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This obituary was provided by the Eddy-Birchard Funeral Home
Osawatomie, Kansas – Mary Louise Gibbons (CC ’52), age 88, of Osawatomie, Kansas was surrounded by family and friends as she made her departure from this earthly life and arrived in Heaven on Monday, January 25, 2021.
Mary (Evinger) Gibbons was born June 28, 1932, in Osawatomie, KS. She was the youngest ‘baby girl’ born to Roscoe and Dana Evinger. Mary grew up in Osawatomie and attended Osawatomie Schools. She was a 1950 graduate of Osawatomie High School where she graduated with honors. Mary attended Central Christian College in McPherson, KS majoring in Elementary Education. She transferred to Ursuline Academy College for Girls in Paola, KS in 1951 and graduated with her Degree in Elementary Education. She worked for The Palms Malt Shoppe in Paola and this is where she met the love of her life, Bobby Gibbons. They were married on June 29, 1952, at the Osawatomie Pilgrim Holiness Church (aka The Osawatomie Wesleyan Church and currently ‘the Well’).
Mary’s first teaching position was for Highland School in Rural Paola, KS. She taught there for two years. Her husband Bobby was drafted into the US Army and the couple moved to Columbia, South Carolina. While living there; they welcomed their firstborn son, Gary Dean to their little family. In the summer of 1954, Bobby was honorably discharged and they came back to Osawatomie, KS to settle and raise their family. Mary then began teaching for the Osawatomie Schools and was a 3rd-grade teacher for The West School. Their family grew and they welcomed their second son, Larry Gene. Mary taught for The Osawatomie School District from 1955-1963. She continued her education in Elementary Education and graduated from Ottawa University in 1962. In 1963 their family grew again; and they welcomed their youngest and only daughter, Angela Louise. Mary took a small break from teaching to be with her family. Then in 1965 she was approached by the Rantoul, Kansas School Board and was offered a position to teach 3rd grade. Mary taught at the Rantoul School and also the Princeton School. Later those schools, along with two other schools, merged into the newly built USD # 288 Central Heights School. Mary taught 3rd grade at Central Heights School from 1969-1978. She loved all of her students and fellow teachers/staff! Mary was known for her artistic and creative flair, her affection and love towards her students, her creative and outlandish Halloween costumes, but mostly for the way that she brought the love of God into her classrooms and prayed with her students every day before lunch.
Mary resigned from teaching in 1978 but did not resign as a teacher. Mary’s heart was dedicated to teaching children and she was the Sunday School Superintendent and Primary Class Teacher at The Osawatomie Wesleyan Church from 1978-2000. There were many times that she would pick up children in her big blue van and bring them to church. She had a servant’s heart and would go the extra mile with anything concerning ministry. Many times, if parents were working, Mary would get the parents’ permission and go into the children’s homes, helping them get dressed and then bringing them to church. Her heart was serving Jesus! And she did it with all she had! Mary also played the piano and was the Church Pianist for many years. She was humble and did not like to play for a crowd. She wanted to just play at home for the Lord. But, if she was needed-she volunteered willingly. Mary also started a ministry for the Residents at Life Care Center in 1990 called “Sing a Long” bringing Bible Reading and Hymns to minister. Originally it was started with her fellow teachers Sorority Alpha Delta Kappa but in later years Mary and her husband Bobby took over the organization of this ministry that they both were so dedicated to for over 25 years.
Mary loved to travel and enjoyed her trips to The Holy Land. She also traveled on many Mission Trips through the Kansas Wesleyan Church District to Africa, Suriname (South America), Russia, and Mexico.
It’s no secret that Mary loved her PEPSI and called it her gasoline! Mary loved to cook! She loved Cookbooks and read them like a long suspenseful novel. She was a wonderful cook and her specialties were Hungarian Goulash, Chicken & Dumplings, Grandma’s Famous Cheesy Scrambled Eggs, her Best-Ever Cookies, and her Coconut Cream Pie. Mary also loved music, especially hymns, and loved the history of the writers who wrote the hymns and what the writers were going through at the time.
Mary had such wonderful artistic abilities. She would sketch and draw her children and tell them how they had a beautiful forehead like their daddy. She loved to decorate for Christmas. She was also known as the teacher that always had the most creatively decorated bulletin boards in her classroom.
Those immediate family that proceeded Mary into Heaven were her parents Roscoe & Dana (Potts) Evinger, her sister Betty Osborn, and her brother William Evinger. Mary started out her Heavenly Journey but did not leave her family behind. She has many that will be joining her one glorious day including her loving and dedicated husband Bobby of 68 years who lives in their home in Osawatomie; her 3 children Gary (Evelyn) Gibbons of Olathe, Larry (Charissa) Gibbons of Osawatomie, and Angela (John) Wastlund of Osawatomie. She adored her 7 grandchildren; Joshua, Jessica, Jared, Joel, Hannah Mary Louise, Hadley, and Madoline Mary. Her 9 great-grandchildren were such a joy to her: Gideon, Lillie Bea, Lucy Noel, Eli Thomas, Elijah, Twins Harper, and Shiloh, and two precious great-grandbabies that are currently waiting to be born. She also prayed for every one of her nieces, nephews, cousins, and her students in hopes that they would be joining her one day in eternity. Mary would say,
Now let’s keep it positive and let’s not do any negative talking!
She loved fiercely. She served with her whole heart. And Jesus was the Lord of her life. She will be missed greatly but her legacy lives on in her family and those lives that she touched.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a four-year collegiate institution that strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person through four core characteristics: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central, go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.