse Power Generation Division. He mastered the assembly and maintenance process for gas, coal, and nuclear turbine engines that were in operation in over 30 power plants that he visited. He and Sandra returned to Florida in 1980 where he would continue working and later consulting on Westinghouse turbines.
Wes and Sandra spent their remaining 40 years together on the Florida Space Coast. They owned a condo, built a home together, and owned two more homes during that time.
Throughout his life, Wes remained devoted to his family. While engaged in his engineering career, he also found time to support his daughter's equestrian pursuits, to coach baseball and football teams that his sons played on, and to spend many hours playing tennis, waterskiing, and playing card and board games with his entire family. His support for this children through college resulted in his daughter becoming a veterinarian, his first son a missionary, and his youngest son an electrical engineer.
The family will honor Wes with a Celebration of Life Service, Saturday, July 10, 2021, 2:00pm in the chapel of McCarty-Evergreen Funeral Home, 7426 Asheville Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37924. Family and friends are invited to share fond memories and sign the online guestbook at www.mccartyevergreen.com.
- Sandra Adair Barton Gibbs, Wife
- Karen Adair, Daughter
- Wesley Barton Gibbs, Son
- Mark Giffith Gibbs, Son
- Wes is also survived by eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Celebration of Life Service
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Wesley "Wes" Gibbs
July 10, 2021
I worked with Wes at Boeing in 1966/67. He and I and a small group of engineers were located in the VAB, next to the first Sat 5. He and Sandy had my new wife and I over for dinner several times. She was a good friend to my new wife. An amazing coincidence that I looked him up today (July 10, 2021). Never had before. We left Florida in 67, just celebrated our 54th anniversary. I have always remembered Wes as a good friend and gentlemen. Sorry that life intervened and we lost contact.