You know what Carl Gibbs, Jr. really liked about his granddad David Gibbs? Getting to do all those great adventurous outdoor things together that guys, especially guys in the South, love to do. Things like riding out to the cattle farm on 4-wheelers, shooting at squirrels scampering about in the forest and just hanging out, spending quality time together – just as family should.
And do you know what Carl Gibbs, Sr. values most about his father? Those must-know life lessons his dad taught him that never fails to guide Carl Gibbs, Sr. as he faces bumps and bruises along the road of life. Those lessons, Carl Gibbs, Sr. said, are always depended upon when it comes time to make a decision.
“I remember one time when we were hunting,” Carl Gibbs, Jr. said Wednesday, “we were going through a lot of sticker vines, and he said, ‘It’s just like life – you have to pick your way through. If you make the wrong decision you’ll get hurt.’”
The memories the Gibbs family has of their late loved one, who passed away Sunday, puts a smile on their faces as they try to get through their loss by standing together and clinging to each other on the eve of visitation for the late District 36 democratic representative.
Wednesday as Rep. Gibbs’ wife Annie sat in her home surrounded by her son, Carl, and her daughter-in-law, Sonya, she remembered how Rep. Gibbs always made sure his family had everything they needed while he was away in Jackson serving in the state legislature. From time to time, Rep. Gibbs would pick up the phone and call home to make sure everyone was alright and always asked about his beloved son, whom Rep. Gibbs cared deeply for along with his wife and family.
“Carl was the main conversation piece,” Annie Gibbs said, smiling as she reflected upon the fond times she and her husband shared together. “He wanted to make sure Carl was getting his studies in, going to Sunday school and things like that. Then he had a rule that he tried to live by and that was to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ He tried to live by that even though sometimes, being in public office, he would run into many difficulties, but regardless, he would always try to do unto them as he would want them to do unto him.”
It was Rep. Gibbs’ genuine concern about the betterment of people in his community that led him to public office where he served five years as District 1 Supervisor in Clay County, later being elected to the House of Representatives where he served over 20 years. A pillar of the Clay County community, Rep. Gibbs played a huge role in establishing the pre-school program Head Start in Clay County while working at Bryan Foods. He later became director of Head Start and went on serving in other ways, such as helping to get the American Legion Post off the ground and organizing the White Station Water Association years ago when residents of the White Station community had no running water. He served for several years as a firefighter until he was elected to the House and helped to organize the Unit 100 Volunteer Fire Station in White Station.
Annie Gibbs said her husband was truly a selfless individual, who thought about the needs of others and worked to see how he could help improve people’s lives. During his time as county supervisor, she said Rep. Gibbs would always go out early in the morning when storms threatened the county and checked roads in his district to ensure that they were free from debris and safe for motorists to pass over. It was little things like that, she said, that made him an outstanding member of the community and a father figure in the eyes of many of Clay County’s sons and daughters.
To Sonya Gibbs, the man who helped represent Clay County on the state level was more than just a father-in-law.
“It wasn’t that I was his daughter-in-law; he treated me like a daughter,” she said. “At different events he would always say, ‘Her parents birthed her, but she’s my daughter.’ I had the same relationship with him. I could call on him just as quickly as I could call my own father.”
Rep. Gibbs passed away at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo and the medical condition he suffered with before his passing remains undisclosed.
Annie Gibbs said when her husband, who rarely became ill, passed away she was at a lost, but the family is staying strong, leaning on God and trusting Him to get them through this difficult time.
“Even to think about it, it just broke our hearts,” she said. “Right now we’re living with it as best we can, but we all have a strong belief in God. He always taught us that we needed to be strong. When he was ill he said, ‘I may not be able to stay with you all, but I love my family and just keep your faith in God. He’ll make a way for you.’ I hold on to the verse that says, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ so that’s what we’re holding on to. He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.”
Visitation for Rep. David Gibbs will be this Friday from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Third Mt. Olive M.B. Church in West Point, and the funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Third Mt. Olive.