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Islanders remember Michael Gibbons

June 7, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Saturday afternoon the Elks Club was filled to capacity as islanders remembered Michael Gibbons, a Matlacha resident and co-owner of Matlacha Cottages.

Gibbons passed away Monday, May 15. He was 65 years old.

As a member of the Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781, Gibbons received the official Elks Memorial Service delivered by the Elks leadership. Family and friends offered remembrances of Gibbons from his childhood in Massachusetts to his final years in Matlacha.

Article Photos

Michael Gibbons

Gibbons was born January 23, 1952, in Salem, Massachusetts, to Robert E. Gibbons and Doris E. Ruane Gibbons. He grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, where he attended public schools until attending Bishop Fenwick High School. He attended the University of Massachusetts in Boston for two years before going to work for the New England Telephone Company. His job led to extensive travel throughout the world.?Gibbons was always involved in the communities where he and his wife, Marta, lived. In Garrison, New York, he was appointed chairman of the Philipstown Greenway; county representative of the New York State Greenway; and member of the Philipstown Planning Board. He worked closely with the New York State Park System to create the Hudson Valley's Fjord Hike & Bike Trail in Philipstown and frequently consulted with New York state representatives on environmental matters.

He was also a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce.?Gibbons and Marta left New York to retire in Matlacha, where in 2012 they purchased Matlacha Cottages.?Gibbons became involved in the Matlacha community initially with the Matlacha Civic Association where he was elected president. He served as president for one year when his illness was diagnosed and he was forced to resign. After his health improved, he became active in the community once again and visited the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce.

"I still remember the day Michael drove up to the chamber building, with his hat and his strut ... he really left an impression," Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Jennings said. "But I can't tell you how much Michael contributed to the Chamber of Commerce. Michael was so involved and Michael is the reason we have the golf tournament. Michael was an amazing man who taught me so much and I can't tell you how much he's going to be missed."?Gibbons enjoyed serving his community and meeting new people. His favorite pastimes were golfing, fishing and dancing with Marta whenever possible. Toward the end of his life, he discovered a hidden talent for writing; documenting life experiences with a poetic flair that led to his first publication.?Marta was the last to speak at the service.

"I want to thank all of you for coming today to celebrate Michael's life," Marta said. "It's been a beautiful journey for us and I'd like to read a poem Michael wrote for his mother when she was leaving. I never knew Michael had this talent for writing he always supported my writing, he always nurtured my writing, and just made it like I was the one, that needed to be out there. It does seem other people have seen his talent and his poems will be published some time later this year. This is a poem by Michael."

We gather in celebration of life,

of time together,

of generations spanned.

Time together, family,

only wanting each generation a better life.

Each accomplishing so much.

Time is non-stoppable, age we must.

You gave us so much,

suffered so much for us.

When our time comes,

make it pass quickly, painlessly,

May the tears our loved ones shed,

be not in sorrow, but in celebration.

For we are always here,

we were always there."

"Thank again you for helping celebrate my husband's life," she concluded.

Gibbons is survived by his wife, author Marta Elva Gibbons of Matlacha; two children, Jesse Daniel Gibbons (wife Nicole) and Jennifer Michael Gibbons of Gloucester, Massachusetts; one brother, Robert Gibbons (wife Kathleen) of Colorado; and one grandson, Ethan Kevin Gibbons.

Memorial contributions in memory of Michael Edward Gibbons are suggested to Florida Cancer Specialists, 1708 Cape Coral Parkway, West, Suite 10, Cape Coral, FL 33914 or Hope Hospice, 9470 Health Park Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.



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