Cover photo for Barbara Jean Gibbons's Obituary
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1936 Barbara 2019

Barbara Jean Gibbons

July 7, 1936 — April 20, 2019

Barbara J. Gibbons

Comstock, NE Resident, 82

 

Barbara Jean Gibbons (Erickson) was born July 7th, 1936, in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Dr. George T. Erickson and Minerva D. Erickson (Worthman). With her family at her side, Barbara passed away at Saint John’s nursing home in Kearney, Nebraska on April 20, 2019 at the age of 82 years.  In the days leading up to her passing, Barbara still had a quick wit and her great sense of humor, which made her more friends than she could have ever imagined. 

Barbara lived a life of passion, caring for family, community, and close friends.  She was always devoted to giving support, a kind word, or a favor to anyone in need.  She was compassionate, not only with her family, but with everyone who surrounded her.  Her sarcastic humor and quick wit made her an instant friend to nearly all that met her.

Barbara was raised in Broken Bow, Nebraska.  She was the only daughter of Dr. and Mrs. George Erickson, and her daddy treated her like a “queen”.  She graduated from Broken Bow High School in May of 1954.  Barb was a saxophone player in the band, served on Student Council, and was Valedictorian of her graduating class.  After high school, Barbara attended Stephens College in Missouri.  Stephens was a finishing school for girls, and in her sarcastic nature she often said when she was done at Stephens, she was finished!  After graduating from Stephens, Barbara attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, majoring in Education.  She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at UNL, where she made very dear, lifelong friends.

Barbara married the love of her life, John Bragg Gibbons, on March 14th, 1959, in Broken Bow, Nebraska.   To this union were born three daughters, Anne, Amy, and Katherine (Kate).  Barbara was very proud of her daughters and was always there for them, driving to countless horse shows and softball games in the summers, and attending many volleyball, basketball and music programs and activities during the school year.  She was a huge supporter of her kids and their friends.  She was their number one fan!

Barbara did not grow up on a working ranch, but she became an integral part of the operation after marrying John.  She worked alongside John over the years in a supporting role, keeping the books, generating and paying bills, washing mountains of laundry, organizing events, driving the support vehicle on cattle drives, picking up feed or medicine in town, and cooking countless meals for family and the hired men who lived at the ranch.  As giving as she was, she had her limits, and when she had been pushed too far, she took it upon herself to fire a few of the hands that made her mad.

On occasion, Barbara would drive while John fed cows from the back of the pickup and managed to throw him out of the truck only a couple of times.  More than once, she was coerced into driving while John would rope a cow from the hood of the car.  Her sarcastic wit and sense of humor turned these adventures into hilarious stories for the rest of us.  She loved telling of the time she almost killed him, insisting that it was his idea, and there was no way she was going to hold the rope if he ended up catching it!  Barbara loved John, and they did everything together as a couple.  She was truly devoted to him.  She sat through many seasons of horse racing at Fonner Park with a bad back and knee, not because she was such a fan or because she liked sitting there that long, but because she loved him that much; she knew he liked it. 

Barbara had a passion for flowers and having a nice-looking yard, complete with feeders and bird baths.  She loved to look through magazines and catalogues, finding the prettiest and most hardy items to plant.  She was instrumental in making sure her home town of Comstock got the same treatment.  She bought bushes and flowers for various areas throughout town and made sure they were planted and tended to.  She liked to give toward making the town of Comstock a better place to live, and the town was happy to honor her for her caring ways, naming Barbara the Grand Marshall for the 4th of July Parade in 2010.

Barbara had a very generous heart and was quick to get out her checkbook or wallet to help someone.  It really made her happy to make a difference that way.  She was this way with her friends, her children, and her grandkids, too.  She loved giving to them for birthdays, or Christmas, or just because she wanted to.  Giving made her happy.   Barbara liked to donate to causes that helped people and animals.  For many years she sold daffodils to help raise funds for cancer research and often donated to help the various Humane Societies.  She also loved babies and taking care of them!  Holding her grandbabies made her very happy.  She greatly enjoyed buying and giving baby gifts to little ones and their families, whether they were her relatives, friends, neighbors, or even her doctor who had treated her while she was in Kearney. 

If you needed help, a shoulder to cry on, a cup of coffee, a ride somewhere, a meal, or some cash to fill your gas tank, Barbara was willing to help you.  She had a generous heart and humorous spirit, yet she had limits that you didn’t want to cross.  She loved her family and friends and made sure to give to them with her entire heart.  All of us will forever miss her quick wit and her sarcastic, sassy way. 

Those left to cherish her memory are daughters Anne Marie Gibbons of Comstock, Amy Ellen Kremke (Kris) of Hooper, Katherine Louise Gibbons (Jay Cramer) of Omaha; grandchildren Sarah Sorensen (Drew), Megan Anderson (Dan), Brenna Keefe, Spencer Keefe, Tanner Kremke, Austin Kremke; and sister-in-law Marcia Erickson, nieces, a nephew, cousins, plus countless friends and acquaintances.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband John, her brothers Dr. Thomas Erickson and Edward Erickson, sister in-law Louise Erickson, and her parents Dr. George and Minerva Erickson.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, April 29th at 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church of Broken Bow, with Pastor Matt Fowler officiating. Burial will follow at Douglas Grove Cemetery, west of Comstock.  Visitation will be Sunday, April 28th from 2:00-6:00 pm at the United Methodist Church with family present from 4:00-6:00 pm.  Govier Brothers Mortuary in Broken Bow is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.govierbrothers.com.

Memorials are suggested in Barbara’s name to Comstock Volunteer Fire and Rescue and The Comstock Den. 

 

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