(Gorda) Anne Gibson (née Hagmeier) died Christmas morning at the age of 94 after a three year battle with lung cancer, a battle she fought with true grit and panache and many crossword puzzles. Her comrades-in-arms were her many doctors and nurses from the Cedars Cancer Centre who thought she only had a year to live. Her moxie and their innovative care—first immunotherapy and then a gentle chemotherapy cocktail that didn’t prevent her weekly sojourn to the hair stylist—gave her and her family three more blessed years. We celebrated, we laughed, we argued, we remembered. We regaled each other with storied encounters: family visits, trips taken, crazy picnics, and all those houses we lived in through the years. What a life lived—a life lived so fondly, so earnestly, so diligently in every step, skip, and (towards the end of her life) even the falls, too. She just didn’t want to give up! She rattled the gates of heaven with questions, her love of vanity, her profound respect for medical science, her wine, her gin.
Anne was the last one left in her family: she was predeceased by her two older sisters, Betty and Jean, and by her husband, John Gibson, who died in 2016. She leaves behind two great grandchildren, Monty and Charley; four grandchildren, Catherine (Paul) and Sarah (Dan), Ben and Mitch (Avi); and sons Mark (Mary) and Scott (Joanne), and her daughter Jennifer (Christy). Also she leaves behind a cadre of friends: Karen and Jack; Betsy, her dear friend and niece; Lee and Fred; Susan and Jim; Ed and Jan, and many more. She will be remembered largely because she was unforgettable, a true legend of her own making.
Anne was a grade one teacher for 12 years in St. Albert, Alberta, starting her career in her late forties. She prided herself for teaching children to read and being a part of a new innovative math program called, “Math, Their Way” in the late 1970’s. At the end of her career she went on to earn her Master's Degree in applied psychology. Anne was always a lifelong learner, honing her computer, Apple Watch, and iPad skills even into her 90s.
Heaven will be a better place with her, and there will be some changes there, you can be sure. (Are there enough outlets? Is all the software up to date? Must you update it? I just got used to it!) The pride of our hearts, this former resident of Québec, Ontario and Alberta is gone, leaving the world a little less grand. We will miss you, forever.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to the Cedars Cancer Foundation at cedars.ca/en.