James Gibbs (Veteran)
James E. Gibbs, age 96, Bartlett, Tennessee, formerly of Jefferson City, Missouri, died Monday, May 31, 2010, at St. Francis Bartlett Hospital in Bartlett, Tennessee.
He was born August 19, 1913, in Mill Spring, Missouri, son of James and Lisa Mona Gibbs, both deceased. On April 1, 1939, he married Edna Marie Cochrane and she preceded him in death on November 9, 1986. On November 22, 1987, he married Kathleen Wickman and she preceded him in death on May 20, 1991. He was popularly known as Coach Jim Gibbs. Jim graduated from Warrensburg State Teachers College with a Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Education in 1939, and earned his Master's degree from Oklahoma A&M in 1953. He joined the U.S. Navy as a Physical Education instructor training young soldiers in the art of self-defense. He served three years in the Navy during World War II from 1942-1945. After leaving the service, Jim played professional basketball with the Professional Basketball Association (PBA) in the mid-1940s. The PBA was the precursor to the National Basketball Association. Coach Gibbs was the player coach of the Tulsa Ranchers and played against George Mikan (Mr. Basketball) who later starred with the Minneapolis Lakers. Jim was offered a job with the Harlem Globetrotters to play on the traveling opponent team. He turned down the offer because he wanted to stay closer to home. Following a short basketball coaching career in Niangua, Missouri, Jim came to Jefferson City High School in 1948 to teach and coach. He taught physical education, driver's education and American History. He retired in 1976 to care for his ailing wife, Marie. He was the Jays varsity basketball coach from 1949 until 1966. His 1963 team played for the Class L State Championship but lost to CBC in the final. He later coached the Jays boys freshman basketball teams and varsity boys golf teams. His golf teams in 1969 and 1971 won Class L State Championships. The 1960 Marcullus, the high school yearbook, was dedicated to him and his late wife Marie for their positive contributions and influence on students. Jim moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, to be nearer his sons and their families. He was an active member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee for nine years. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Jim was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Jefferson City, Missouri and the Harmony Sunday School Class. James enjoyed watching sports on ESPN, playing the harmonica and golf. He was always very competitive in sports and life. He enjoyed coaching his sons and telling stories from the old days. Survivors include two sons and their spouses: Jim Bob and Sue Gibbs and John and Carolyn Gibbs; three grandchildren: Jay Gibbs, Terry Gibbs and Jessica Gibbs; four great-grandchildren: Andrew, Jordan, Katie and Chris; four great-great-grandchildren: Alexis, Paige, Manna and Bryson; all from the Memphis, Tennessee area; and one sister, Geneva Luper, of Ashley, Illinois. Funeral services were held on June 2, 2010, in Memphis, Tennessee with a graveside burial at Hawthorn Memorial Gardens in Jefferson City, Missouri on June 3, 2010. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to Bartlett Funeral Home, 5803 Stage Road, Bartlett, TN 38134-4517. Memorials are suggested to the Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation.
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