The Rev. George Washington Gibbs Sr. of Sharon joyfully finished his course and went home to be with the Lord on Friday evening, Feb. 7, 2014, in Pittsburgh. He was 90 years old.
Rev. Gibbs was born Feb. 12, 1923, in Farrell to the union of Mortimer and Eunice Stroud Gibbs, as the third of seven children.
He was reared in the Church of God and received Christ at an early age.
He received his early education in Sharon School District, attended Sharon High School and was a member of the Sharon High School football team. He graduated from South High School in Youngstown.
Prior to his formal education, Rev. Gibbs worked in the former Sharon Transformer Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp. He then pursued his post-graduate formal education by attending Anderson (Ind.) College and Theological Seminary. Rev. Gibbs received a bachelor of theology degree from Berean Bible College, Coffeyville, Kan. He also received a bachelor of arts degree from Youngstown State University in philosophy and a bachelor of arts in religion with a minor in psychology.
His religious education led to his ordination by the Church of God during a national convocation in West Middlesex. After his ordination, for three years Rev. Gibbs served as pastor of Robinson Road Church of God in Campbell, Ohio.
Rev. Gibbs also was a supply minister for Baptist and Methodist churches in the Shenango Valley in his early ministry and was a member of the Community Prayer Band for more than 45 years.
He was an associate minister in the Church of God under the pastorship and leadership of the Rev. H.C. Smoot, the Rev. Isaac W. Mitchell and the Rev. Thomas J. Sawyer. This experience led him into the Institution of the Pastoral Care Program.
In 1965, Rev. Gibbs began his training in clinical pastoral education in preparation to become an institutional chaplain for the state of Pennsylvania. In 1967, after extensive training and counseling at Allentown (Pa.) State Hospital; the Berkshire Farm for Boys, a correctional center in Canaan, N.Y.; and Altoona General Hospital, Rev. Gibbs became certified as a chaplain by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.
That same year, Rev. Gibbs was hired at Cresson (Pa.) State School and Hospital, a state institution for the mentally retarded, as a full-time chaplaincy program director for about 20 years. He was in charge of the Protestant chaplaincy department and responsible for the ministry of counseling, community involvement and Protestant worship services.
During his ministry for the state of Pennsylvania, Rev. Gibbs became involved with many state officials. In 1983, Chaplain Gibbs retired as director of the Institutional Chaplaincy Program in Canonsburg, Pa., Western Center.
Chaplain Gibbs was involved in the family trucking business during his spare time while working in ministry. During most of his chaplaincy years, he drove back to Sharon on Thursday evenings, donning coveralls so he could work on the truck on Fridays and Saturdays.
As a retired chaplain, he revitalized Gibbs Hauling Service, a small family business which was started in 1935 by his father. Chaplain Gibbs believed that the work of a chaplain and a refuse collector required reserves of patience and self-reliance to solve problems.
As a retired chaplain, along with his son, Ivan, he stabilized the business and served many residential and commercial customers and secured municipal contracts with Farrell, Pymatuning Township and Mercer County. His faith as a chaplain and his experience as a counselor sustained him in the many challenges he faced as president of Gibbs Hauling Service.
After more than 50 years in business, Rev. Gibbs retired at the age of 83 from the family hauling business.
Rev. Gibbs loved his children, his grandchildren, family, friends and acquaintances. He had a profound influence on people and supported them with his love and encouragement. He enjoyed helping people in any way that he could.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed and loved discussing political views, watching CNN and sports, training his pets, fishing and playing basketball with friends.
Rev. Gibbs was married to Sophie Mazyck Gibbs and to that union four children were born: Portia L., wife of James; George W. Jr., Ivan L. and Cordella E. His wife preceded him in death in 1978.
Rejoicing in his life of service and love are his children; grandchildren, Brandon, Brent, Ivena, Jaymee and Jasmine; and a great-grandchild, Amohn-Tahna. His memory is also cherished by two brothers, the Rev. Marvin Gibbs and Larry Gibbs; three sisters-in-law, Hilda Mazyck, Earline Rishbur and Josephine Gibbs; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins, and many other family members, church family and friends.
Besides his wife, preceding him in death were his parents; a brother, Benjamin F.; and three sisters, Modestine, Katie and Portia.
The Rev. George Washington Sr., 90, Sharon.
Calling hours: Friends may call from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday (2-14-14) in J.E. WASHINGTON FUNERAL SERVICES Inc., 1059 Hamilton Ave., Farrell. Please visit jewashingtonfuneralservices.com to leave condolences or sign an online guestbook. Family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to time of service Saturday (2-15-14) in Valley Baptist Church, 500 Sharon-New Castle Road, Farrell.
Service: Funeral service at 11 a.m. Saturday in the church.