Tuesday, April 10, 2018
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A Rosary will be recited at 6:30 PM.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Agnes Gibbons, 84, was the glue who held her family together. A devoted mom and grandmother, she found her greatest joy in spending time with family and friends, her Irish heritage and keeping active through traveling and social engagements.
Agnes was always on the go and always had something to do, and foremost in her heart was the love she held for her family. Throughout her life, her devotion to the Catholic faith served as an example to her children and grandchildren so that they too would live by faith and know their beginnings. Through triumphs and tragedies, Agnes stayed strong, and her sharp wit could silence a room, or cause everyone in it to burst into laughter.
While the nation struggled through the worst year of the Great Depression, the year of 1933 saw an unprecedented U.S. jobless rate of over 15 million. At the same time, great strides were being made in the culture of America as Radio City Music Hall opened and The Ranger, the first U.S. aircraft carrier, was launched. FDR held his first “Fireside Chat” to boost the spirits of Americans while a thirst for entertainment was a welcome deviation from hard economic times.
Despite the changes in the world around them, Benjamin and Anna (Power) Clark found much to be thankful for on November 18, 1933, when they lovingly welcomed the birth of their little girl, Agnes. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Agnes was the youngest of six children. Agnes loved growing up in New York – her brothers worked at Yankee Stadium, and she participated in several Thanksgiving Day and St. Patrick’s Day parades. During World War II, she was supportive of her family as her brothers served in the military.
Agnes attended Catholic schools, where she was a friend of many and excelled in her studies. At 16, she graduated a year early from St. Barnabas High School, an all-girls Roman Catholic school, with the Class of 1950. Upon graduation, Agnes was younger then her peers, but was a very talented typist and managed to land a wonderful position working as an executive secretary at Sinclair and Valentine – despite tweaking her age slightly on the job application! She worked in that position for several years.
It was during a company picnic when Agnes met her future husband. Robert Gibbons was singing Irish songs, which grabbed Agnes’ attention. The two hit it off right from the start, and dated before Robert was assigned to work in Tampa, Florida. Having fallen deeply in love with the girl of his dreams, he couldn’t bear being away from Agnes and returned to her awaiting arms. The couple announced their engagement and on November 14, 1953, they were happily married at St. Peter and Paul’s Church in the Bronx just a few days before Agnes’ 20th birthday. The newlyweds honeymooned in Washington, D.C. and stayed at the Hay-Adams Hotel.
Robert worked as a manager at Sinclair and Valentine. The family lived in New Jersey before Robert was transferred to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1958. The couple was blessed with five children, and for a time Agnes remained at home to raise their daughter, Kathleen, and four sons, Timothy, John, Patrick, and Michael. A kind and caring mother, Agnes was very active in her children’s lives as a dedicated, loving parent. The family were members of St. Augustine Cathedral, and the younger kids attended Hackett High School. Agnes attended school activities, fundraisers and every sporting event her children participated in. She didn’t let her typing skills go to waste, occasionally typing up school papers for her kids.
Agnes was the backbone of the family in many ways, cooking them delicious dinners and having loved ones over for the holidays. But life as she knew it changed dramatically on April 10, 1976, when Robert and her son, Timothy, died in a tragic industrial accident together. It left a huge hole in her heart, but with her faith and the love and support of family and friends, Agnes was able to carry on one day at a time. She re-entered the workforce, getting a job at Kehoe Insurance Agency, where she remained until her retirement in 1999.
Agnes enjoyed Irish music and dances, and with her love of dancing, she could do quite a good jig or polka! She was a member of the Kalamazoo Irish American Club and looked forward to attending the club’s events and spending time with her friends there. She also was an avid bingo player and liked playing the slots at casinos and Keno, and enjoyed bowling in her spare time.
She was well traveled, and some of her favorite vacation destinations were Las Vegas, Traverse City, Mackinac Island and Disneyland. Agnes also liked visiting relatives in Boston and New York, frequently returning from Michigan to spend time with her siblings and cousins. She was a big fan of Mickey Mouse because she shared a birthday with him. She loved watching Notre Dame and Michigan State games, and Everyone Loves Raymond, The Sopranos and Blue Bloods were some of her favorite shows. Agnes counted The Quiet Man and Gone with the Wind as her all-time favorite movies, and she was fond of Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.
When her children got older and started having kids, Agnes became a devoted grandmother and was an important part of their lives. She loved babysitting them and watching them grow up. Agnes was a caretaker for her daughter, Kathy, when she was fighting cancer. She moved in with Kathy about 10 years ago, and every day was a new adventure. After Kathy retired, she and Agnes spent considerable time traveling, spending time with friends and trying new restaurants. When they weren’t busy, Agnes crocheted some of the most beautiful Afghans and scarves. She liked doing puzzles, and enjoyed reading the paper, following her granddaughter’s work as a political reporter for MLive.
There was no one quite like Agnes Gibbons – her story was one of triumph in the face of considerable tragedy, and she was an inspiration to her family and others who knew her. In the hearts of so many, her memory lives on.
Mrs. Agnes B. Gibbons, age 84, of Kalamazoo, died April 8, 2018 in Kalamazoo. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Gibbons, and a son, Timothy, both in 1976; five siblings: Charlie Clark, Veronica Stone, Jimmy Clark, Eddie Clark and Artie Clark; and her parents, Anna and Benjamin Clark. Surviving are her four other children: Kathleen Gibbons, John Gibbons, Patrick (Maureen) Gibbons and Michael (Michelle) Gibbons; six grandchildren: Lauren, Tim, Sean, Ryan, Brendan and Kevin; and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held , 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900, where the Rosary will be recited at 6:30 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. Wednesday at St. Augustine Cathedral. Interment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Agnes’ personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.