Robert W. Gibson, known affectionately as “Hoot” to many, passed away on Monday, November 16, 2020 after a battle with liver and colon cancer, at the age of 71.
He was a hard worker and a fierce protector, led by the tenets of love, loyalty, honor, and faith. Born on Upland Street in Southwest Philadelphia, Bob attended Good Shepherd Grade School and West Catholic High School, before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. He was a proud veteran of the Vietnam War. When he returned from service, he quickly set about wooing his high school sweetheart, Kathy, into marriage. The two settled into domestic life – first at Parkview Court Apartments and then, a few years later, at their modest twin home on Rader Avenue in the quaint Delco suburb of Yeadon. It was here that they began the exciting adventure of raising The Gibson Girls.
Bob took pleasure in the simple things in life – singing to the Oldies, watching the Phils play ball, chomping down on a bag of soft pretzels, mowing his lawn, honing his tan, sporting a tank top, catching up on Days of Our Lives, taking walks around town, vacationing at the Roman Holiday in North Wildwood, and of course, attending any kind of party given by any one of the Gormans. His favorite spot was the left side of the couch – Dad’s Seat – shades drawn, blanket tucked, with an old-time movie playing on the screen.
He believed in the Luck of the Irish, and never missed a St. Patrick’s Day Parade – whether in person or on the tube. He could make you laugh. He could make you cry. If you tried to hurt one of his girls, you were advised to run and hide. Bob never drove. “Too many maniacs on the road,” he would say. Instead, he took advantage of Yeadon’s excellent mass transit access to get to and from wherever he needed to be – developing a life-long love/hate relationship with the Route 13 Trolley.
Bob worked at the Gimbel’s Warehouse and U.S. Gypsum before returning to military life as a civilian at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. He retired for the first time in 2001. After a year of ‘resting up’ at home, he joined Allied Barton Security and was stationed at the Stock Exchange Building at 19th and Market. He loved getting his daily Black Eye from Starbucks and watching the pretty Office Ladies hurry in and out. This was how he met his girlfriend of 11 years, Elaine. For Bob, actions spoke louder than words. Some might call him the strong, silent type. He could convey more with his body language than any other form of communication – a firm hand, a quiet smile, an intimidating snarl, a nod of the head. You knew how he felt and you knew where you stood in his eyes. He cultivated respect, and gave it easily in return to those who earned it.
He was predeceased by: his wife, Kathleen A. Gibson (nee Trusal); his parents Marion (nee Coen) and Wheeler T.; his baby daughter, Julie Ann; his brothers, Lawrence and Gregory; his sister, Marylou; and his beloved dog, Dodger Ann, and several cool cats. He is survived by his three daughters: Patti Ann Gibson May (Jeff May), Lori Ann Heeney (Christopher), and Kathleen Ann Gallagher (James); grandson, Shawn James Gallagher; sister, Nancy Schwenger; brother-in-law, Charles Schwenger; sister-in-law, Linda Gibson; companion, Elaine Eckhardt; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and lifelong friends.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Hoot’s life at his Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM on Friday, November 20, 2020 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 110 N. Manoa Road, Havertown, PA 19083, where friends may call from 9:30-10:15 AM. Interment will take place following mass at Saints Peter & Paul Cemetery, Springfield, PA 19064.
Due to Covid-19, masks and social distancing protocols will be observed.
Amazingly fragrant and beautiful flowers are most welcomed – as a reminder of life’s simple pleasures and charm.
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