Date of death: 11/01/2019
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1957
William “Bill” Moses Gibson was born at home in Montgomery, Indiana on February 3, 1931. His parents, Chester and Mary, provided a loving, warm home for all five of their children. At age 12, he left to prepare to become a Catholic priest. He studied at Saint Henry’s and Saint Meinrad’s. He was ordained June 1, 1957.
After serving in various parishes in the Midwest, he joined the US Navy and first trained at Newport, Rhode Island. He served 20 years, retiring as a Commander. He had two back-to-back tours in Vietnam. While, there, he started an orphanage in Danang. This orphanage was for the Amer-Asian children who were left behind and who no one wanted. His helicopter was hit and all survived, but he said that his most exciting Navy time was getting catapulted off the carrier FDR in an F18.
He was awarded Navy Commendation Medal with V, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60,” and Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Stars.
He had visited our coast and said that, “When this Navy thing is over, this is where I’ll live.” On retirement, he pastored Saint Anthony’s in Mendocino. In 1987, he left the priesthood, but not the church. He married Sue Rezek in 1992 and they had 30 years together.
He and Sue traveled the world and loved every trip. They visited Vietnam to see the orphanage and found it was no longer helping children, which was a huge disappointment.
He was deeply involved with the homeless and served on the board of Hospitality House in Fort Bragg as its chairman for many years. With all the excellent help, he saw HH come from a place with beds for 24 people, one toilet and two-burner stove, to the proud place it is today. There is also an additional shelter behind the Hospitality House and named The Gibson House in honor of Bill. He married couples and gave the fee to HH for food and he visited often. A woman came up to Sue and asked her to give a message to Bill. She said, “I was at Hospitality House 2½ years ago and he came and spoke to us many times. It is because of him that I am well now and have a job with the county. He helped me so much.”
He is survived by Sue; her son, Joseph Rezek, and wife, Eleanor and her granddaughter, Taylor. He is also survived by his brothers, Joseph and wife, Mary Lou of Franklin, Indiana and Jim and wife, Gerty of Lawrenceville, Illinois. Also, many nieces and nephews who he loved as if they were his very own.
His family wants to especially thank Kathy, Vicki and Vasile at Oceanside for their loving and excellent care of Bill in the last months of his life.
Memorials can be given to Hospitality House.