Obituary of Thomas Leslie Gibson
Lieutenant Commander Thomas L. Gibson, USN (Ret.), of North Myrtle Beach, SC, “slipped the surly bonds of earth” on 19 February 2019 from complications of a 44-year battle with Type 1 diabetes. He was 74.
The third of five sons, “Hoot” was born to John C. and Lorinda H. Gibson (deceased) on 10 December 1944. “Tom” graduated from Niskayuna High School in Schenectady, NY, in 1962. Winning his appointment to USNA, he earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering. One of his fondest memories at the Naval Academy was his “capping” of Herndon Monument during Plebe Week in 1963.
Tom served in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1976. After becoming a flight instructor in Pensacola, FL, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander and became a patrol squadron commander for P-3 Orion group VP-17 based at NAS Barbers Point, HI. Upon returning to the states after several deployments to Vietnam, he earned his MS degree in management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He would have continued as a career Navy pilot had diabetes not “grounded” him.
After active duty, Tom went on to pursue a new career in Civilian Service. He went to work in the Pentagon as a senior operations research analyst in the Naval Forces Division. In 1992, Tom was promoted to Director, Naval Forces Division, Senior Executive Service for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for program analysis and evaluation.
Tom retired from his duties at the Pentagon in April 2002, again not slowing down. He and his wife, Sylvia, moved to Bradenton, FL, where they began their new life “on the water” with Little Lil, their newly-acquired boat. He kept his mind sharp by substitute teaching in Bradenton for middle and high school age students. In addition, he substitute taught and tutored at Just For Girls Alternative School in Palmetto, FL. He also volunteered as a tour driver at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL.
A generous family man, Tom is survived by his wife of 51 years, Sylvia; daughters, Kelly and Kimberly; son, Brian; and three grandchildren, Lily, Celine and Madeline. He is also survived by three brothers, Robert, Paul and Philip.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 11:00 am with a visitation for family and friends beginning at 10:00 am, both at RIEMANN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 274 Beauvoir Rd., Biloxi. A military funeral service at Biloxi National Cemetery will immediately follow the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org).