Raymond L. Gibble, 91, of Sterling, died Saturday, April 15, at CGH Medical Center in Sterling.
He was born on August 29, 1925 in Beardstown, the son of Samuel Bowman and Blanche S. (Dietsch) Gibble.
Ray’s story weaves back and forth between the Illinois, Mississippi and Rock rivers. Beardstown lost a promising citizen when Ray graduated from its high school.
Named after Thomas Beard, who ferried customers across the Illinois River in this community northwest of Springfield, Beardstown afforded Ray the space to grow. As a high school student, Ray participated in football, basketball and track. Waiting and watching him in that hometown was a lively lady, Irene Blume, whom he later married on June 11, 1950 in Springfield.
World War II detoured Ray and his personal plans for three years as he served his county as a United States Marine.
Crossing another important river in the Midwest, Ray chose to attend Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., where he earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in 1950. Culver-Stockton benefited from Ray’s athletic prowess as he lettered in basketball, football and track. Ray was honored with the Keith Wahn Award for outstanding Scholastic and Athletic Ability.
Armed with his teaching credentials, Raymond Gibble began his high school teaching career in Downing, Mo., teaching science and physical education. At Downing, Ray was THE coach; he was the only coach on the faculty as he steered his teams to victories with the girls basketball and boys basketball teams along with the baseball team. Ray returned to Canton, Mo., to teach at Canton High School as he expanded his expertise to include not just science and physical education, but drivers’ education as well. There he served as assistant coach in all sports, and then as head boys basketball coach.
Returning across the Mississippi River to Illinois, Ray accepted positions at Northwestern High School in Good Hope, Rock Ridge High School in Reynolds and finally to Sterling High School and the Rock River area. Teaching assignments expanded to include coaching tennis, track, football, baseball, boys and girls softball, and boys and girls basketball. Ray also found time in the summers to earn his Master’s Degree in Education through the University of Illinois. Ray taught and coached in Sterling from 1957 – 1985. In all, he served students for a total of 35 years.
Ray’s positive attitude and knowledge led to him being selected to serve on a committee to help rewrite the Rules of the Road book for the State of Illinois which is the Bible drivers study in preparation for the written driver’s test.
Versatile might be the word that best describes Ray. In his years of teaching and retirement, Ray played no favorites. His teaching, coaching, volunteering and leadership place him above others in many ways.
Everyone looked up to Ray. At 6’2” tall, it is hard to ignore his physical stature. But it’s respect for Ray Gibble that brought him various professional positions as well as leadership positions in his community. Ray served on the National Board of the American Driver Education Association, served the state level of the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association as Treasurer and a term as President.
In his community, Ray has supported his First United Methodist Church acting as Board President, Treasurer and Trustee. Ray was a member of the Whiteside Retired Teachers Association and had been active with the Whiteside County Senior Center. At the Center, Ray had served on the Board, and had been Board Chairman. It had also been his chosen duty to participate in card games at the Center on a very regular, almost daily basis.
Sitting still was not one of Ray’s passions. He preferred to participate in golf, cards, reading, had traveled extensively to nearly all 50 states and was an “armchair coach” for the Cubs and the Bears.
Ray Gibble was a quiet role model. No one ever knew how many lives have been affected by this quiet, affable gentleman. But there is a high school teacher at Illinois’ Buffalo Grove High School who, would you believe, coached girls track and boys football. This fellow just happens to be Steve Gibble, Irene and Ray’s son. History seems to repeat itself.
Survivors include his wife, Irene of Sterling; his son, Steven Gibble of Buffalo Grove, IL; his brother Clyde Gibble of Playa del Rey, CA; his brother-in-law Edward (Melanie) Blume of Rushville.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, Mark Gibble in 1997 and Robert John Gibble in infancy.
Graveside services with military rites will be held on Friday, April 21, at 11 a.m. at Beardstown City Cemetery, with the Reverend Jarrett Wells, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Beardstown officiating. There will be no visitation. Arrangements are by McDonald Funeral Home, Sterling.