Donald Clyde GibbonsOctober 29, 1926 ~ January 14, 2018 (age 91)
Donald Clyde Gibbons, son of Clyde John Gibbons and Florence Eunice (Meyers)Gibbons, was born in Lavoye, Wyoming (now a ghost town) on October 29, 1926 and died on January 14, 2018 in Modesto, California. In 1949 Don met his sweetheart, Alice (Rhoads) Gibbons on Whidbey Island, WA where both were engaged in summer ministry. Don, who was pursuing training for overseas missions, followed Alice to Seattle’s Simpson Bible Institute (Simpson University) graduating in 1951. Don and Alice married on June 30, 1951. They moved to remote Paulina, Oregon for 2 years to plant a Village Missions church.
In 1953 The Christian and Missionary Alliance sent Don and Alice on an ocean freighter to the tribal people of what was then known as Netherlands New Guinea, now the province of Papua, Indonesia. Don and fellow missionary, Gordon Larson, hiked for days under dangerous conditions to reach the Ilaga valley, becoming the first outsiders to live among the stone-aged nationals residing there. For the next 42 years Don and Alice were at the center of an amazing movement among these people as hundreds came to know Jesus and God’s Good News spread from tribe to tribe. This incredible story of hope and joy is told in Alice’s book, The People Time Forgot. If you would like to read it for yourself, call or text Joyce at 209-499-4121 to make arrangements.
God had equipped Don to serve as a missionary in this setting. Don’s gifts included hiking long distances quickly, connecting with people of different cultures, quickly picking up a new language and communicating the gospel in innovative and culturally appropriate ways. Over the years, he explored remote places, gladly took on danger and hardship, and creatively repaired and built things using the few materials at hand. He also supervised the building of airstrips that allowed for the first planes to land in the interior of Papua. Together with Alice, he ran medical clinics, taught Bible School, created curriculum for those students, and was a pastor to many. Don’s love for people helped him make friends around the world and inspired many to support international missions.
After returning to the USA to retire Don was active in churches in Paradise, CA and Ripon, CA. His garden in Ripon made the Manteca Bulletin in 2009, and he loved trading produce at the Senior Center. Don and Alice celebrated 66 years of marriage in June of 2017. He was devoted to caring for Alice and trying to out-live her, which was her strong desire. When she passed away in July of 2017, he stopped pushing himself and let others take care of him. Don loved Alice. He loved everyone else. Most of all, he loved God.
Don is survived by his five daughters, Kathy Brooks (Tim), Joyce Parker, Lori Clark (Dave), Helen White (Doug), and Darlene LeTexier(John); by 13 grandchildren, Christy Matthew, Eric, Dane, Aaron, Caleb, Rachel, Joshua, Kevin, Jesse, Daniel, Jack and Karis; and 15 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, 02/22/18 at Paradise Alliance Church, 6491 Clark Rd. Paradise, CA 95969. In lieu of flowers please send any gifts in loving memory to: The Christian and Missionary Alliance, 8595 Explorer Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80920, designated to the GCF(Great Commission Fund)