Elbert Warren Gibson

Elbert Warren Gibson


Gibson (Contributed)

Elbert Warren Gibson, a long-time resident of Shelby County and former postmaster of Columbiana, went to be with the Lord on Nov. 15, 2012, at the age of 89. The family received friends at the First Baptist Church of Columbiana, from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2012. Funeral service was at North Shelby Baptist Church at 2:30 p.m. with Reverends Allan Murphy and John Foster officiating at the service. Bolton Funeral Home directed and military tribute was conducted graveside at Pinelawn Gardens in Columbiana following the funeral.

Elbert, or “EL” as he was known, was born on Aug. 11, 1923, in Akron, Ohio, and came to Shelby County in the early 1930s with his parents, brother and sister. He went to school in Shelby County and graduated from Vincent High School in June 1942. He worked a short time for DuPont and then enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Jan. 19, 1943, and served in World War II. He rose to the rank of corporal and served as a motor pool dispatcher in the 9th Air Force Group. A little before he was discharged, he married his high school sweetheart, Hazel Louise Stinson, on Aug. 22, 1946, while home in Alabama. After discharge, he and Hazel moved to Birmingham. Elbert worked as a streetcar, trolley and bus driver for the Birmingham Transit Company for over 10 years. While still working for the BTC, he and Hazel moved back to Columbiana in the early 1950s. He continued to commute to Birmingham for a number of years until he finally received in 1957 his long desired job as the Rural Letter Carrier for Route 2 in Columbiana. Later on Oct. 27, 1973, he received his appointment as postmaster of the Columbiana Post Office and served in this role until his retirement in 1985.

While living in Columbiana, Elbert enjoyed many hobbies including cattle farming, raising honeybees and wild blackberries, interests in horticulture and greenhouses, cutting his fields with a bush hog and harvesting hay, maintaining a bass/brim/catfish pond, and planning and hosting annual Gibson family reunions. Retirement from the post office gave him more opportunities to serve and enjoy other interests. While enjoying woodworking, he finally tried playing golf. At age 69 he became “hooked” on it. Over the years he enjoyed playing, teaching and encouraging others and building clubs. All the while continuing to witness for Christ and make friends wherever he went.

Throughout his 89 years he remained a faithful servant to God. He relied totally on the Lord to watch over and take care of him and his family. One of his favorite Bible verses was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. Elbert was an active deacon and served at Prospect Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Columbiana and Lay Lake Baptist Church. His last church home was North Shelby Baptist Church. Summer mission trips found him using his hands alongside Christian brothers to help build churches. Witnessing for Christ, he even encouraged an Indian graduate student, N. M. Balasubrahmanyam, who was selling Bibles locally as a summer job, to read the book he was selling. He later led “Bala” to Christ and they became close Christian brothers.

He was a Shriner for many years and continued service as a Master Mason brother with South Shelby Lodge 140 through 2012. One of the most touching moments he enjoyed late in life was the honor bestowed on him on May 7, 2009, as a participant in one of the last Honor Flights to Washington, D.C.

Mr. Gibson was preceded in death by his wife, Hazel Louise Stinson Gibson, who was married to him for over 51 years; his parents, Ethridge “Josh” Lafayette Gibson and Katie Irene Seelye Gibson; and brother, William Lafayette Gibson. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ruth Robinson Marvel Gibson, who was married to him for over 14 years; sister, Betty May Gardner; son, Charles Warren Gibson (Elayne) from Columbiana; daughters, Lou Ann Fikes (John) from Huntsville and Jan Yvonne Gibson from Athens; and son-in-law, Phillip Waco Boswell of Huntsville; grandchildren, Carla Gibson of Baltimore, Phillip Warren Gibson (Christina) of Birmingham, Nathan Joshua Boswell of Athens, Tyler Calvin Fikes of Huntsville and William John Fikes of Huntsville; and other family and friends.

The pallbearers were his grandsons, Phillip Gibson, Nathan Boswell, Tyler Fikes and William Fikes, as well as nephews, Ed Gardner and Brian Hatcher, and brother-in-Christ, Michael McCauley.

Honorary pallbearers were Bill Justice, Joe Brasher, Bill Cofer, Jay Gardner, Ed Whitley, Jay Burns, Red Vansant, Len McCombs, Allen Morrison, Paul Morrison, Tommy Kimbrough, Richard Writz, Bill Adair, and Curtis Eatman.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in memory of him to the Alabama Baptist Children’s home.