- 83 years old
- Date of birth: Apr 4, 1931
- Place of birth:
El Paso, Texas, United States
- Date of passing: Jan 24, 2015
- Place of passing:
Denver, Colorado, United States
|And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln|
Summer memorial service for our beloved father, husband, grandfather, great- grandfather, and friend will be in Angel Fire, New Mexico on June 18, 2015. Services will be at United Church of Angel Fire 40 W Ridge Rd, Angel Fire, NM 87710 at 1 pm with a reception following the celebration of his life.
This memorial website was created by the family in memory of our loved one, William Gibson, 83, born on April 4, 1931 and passed away on January 24, 2015.
Your life has ended, but your legacy of wisdom, integrity and courage will go on forever.
National Air and Space Museum
Memorial Service Saturday January 31, 2015
3:30 in the Afternoon
Horan & McConaty Family Chapel
5303 E. County Line Rd.
Centennial, CO 80122
Col William “Hoot” Gibson (USAF Ret) passed away Saturday, Jan 24th, 2015 in Denver, Colorado after a long and courageous fight against cancer. A native of El Paso Texas, he was born to Earl and Fannie Mae Gibson on April 4th, 1931. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1953. He entered the Air Force through the Aviation Cadet program and received his pilot’s wings in 1955. As a command fighter pilot, he flew the F-84 E/F/G, F-86, F-100 D/F, RF-101C, RF-4/C and F-4 D/E aircraft throughout his Air Force career. With over 4,400 total and 600 combat flight hours, he remained certified as mission-ready until his 50th birthday. Col Gibson also holds the flight record for the longest combat sortie over hostile North Vietnam, piloting his RF-4 Phantom aircraft on a mission that lasted 7 ½ hours. He served multiple tours in Vietnam including participation in Operations Pipe Stem and Able Mable flying the RF-101 from 1962 to 1963 and again from 1967 to 1969 flying the RF-4C. Hoot was also was the Lead formation pilot on the Aerial Demonstrations performed for the countries of Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, India and Spain in 1969. Col Gibson served in the communities of Tactical Fighter Operations as well as all aspects of Tactical Reconnaissance. He served command tours as the Vice Commander of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey (1975), Commander 40th Tactical Group Aviano Air Base, Italy (1976-1978) and as the Wing Commander of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Zwiebruken Air Base Germany (1978-1980). His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 14 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air War College Distinguished Graduate, and a host of other awards and decorations. He retired in 1985 after honorably serving his country in a distinguished 31-year career in the United States Air Force. After retiring from the USAF, Hoot continued to support and provide technical assistance to the Department of Defense as Program Manager joint weapons systems tests. Additionally, Hoot was actively involved in the community of Angel Fire, NM and a major driver behind the successes the village has enjoyed over the years. He served on the Village Council as Mayor Pro-tem and later on as the Commissioner on the Village Planning and Zoning Committee. He was also very involved for many years with the New Mexico Vietnam War Memorial State Park and National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center, and the Wounded Warrior Project. He was one of the founders of the Center’s retreat program conducted every year in Angel Fire, NM for veterans and returning war-fighters who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hoot remained very active in the outdoors of Angel Fire, NM where he lived until just recently, regularly enjoying snow skiing, golf and fishing with his many close family and friends. He was also a member of the SAIC Ski Team and regularly competed in the annual Corporate Cup downhill races. He was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Fanny Mae Gibson; brother Edward Gibson, his daughter Julie and son Clay. He is survived by his lovely wife June of over 40 years; sister Eleanor Rix and husband Don of El Paso, Texas; 4 children; son, Mark Gibson of Rio Rico, Arizona; son, Brock Gibson and wife Diana of White Salmon, Washington; daughter, Cheryl Cunningham and husband Joe of Friona, Texas; and son, Thad Gibson and wife Martha of Parker, Colorado; as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren. A true American hero and family man, who is loved by so many, admired and respected by all. Leaving this world a much better place because of his many contributions, he will be deeply missed by those who enjoyed the privilege of knowing him, but at the same time, comforted with knowledge that his incredible legacy will live on in the lives of those he touched in so many ways.
"Dad I'm thinking of you during this holiday season. I miss you each and every moment of every single day. I still speak to you and have our "talks" during quiet moments and special dreams. The grand babies are growing up so fast and while I"m sad that they won't know you personally, your memories will live on through stories and pictures. They'll grow up with Tom Dooly, Jimmy Crack Corn, and Bill Grogan and his goats for sure. I know we'll be together again one day in God's grand kingdom. Save me a special spot. Merry Christmas."
"Dear Family and friends,
Remembering Dad today; on this the day of John Glens' death.
Do you realize that if it were not for a handful of candidates, Dad would have been memorialized at his passing similarly. Along with being the superior pilot he was, Hoot had dreams of going to the moon and applied to the APOLLO astronaut program.
Love you Dad!"
"Dear Family of William "Hoot" Gibson,
The Christian Military Fellowship salutes the life and service of William Gibson to our great nation!
"Remembering you today. I see so much of you in my wonderful husband Brock. You would be so proud of him. June is doing very well, hanging in there, missing you of course. You chose wisely!
