‹ Return to Current Obituaries

Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Ralph's visitation.

Ralph Gibson

A celebration of life for Ralph K. Gibson, 88, of Wayland will be held Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:30AM at the Beatty Funeral Home in Washington. Burial will follow at the Center Cemetery in rural Wayland with full military honors. Visitation will be held Wednesday, September 21 from noon until 8PM at the Beatty Funeral Home in Washington where the family will greet friends from 6-8PM. Ralph Gibson died Sunday, September 18, 2011 at his home in Wayland surrounded by family. A memorial fund has been established for the Gideons, WACO Scools, McCurdy School in Espanola, New Mexico, or Hospice of Central Iowa.

Ralph Kenneth Gibson was born April 19, 1923 on a farm near Mediapolis, Iowa the son of Orville and Ethyle (Ping) Gibson. He married the love of his life, Inger Barrick on November 23, 1944 in Wapello, Iowa. Upon graduating from Huron High School he went to Burlington Junior College. With the start of WWII he joined the Army Air Force and attained the rank of Staff Sargent. He was a decorated Tail Gunner receiving both the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Army Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters. He flew 30 missions with the last two being on D-Day over Berlin, Germany.

Ralph “Squirt” had many talents. He was a welder at Case in Burlington. He studied refrigeration in Chicago and took a job at Benner's in Burlington. While living in Mediapolis and commuting to his two full time jobs in Burlington, he decided to build a house with no plans, no money and no experience. Talk about courage! The house still stands today.

Ralph also had a distinguished career in teaching and administration. He moved his family to Cedar Falls, Iowa to continue his education, receiving a BA at Iowa State Teachers College while still working full time at Phillips 66 Station. Following graduation he took his first teaching job as an industrial education teacher at Brandon, Iowa and coached both boys and girls sports. After two years he returned to Cedar Falls to work on his master's degree in administration. His next position in education was to become a principal in the Marcus, Iowa school system. He remained there until 1969 when he took over as superintendent of the WACO school system and remained there until he retired in 1988.

Following retirement he and Inger enjoyed local and international mission work around the world. They especially enjoyed working at the Crowded Closet in Iowa City and McCurdy Christian School in New Mexico where he tutored students in math.

Ralph's favorite hobbies included going to his many children's, grandchildren's and great grand children's activities. He liked to golf and even managed a Hole-in-One. He was the number one fan of all WACO sports, plays and musicals, as well as a devoted Iowa Hawkeye fan. He was a member of the Wayland Methodist Church, Gideon Society, American Legion, and the Lions Club where he served at a past president. He also served as a lay speaker.

He is survived by his children, Kenneth Gibson and wife Ginni of Iowa City, Iowa, Karen Weerman and husband Dirk of Washington, Iowa, Kathy Sawyer and husband David of Fairfax, Iowa, Kevin Gibson and wife Betsy of Ames, Iowa and Karla Lessman and husband Jeff of Omaha, Nebraska, 12 grandchildren, 14 great grand children, his brothers Keith “Skeet” Gibson of Aurora, Illinois and Don “Boots” Gibson and wife Cheryl of Burlington, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his wife Inger.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Gibson, please visit our flower store.


Kevin, I was sorry to hear of your father's death last month. I didn't know him personally, but he sounds like a great guy. I'm sure you'll miss him, and I'm praying for God's comfort and blessings on you and your family. Marti (Roth) Walker

Marti (Roth) Walker Oct 25 2011 12:00 AM

My deepest sympathies to Ralph Gibson's family. Your dad was one of the most amazing people I've known, and I loved him very much. I am so blessed to have known him, and many here were blessed to learn math under his loving care. The room he loved at our dorm was dubbed by me as the "Ralph Gibson Suite" and I tell everyone I assign to that room about Ralph. Thank you for sharing him with us. Mr. Gibson told me many lovely stories about his family, and he loved you all very, very much. Many times he told me Inger was 'the best wife I ever had'! What a blessing to have known him.

Vickie Luviano Sep 22 2011 12:00 AM

It was so good to see and visit with each of you last evening. Ralph was truly a positive influence on so many lives. I will always remember the first week you moved to Wayland, a day on the farm at Garrett's and as they say the rest is history. Good times and many memories that you will all treasure in your hearts forever. May God be with each of you and give you peace, he is dancing in heaven with the love of his life, Inger. Dixie

Dixie (Schlatter) Young Sep 22 2011 12:00 AM

Marianne and I had the privilege of knowing Ralph through the Wayland Lions Club. Ralph was always the first one to the Lions Club meetings in which he was a member for over 40 years. When Senator Chuck Grassley was a guest speaker at the Wayland Lions Club, he quickly acknowledged his old friend Ralph Gibson. We commemorated Ralph's visit with Senator Chuck Grassley with a professional Collage that is displayed in the Wayland Community Center so Ralph's legacy will continue with the Wayland Lions Club and community.

Brian & Marianne Pattyson Sep 21 2011 12:00 AM

Uncle Ralph was someone I have great respect for. He was a gentle man with a sweet soul. He was a 19 year old hero in WWII, a hard worker, a good role model, a great husband & father, a good provider working 3 jobs to feed his family while going to college. He always had a quick wit, and I never saw a frown. I loved him....and was so proud of him...especially when I learned so much about him of late. He was fine fine man...and I'm proud to have some of his Gibson DNA in my body...as does my son James III. Uncle Ralph....welcome home....to glory.

jim gibson Sep 20 2011 12:00 AM

The Gibson Family are in our prayers and thoughts. John, Rachael. Craig, Sharon, Carson, John, Graig, Lisa & Christopher

The John L. Stauffer Family Sep 19 2011 12:00 AM