January 21st, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 3
Remembering John Gibos
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald Contributor photo
John Gibos with Ernie and NIT train.
John Gibos passed away New Year's Day, 2015. One of the most respected individuals in the Pass, John Gibos has left us at age 87. Starting out as part of the town crew in the fifties, he moved up to being foreman, and finally, to becoming superintendent. As such, he was on call 24/7 -- the person to whom the community would turn during every type of emergency. Until recently, the City would occasionally still consult him by phone.
Born locally, John was one of the last remaining community elders. Deeply knowledgeable about every inch of municipal infrastructure, he constantly upgraded his skills in a multiplicity of trades; he also helped shape ski hill development. Like the caring father he was, so John cared for the community he cherished.
First Sight
Personally, John liked to recount how he had met his late wife Edna. As a modestly shy young man, he had immediately informed her that they would marry; and very soon they did just that. Through the years, no husband in the Pass came home to a better supper, for Edna was a professional restaurant cook. The Gibos front door was always open; the coffee pot was always hot. And as steadfast as his contribution to the quality of Pass life has been, so John's greatest achievement was his close-knit family.
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This father of five, grandfather of twelve, and great grandfather of thirteen, was also a gifted, self-taught painter, depicted wildlife with the surehandedness of one who knows his subjects intimately. An active outdoorsman, Turtle Mountain was almost like a personal paradise for John and his close pals; and he wisely maintained that, the way to have a meaningful encounter with animals is to “simply stay in one spot until they eventually come to you”. And his artistry was everywhere: in the cute animal he had painted on his shed, and on various kitchen accessories; in the expertly constructed greenhouse next to his house on the corner of the Nippon Institute park; in the tiny house he had built for the lucky squirrel in his patio tree.

John offered his genuine smile to all park visitors, scores of whom he invited home for refreshments over the years. He also mentored a new generation of train operators for the miniature diesel and steam locomotives that entertain children in summer. Thankfully, he lived to see this dream realized, for the steam locomotive had collected dust for fifteen years. John had been the “engine” that fuelled railway festivities in the park -- still presiding over the running of the trains last summer as “engineer emeritus,” with dog Ernie posing as the “driver”, to the delighted squeals of the children. (Unbelievably, John had also managed to find the energy to serve as a volunteer fireman.)
Eternally fascinated by how things work, John kept up with technology.
One indelible image of John will be that of him sitting in his armchair, playing with his new iphone, with a look of quiet satisfaction on his face at being able to check out global gas prices.
As a role model for how to be a thoroughly decent human being, and as a devoted churchgoer, John Gibos' gentle presence will be sorely missed at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. And from the community that has been honoured to have had him in its midst, it is “Good night, John Gibos, with loving thanks.”

January 21st ~ Vol. 85 No. 3
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