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Richard E. "Dick" Gibson


Richard E. "Dick" Gibson, husband, father and brother, died on April 16, 2018, at Brown Deer Place in Coralville, Iowa.
Dick, who was raised on a 40-acre, Depression-era farm in Corning, Iowa, followed his thirst for knowledge in shaping a life that led to professional partnerships with world-renowned architects and engineers. He served his community in ways large and small and traveled the world with Jane, his partner and wife of 60 years. In many respects, Dick was a self-made man, endlessly curious and passionately interested in the world around him.
Dick was the oldest child of William Earl and Mary Oneida (nee Symonds) Gibson. He graduated from Corning High School before earning his Bachelor of Science in commerce (1957) at the University of Iowa, where he also lettered in fencing. While in college, Dick joined ROTC and then served at Fort Ord, Calif., retiring from the Army Reserves with the rank of captain.
Dick began his 40-year career at the University of Iowa in 1960 in student services, retiring in 2000 as the associate vice president and director of facility services group. Over the last three decades of his career, Dick was involved in much of the campus planning and construction and was a strong voice in maintaining the U of I's emphasis on public art and green space. In addition to his service to the university, Dick also served on several civic groups over the years, including the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Committee, the Iowa City Jail Task Force and the small, but powerful, think tank known as Pro/Con. Dick was a proud Rotarian and regular attendee of the Iowa City Noon Rotary Club, where he served in leadership positions, participated in several overseas missions and was a Paul Harris Fellow.
After retirement, and in line with his love of art and commitment to the community, Dick served as a docent for the U of I Museum of Art, provided consultancy to the Coralville Children's Museum and was president of the U of I Retirees Association. In 2001, Dick was greatly honored by the U of I with the naming of the green space in front of the main library as "Gibson Square."
Outside of work, Dick and Jane found time to indulge in their shared love of travel, art, architecture and live music. Dick had many hobbies throughout his lifetime, including sailing, building model planes and boats, chess, handball, dancing, winemaking, intergenerational volleyball, pruning, house-boating, classic exotic cars and his pets, but none surpassed spending time with his close circle of friends, his children and his grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife, Jane Blessing, whom he met while a sophomore at the U of I; four children (all U of I graduates), Kevin (Monique) of Portland, Ore., Kelly (Matt) of Cross Plains, Wis., Elizabeth Ann (Kevin) of Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Rick of Minneapolis, Minn.; two beloved grandchildren, Hannah and Grayson Snyder, both fourth-generation students at U of I; two sisters, Shirley (Bob) Ross and Marianne Gibson; and several nieces and nephews.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Bill.
Memorial gifts can be made in Dick's name to the University of Iowa Museum of Art fund and to Iowa City Hospice.
A memorial reception will be held in Dick's honor from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, at the Levitt Center for University Advancement.
Condolences may be left for Dick's family at www.lensingfuneral.com.