Pastors' Memoirs

Clarence William Gibson, Jr., 1930-1988

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A native of Mineral, Virginia, C.W. "Bill" Gibson Jr. was a lover of God, his family, the fine arts and, especially, other people. He reached out beyond the necessary bounds of his profession to become a friend and counselor to many people -- from the young freshman student unsure about leaving home for the first time to the powerful, wealthy, and famous: lawmakers, writers, actors, and philanthropists. He dedicated his career to supporting young people in their quest for higher education.

Bill received a bachelor's degree from Randolph-Macon College in 1952 and a master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School in 1956. He was privileged to serve both of these schools professionally -- as chaplain, director of college relations and assistant to the president for college relations at Randolph-Macon during a 23-year career and as associate development officer at Yale University, a position he accepted less than a year before his death of pneumonia May 30, 1988.

Born in 1930 to Clarence W. and Ruby McGehee Gibson, he married Eugenia Edmondson of Atlanta. The couple had two children, Candler McGehee and Miles Robert, both outstanding students and graduates of Yale University. With Eugenia, Bill was known for participation in community activities, gracious entertaining, and a love of meeting and getting to know people.

It was said of Bill that if the word "network" had not already been in our vocabulary, he would have invented it. In his early career, Bill served Centenary Methodist Church and Pace Memorial Methodist Church as minister. In 1964 he returned to Randolph-Macon College in Ashland to serve as chaplain, a position he held until 1979, when he was named director of college relations. In that capacity, he helped the college acquire an extensive art collection and oversaw the scheduling of cultural programs, convocations, and commencement. In addition, he identified, met with and cultivated hundreds of people who were interested in helping Randolph-Macon College financially.

Perhaps Bill's most outstanding quality was his ability to say just the right thing, to be where someone was in need, or to push gently someone who was unsure. All of this he did with a quiet and gentle manner that focused attention away from himself and toward the other person. Bill was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu, and Omicron Delta Kappa. In 1975 he was elected to the board of directors of the Abingdon Square Painters of New York City; in 1978 he became a trustee of Randolph-Macon Woman's College, and in 1985 he was named to the board of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Memorial services were held at Yale's Battell Chapel on June I and at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ashland on June 3.
-Linda N. Evans


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