Thomas “Tom” Judson Gibson, 86 of Travelers Rest, SC, went peacefully to his heavenly home on Monday, September 17, 2018. He died at the historic family home he shared with his wife of 65 years, Nell Anderson Gibson, also of Travelers Rest.
Tom was born October 23, 1931, in Greenville County, SC to the late Warren Winfield Gibson, Sr. and Idalene Hendrix Gibson. Having been raised on a farm and playing competitive baseball throughout his youth his work ethic was established young. He graduated Travelers Rest High School in 1949 where in the Senior Class play he met his lifelong sweetheart, Rebecca Nell Anderson. Afterwards, he enrolled at Clemson University where he played baseball and became platoon leader in Company D eventually graduating in the Class of 1953. Tom and Nell were married on June 30, 1953 at Nell’s family home built in 1820 in Travelers Rest, becoming the Spring Park Inn in 1851.
Following marriage, he taught Chemistry at Travelers Rest High School for one year, while also working at George Coleman Ford. Soon after, in June 1954 Tom entered the United State Army where he was stationed in Stuttgard, Germany with the 9th Division Artillery, eventually obtaining the rank of Captain and later serving in the Army Reserves for many years. After returning home from active military service, he and Nell moved to Atlanta where he pursued his dream of working for the Ford Motor Company and attending grad school at the University of Georgia. Over the following 15 years working in the corporate office of Ford Motor, his career took them from Atlanta to Charlotte, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis. In 1973, he acquired a failing Ford dealership in West Memphis, Arkansas where quickly he became one of the leading automotive dealers in the Memphis market under the banner of Tom Gibson Ford. His policy was “the customer must be satisfied” which led to 13 of 15 years him receiving the highest award within Ford Motor Company, the Distinguished Achievement Award, as well as international travel awards. He owned multiple dealerships until his retirement in 1990. While in West Memphis, Tom was active in the community serving the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the bank of West Memphis.
Upon his retirement from Tom Gibson Ford and Nell’s retirement from a 33 year teaching career, they returned to her family home in Travelers Rest once again, where he continued his enjoyment of golf by establishing the Spring Park Driving Range and claiming many area golf tournaments top prizes. The two of them were active in Travelers Rest United Methodist Church where he served on the finance committee. As Tom’s health declined, Nell cared for him with heartfelt dedication and love in the home, where together they had walked 65 years ago through the front door hand in hand as newlyweds. Upon his death Monday night in a final adoring gesture, Nell lovingly walked alongside Tom through the same front doors as she let him go heavenward where he is now complete in the Lord.
Tom is survived by his wife, Nell and their peekapoo, Daisy along with nieces, Deborah Faye Gibson(Tom Styron) of Greenville and Marianne Gibson Caldwell(Kenny) of Charleston, a nephew Warren Winfield Gibson, III(Lisa) of Maui, Hawaii and a cousin, James Edward Neves(Laura) of Asheville, NC. Additionally surviving Uncle Tom are 3 great nieces and 3 great nephews, and 2 great-great nephews and 3 great-great nieces. Tom is preceded in death by his parents, and his only brother Warren Winfield Gibson, Jr., as well as his father and mother-in-law, Robert LeRoy Anderson and Grace Neves Anderson.
The family will receive friends Saturday September 22, 2018 from 2pm until 3pm at The Howze Mortuary.
Funeral services will be Sunday September 23, 2018 at 2pm at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church with burial following in the church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Travelers Rest United Methodist Church Building Fund, 19 S. Main St. Travelers Rest, SC 29690.
Online condolences may be expressed here.
The Howze Mortuary, Travelers Rest is in charge of arrangements.