I wish I could see your smiling blue eyes once again. We all miss you so much. Thankfully you left so many heartfelt memories in our hearts that we will always have a special feeling of your presence in our lives. Thank you and happy birthday. XXOO"
It has been one year today since the passing of my father. Still missing him more than ever, still revelling in the memories of a lifetime and still as ever thankful for the legend that lives on. Dad would be pleased to know that because of how he lived his life, we are all doing fine. June continues to enjoy the home in Angel Fire that they built together. All of his children, grandkids and friends are thinking of him each and every day.
Dad, we all miss you so much, but at the same time, it seems as though you are still here -- living through each and everyone one of us who you touched in such special ways.
Brock, Diana, Shari and Kati
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"Dearest family of Hoot,
I just now found out about Hoots passing from a FB post by Chuck, I served on boards with both of them and remember a NG Major combat veteran telling me and pointing.. that, that man is "Hoot Gibson" What I remember about him was a humble man that did not want to be recognized as he called it "a or the" "BLACK ACE" Which always floored me when he told that story.
My Daughter played with the NM 44th NG Band. They performed one memorial day a few years back in Angel Fire and I introduced her to Hoot, He really played down his Time served as a pilot, I was able to get him to tell the Black Ace Story and soon we were surrounded by people listening, when he was done, Veterans were lined up to shake this Hero's hand. I am so glad that God allowed me to call him my friend, It is with a saddened heart that I feel when I read of his passing...God Speed Colonel Gibson! SIR!!!"
"It was very sad to learn of Bill's death. We grew up together as teenagers, Boy Scouts, high school and so much more. He visited me at Fitzsimons Army Hospital where I had been sent from Korea. We really lost track of each other until recently when we had a couple of telephone conversations when he lived in Albuquerque."
"Thanks to everyone who attended our dad's memorial last Saturday in Denver. We felt so much love and support from both family and special friends. If you sent flowers, they were beautiful and we know you were there in your heart. A special thanks to the staff of Horan and McConaty who helped us through a difficult process with the utmost professionalism.
We encourage everyone that knew my dad to leave a special story under the "stories" tab on this site. We are going to compile all of these memories for this summer's event in Angel Fire. What an incredible man, we know that many of you have one or more wonderful stories to tell."
"A huge thanks to all those who joined us for my father's memorial service last Saturday in the Denver area. It was an incredible tribute to his full and complete life. A special thanks to Chaplain Toney, the Patriot Guard and the AF Honor Guard. Retiring my father's colors with full military honors, complete with a 21 gun salute and the bugle playing Taps was a powerful tribute to a great patriot who accomplshed so much -- combat flight record holder, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism in battle, 15 Air Medals and so much more. Looking forward to a great turn out this summer when we take him home to his resting place in Angel Fire, NM. While the RECCE moto of "Alone, Unarmed and Unafraid" is very true, your support is a testament that he was anything but alone and he was always armed with the love of his family and many friends."
"The feather according to the Native Americans signifies honor and bravery in battle. Hoot was dedicated to helping the veterans that attended the Veterans Wellness Retreats in Angel Fire for he understood the scars of the battlefield. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to know him for he was a kind and caring person who always greeted you with a smile and a joke. Hoot has earned his feather."
"Dear June and family: I want to express the Westphall family's condolences to you. Hoot was a remarkable man and a true patriot. I particularly want to express our thanks for the many ways in which he supported my parents, Dr. and Mrs. Victor Westphall, in their work for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire. Men like Hoot helped to make their struggles bearable. The Colonel had a calm but determined way of approaching projects that I know my parents valued and that I will always respect and value. Veterans have lost a strong voice. Hopefully, we will be inspired to carry on his work. Regards,
"Hoot was so special to me. I honestly don't know how to put it into words. It has been an honor for me to work closely with him at the David Westphall Veterans Foundation over the last 4 and 1/2 years. He always had a smile, a joke, and a hug for me. Every time I would ask him how he was, he would say "If I was any better I couldn't stand it". I loved him dearly and will miss him so very much. Prayers for peace and comfort to June and his whole family. You were all greatly blessed and highly favored!"
"David and I were so graced to share our beloved Bella Vista home-away-from-home with you and Hoot. We loved the times we met up with Hoot, the conversations we had, and the times we shared. Having lost my beloved David, I know how your heart must ache June -- he loved you dearly. I am certain David and Hoot are waiting for us and overseeing our protection until we can meet up again."
"June and family,
I want to give you my condolences. Hoot is one of the greatest people that I have ever met. I thank God that I crossed paths with him. He helped me change the direction my life was going. He had so much grit that the only thing you could do is respect him and want to be like him. He had so much love for you, June, that it breaks my heart, but I know he still watches over you from heaven.
I wont be able to make it to the services, but I will be there in spirit. If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate ask. My prayers and best wishes are with you and your family. May God bless and take care.
Your friend with love,
"Hoot was an amazing man to say the least! He was always in the best of spirits when he came to visit us at the office. Every time I would ask him how his day was, he would reply "I am upright and life can't get much better than that!" Always a positive attitude. He had so many qualities that were admired by so many. One of my favorites was the love he had for June. He will be greatly missed!
Cindy Moore - Resort Properties of Angel Fire"
"Dear June, Cheryl, Brock, Thad and families; Please know that I am with you in prayer. Losing both parents makes you feel like such an orphan. Your father was a wonderful man, who showed others how to live by his example, word and integrity. Judith always said how well he treated her and how much she loved him for that. I pray that our Heavenly Father will lift you up now and in the days ahead. Love, Jennifer"
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