ALBANY – Edward J. Gibson, 89, of Slingerlands died peacefully on May 1, 2011 at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center in Guilderland, where he had been cared for lovingly by members of his family, Our Lady staff and hospice for the last seven months. Born in Buffalo on February 24, 1922, he was the youngest son of Helen Jones Gibson and William Walker Gibson. Along with his brothers Walker and Charles, he lived as a boy in Albany and Glenmont, New York, graduating in 1939 from the Albany Academy and from Yale University in 1943.
In 1943, he joined the 15th Army Air Corps, becoming a First Lieutenant and a bombardier on B-24 missions in Austria and the Brenner Pass. On his return to civilian life, he married Martha Taylor on August 31, 1946. He and Martha celebrated their 64th anniversary in August of last year.
He attended Harvard Law School and graduated from Columbia Teachers College in 1947 and joined the English Department at Old Forge High School in Old Forge, NY, where he taught for a year.
His long career in investments began at Betts & Morris in Troy, New York in 1949. He then joined the newly established firm of First Albany Corporation in 1953, becoming Vice President for Research until his retirement in 1987.
He led a life of service: service to his country during World War II; service to his immediate and extended family; and service to his community. Because of his commitment to public education, he served on the Board of Education of East Greenbush Central Schools for ten years, advocating tirelessly for teachers and quality education. He read the Declaration of Independence aloud each July 4th, and was active for years in Democratic politics, volunteering for many local, state and national campaigns. His love for the environment, fostered by childhood trips to the Adirondacks, led him to volunteer for many years for the Eastern New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, including serving on its Board of Directors. He served on the Board of the Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, and received the Escort of the Year award in 1994. Because of his commitment to a peaceful world and issues of social justice, he was involved for years with American Friends Service Committee.
He was a bread baker and wood craftsman. He and Martha loved traveling together and made many trips in Europe and the U.S. They took up walking and bicycling in retirement, and together wrote and illustrated a book on country walks in Columbia County, NY.
He was an organic gardener long before it was fashionable, keeping a garden at his home in East Greenbush where he and Martha lived for nearly 50 years, and gardening into his 80s at the community gardens at The Beverwyck Retirement Community in Slingerlands where they moved in 2003.
One of his deepest loves was music. He began studying piano as a young boy, and continued throughout high school and at Yale. He accompanied his daughter Sarah and her friends playing chamber music, gave concerts at The Beverwyck with friend Marguerite Schaefer, and played virtually every day until his blindness prevented him from playing any more.
He is survived by his much loved family: his wife Martha; his daughter Ann Gibson of Conway, MA and her partner Annie Cheatham; his daughter Sarah Gibson of Cambridge, MA and her husband Steve Halpern; his sister-in-law Nancy Gibson; numerous nieces and nephews and many friends.
A public gathering to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, May 7 at 2:00 in the Community Room, The Terrace at Beverwyck, 41 Beverwyck Lane, Slingerlands. A private ceremony will be held later in the year on his beloved Lake Champlain. Contributions in his memory can be made to American Friends Service Committee, 15 Rutherford Place, NYC NY 10003; Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, 855 Central Ave., Albany NY 12206; or The Nature Conservancy, ENY Chapter, 195 New Karner Rd., Suite 200, Albany NY 12205. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hans Funeral Home, Albany. To leave a message of condolence for the family or send a sympathy card please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com.