Jacque (Jack) E. Gibbons, 76, of St. George, Kansas died of natural causes on March 21, 2022 at Ascension Via Christi in Manhattan, KS. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas on July 12, 1945 to Marjorie Van Hook Gibbons and John W. Gibbons.
Jacque was known as a loving, kind and gentle man who was driven by his principles. He strove to improve the lives of others, including those of his family, friends, colleagues, students and even those unknown to him who suffered injustice in any form.
He started his college career focusing his brilliant mind on science and math, and then the civil rights movement changed his life forever. He brought his mind, heart, and passion to eliminating injustice and violence and making life better for others.
He had the distinction of receiving three degrees in social work; a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, a Master’s of Social Work and a PhD in Social Work from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis. He was very proud to be a Wash U. graduate.
He ultimately became a Kansas Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received the honor of “Social Worker of the Year” for the Kansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Gibbons’ award was based on his 40-year career that embodied the values of the social work profession.
His devotion to his profession and those it serves led to his desire to provide future social workers the best education and training possible to “continue the work.” Dr. Gibbons taught in social work programs at the University of Kansas and at Kansas State University, where he retired after thirty-five years of teaching undergraduate students.
He was honored at his retirement on May 21, 2016 with a Tribute from the State of Kansas Senate acknowledging his contributions to the state of Kansas since 1969 including his “help to educate and launch several generations of social workers, approximately 1,200 graduates, helping them to develop a passion for and skills in working with communities. . .and making substantial contributions to communities and the State of Kansas.”
Dr. Gibbons’ dedication to his students and helping them to become great social workers was evident through his classroom and mentoring activities. He inspired students and instilled in them the need to be committed to both their personal values and principles as well as those of the profession. Simply stated, Dr. Gibbons led by example. He was known to students as a caring and knowledgeable man who had their best interests in mind at all times. Post their graduation, Dr. Gibbons often helped students to achieve their professional growth through continued mentoring. His students have stated that he is the reason they became social workers, a testament to a man who lived a life devoted to helping others. Upon his retirement he continued to demonstrate his commitment to students and the future of his profession by starting a scholarship to support students during their field practicum in their last semester of college.
Dr. Gibbons served the larger university community in many ways: Coordinator of the social work program for many years, a member of faculty senate, a member of the Campaign for Non-Violence, a member of Safe Zone, and the campus representative for Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. He helped start the social work program at Fort Hays University and the Non-Violence Studies Program at Kansas State University.
Jacque was a tireless volunteer for various community, state and local organizations. In that capacity he served the Red Cross for over 40 years including as a Disaster Mental Health Specialist and provided services to people suffering disasters, including those from fire, Hurricane Katrina, tornadoes, ice storms and floods. He also served on the Riley County Hospice and Homecare Ethics committee, the Manhattan Emergency Shelter Board, the Area Agency on Aging advisory committee, and consulted with various other community social service agencies.
Jacque was an active member and facilitator of the Community Conversation on Race and Reconciliation, a mission that was close to his heart. His concern for the environment was expressed in his co-founding of the Flint Hills Renewable Energy and Efficiency Cooperative, an organization providing renewable energy education and affordable access to solar panels.
Jacque was a man of many talents. To name a few, he was a woodworker, an auto mechanic, a gardener, a good joke teller, a great dancer, and a very good cook famous for his pulled pork and margaritas.
He was a good listener who could give his full attention in a helpful, empathic way. He was a curious, well read, life-long learner who could discuss anything without being “a know it all.” He quietly contributed much and wanted little to no credit or recognition.
He cherished his family, and helped create memorable family gatherings “at the farm.” He was very proud of his daughter, and loved to tinker in his shop with his grandson, to watch foreign-made murder mysteries with his wife, and to do New York Times crossword puzzles with his brother.
Jacque was known as an intelligent, honest, generous, caring person of integrity by all who knew him. He believed in God and was known for his elegant Thanksgiving prayer. He had a quick smile, hardy laugh and the best Irish accent west of Dublin. He loved to sit around the campfire with his family and friends and appreciated the beauty of nature around him. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Jacque is survived by his wife and best friend, Cheryl (Cherri) Harper of the home; daughter, Danica Loftin, son-in-law, Keith Loftin, grandson Walker R. Loftin of Ozawkie, KS and brother, John W. Gibbons, Jr of Westminster, Colorado. Also surviving are nephews Kirk Luchman and wife, Virginia of London, England, John (Jack) P. Gibbons, and wife, Raina and niece, Moira (Molly) Meader and husband Joel of Westminster, Colorado. His survivors also include three great-nieces and one great nephew.
As he requested, he was cremated and his ashes will be spread in some of his favorite places. A celebration of life may be held at a later date. If you would like to receive information about the service, please email family members at email@example.com.
If you wish to honor him and continue his legacy, please resist sending flowers and contribute to helping others by donating to the KSU Jacque Gibbons Social Work Field Placement scholarship or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that does much to address the injustice and violence in the world. Contributions may be sent to Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home,1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan Kansas 66502. ymlfuneralhome.com