Francis (Frank) Lee Gibson was born
April 1, 1939 in Bellaire, Ohio to parents James and Anna Gibson. His
parents shaped his extraordinary life; his father James was killed in a
Powhatan Mine fire when he was 5 years old; his mother Anna was a school
teacher for 46 years at Glencoe Elementary.
He attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Ohio where he excelled as a
student and all-around athlete in which he received 9 letters (3 in
football, basketball, and track) and is a member of the Ohio High School
Football Hall of Fame. Very few of his peers escaped the coal mines and
steel mills of Eastern Ohio.
He then attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York,
a decision that would forever shape his life and one that he cherished
deeply. While at West Point he starred in Baseball and Football. He was on
the last undefeated football team in 1958, 3-year letterman and was the
Co-Captain of the 1961 football team. In 1961, Frank graduated with a
Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He completed his education with a Master's degree from Georgia Tech.
After graduation, his Army career was "Second to None". He attended Airborne
and Ranger training before being called to Vietnam in 1966. He was an
Airborne Ranger with the 101st Airborne unit, commanded a company in
Vietnam, commanded battalions in Vietnam and Korea. He also taught at the
Command and General Staff College, Pentagon and Bethesda Think Tank, and
also did two coaching tours on the West Point Football Staff over his 20
years of service in the Military. He was a Decorated Officer, being awarded
the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal (2); Meritorious Service Medal; Air
Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal; National
Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal (7 Campaigns); Republic of
Vietnam Campaign Medal; Parachutist Badge; Meritorious Unit Commendation,
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Gold Star, Ranger Tab.
He married the love of his life, Barbara Ann Tanis from New Jersey, whom he
met on a blind date; they have been married for 52 years. After many
military assignments they eventually settled with their three children in
1981 in Orange, California. He was a successful Real Estate and Mortgage
Broker. His three sons played football at the University of Arizona and
University of Southern California; Frank and Barbara traveled coast to coast
never missing a game.
In 2010, Frank and Barbara moved to Tustin, California where he lived the
remainder of his life. He loved to give back to the community which was so
great to him. He was a mentor at the Combat Veterans Superior Court of
Orange County and was the founder of the military veteran's support group at
Trinity Presbyterian Church.
Frank was larger than life. He was a loyal and loving husband, supportive
and caring father, and was his grandchildren's favorite person, their Papa
or Papa Hooty. He found extreme Joy in all ten of them. He was a family man
with great integrity above and beyond everything else.
He loved God. He loved duck hunting and fishing with the "Judge" and his
many pals. He was always decked out with his favorite camouflage from head
to toe. He loved his football; ARMY football (and the reunions), Wildcat
football, Trojan football, Vanguard football and going to Orange County High
School games, he insisted on being on the sidelines where everyone loved
saying hello. He loved going to his 10 grandchildren's sporting events,
basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, etc. Whatever sport, he loved
spending time with them. He loved to golf with his many friends and church
group. All those that knew him loved him. He loved his many Labrador
retrievers. He loved to entertain his friends and family - BBQ Ribs were his
specialty. He was generous, kind and a great man of character. He was happy.
He had a blessed life and was loved dearly. The world is a smaller place
Frank will be tremendously missed by his family and friends, but he will
never be forgotten, his Legacy will be felt forever and ever. He was our
Frank is survived by his wife, Barbara Gibson; his children: Francis Gibson
Jr. (Kimberly), Donald Gibson (Gaylen) and Craig Gibson (Ellen); his
grandchildren: Hayden, Gabrielle, Gunner, Kate, Sara, Anne, Charleigh,
Thomas, Rylee and Reagan; his brother James (Iola) and by his uncle Edward
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Frank's memory be sent
to West Point Association of Graduates – Friends of Army Football, memory of
Frank Gibson, 698 Mills Road West Point, NY 10996 or Orange County Veteran's
Court – Collaborative Courts FDT P.O. Box 633 Laguna Beach, CA 92652 – in
Memory of Frank Gibson.
Services to be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA 11:00 AM
Saturday, February 4th.