James Ring Gibson, passed away on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at The Foss Home in Seattle, Washington. He was born in Seattle on April 6, 1941 and was 76 years of age. He grew up in Magnolia, where he attended elementary and junior high school and then Queen Anne High School (class of 1959).
His parents, Frank and Elsie Gibson, both founding members of the Mountaineers (which later became REI), were without any doubt responsible for instilling in him his love for the mountains and his lifelong passion for skiing.
In 1962 he decided to enlist in the army (since he would have been drafted anyway), when his ski coach had told him that the army had a Ski Patrol in the Bavarian Alps, and if he volunteered he could choose which country he wanted to be sent to and hopefully join this Ski Patrol.
But before this came to pass he was stationed in Würzburg, Germany, and because of his military training in the Signal Battalion as a radio operator, mainly Morse Code in those days, he was "banished" (at least in the eyes of his sergeant) to a small hut on a lonely mountain top with a monastery. But the sergeant didn't realize that the monastery also ran a hotel and a beer brewery, and what was best of all: there was a small ski lift right outside his little hut.
This is where he met Elke, his future wife, who had come there with a group of
university students for a nurse helpers course during their vacation.
Well, as they say: the rest is history.
He eventually made it to that Ski Patrol in Garmisch in 1964 and was released from the army and came back to Seattle in the summer of 1965.
Elke joined him there a few months later and they were married 3 days later (on New Year's Eve) at Sacred Heart.
Their daughter Sonja was born in 1968. Together they often traveled to Europe to see family and friends and visit many countries, but especially those with mountains.
In 1989, out of the blue, while studying in Urbino, Italy,their daughter Sonja was killed in a car accident, and life never was the same.
At that time Jim was finishing the house he was building on Bainbridge Island, where he and Elke lived until 2002. They moved to a condo in North Seattle, and again, to be closer to the mountains, they also bought a cabin near Stevens Pass.
He always enjoyed good company and good food and drink with our wonderful friends and loved being an "adopted grandpa" for many of their grandchildren like Brandon and Nina, Dylan and Magnus, Natalie, Eivin and Nolan, and Nava.
He is survived by his wife Elke and his sister Heidi Gibson Renz.
Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Graveside Service on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at Kane Cemetery on Bainbridge Island, WA. A reception will follow to celebrate his life at the Port Madison Lutheran Church on 14000 Madison Ave NE, Bainbridge Island.
Please sign the online Guest Book for the family.
Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home on Bainbridge Island, Washington.