Fern Howell Gibbons

Jul 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Obituaries

Fern Howell Gibbons died on June 21, 2012. She was born to William Benjamin Howell and Effie O’Neil Howell on Oct. 8, 1911, in Friendship, Tenn. As a young girl, the family moved to Memphis, which was Fern’s home until she married.

She graduated from Central High School, DeShazo School of Music and West Tennessee State Teachers College (now the University of Memphis). After college, Fern worked for the old Southern Bell Telephone Company.

Through a former classmate, she met and was courted by 1st Lt. Samuel H. Gibbons. They married on April 18, 1942. Fern traveled with Sam to various Army posts before he embarked for Europe. She returned to Memphis and Southern Bell until Sam returned home in 1945.

After the war, Fern and Sam lived for a time in Auburn and Memphis (their son, Howard, was born there) before settling in Lewisburg, Tenn., for several years. The family moved to Athens in 1958.

Fern was a member of the Methodist Church since she was a girl. For 54 years, she was a member of the first United Methodist Church of Athens. She was active in school, community and church groups throughout her life until blindness gradually limited her independence. Fern loved music and until her last few years played her beloved piano every day.

Fern will be remembered as a gracious, Christian, Southern lady who loved her family, her church and her friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Effie and Ben; her brother, O’Neil Howell; and her husband, Sam. Among her survivors are her children Kris and Howard Gibbons of Shelbyville, Ky.; many nieces, nephews and friends.

The family is very grateful for the loving, professional manner in which the staff of Limestone Health Facility cared for Fern during her last years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the First United Methodist Church of Athens, or a favorite charity.

A memorial service for Mrs. Gibbons will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the First United Methodist Church of Athens with visitation to follow in the church parlor.

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