Longtime Pagosa Springs resident Colonel Harold “Gib” Gibson gracefully made his transition on April 19, at age 98, surrounded by loving family in a nurturing environment.
Gib was active until the last weeks of his life, living in what he called, “one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Pagosa Springs. Up until a few months ago, he was still mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, fixing his own vehicles, chopping firewood and visiting with friends at the Pagosa Pilot’s gathering every Friday evening and Saturday mornings.
Gib was born on Aug. 16, 1918, — the era of the Wright Brothers — and wanted to fly from a young age. He was a mechanical wunderkind fixing almost any kind of motorized vehicle whether land, sea or air. He started flying in his teens and, when just 23 years old, received his pilot’s license while still in college. Gib served in the Army Air Corps which later became the United States Air Force. During WWII, he instructed pilots, he flew in the Korean conflict, led jet squadrons in the Cold War, and served at the Pentagon. Two future astronauts, John Glenn and Gus Grissom, were under his command during the Korean War. He was a colonel during the Vietnam War and served as chief of safety at the Colorado Springs headquarters of the Air Defense Command.
After retiring, he settled in Colorado Springs, where he was a civilian flight instructor and continued flying his own plane for more than 75 years — logging nearly 10,000 flight hours without a single incident.
While in Colorado Springs, he married the love of his life, Lynn, with whom he traveled the world and thoroughly enjoyed a full life together for over 30 years.
Up to his very last breath, Gib lived his life in the spirit of true friendship with the same grace and dignity that he demonstrated for nearly a century.
Colonel Gibson is survived by his wife, Lynn F. Gibson, of Pagosa Springs; two daughters; six stepchildren; 11 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many lifelong friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Pagosa Pine Ridge Rehab Facility, the Boy Scouts of America or the National Wildlife Federation.