Remembering David Gibson

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JD Nobody on 

A variant of this post was published on under the title An Oberlin College Alumnus at the Memorial Service for David Gibson

Also, see ‎the story of a remembrance to David Gibson created on College property directly across the street from Gibson’s Bakery.

Before his death, David Gibson wrote an Op Ed for USA Today Oberlin bakery owner: Gibson’s Bakery paid a high cost for an unfairly damaged reputation

I am known to people who read LI as JD Nobody. The reason for being Nobody is that anyone can hide behind saying “Nobody told me.” I am not a lawyer but have often hung out with lawyers and have enjoyed “thinking outside the box” with them.

My connection to Oberlin College is as a third-generation alumnus from the class of 1961. Having made many trips to Oberlin since graduating, I am moderately familiar with what is going on inside the Oberlin bubble, yet still well connected to the world outside the bubble. During this time, I never knew the Gibsons but knew of their excellent reputation.

I stumbled on Legal insurrection by accident while looking for the College’s Frequently Asked Questions about the Gibsons v Oberlin verdict. These questions allegedly “explained” what had happened. I became progressively more outraged at the whitewashes the College was trying to sell as I read LI’s coverage and looked at the evidence introduced in court. My outrage quickly extended to anger on behalf of the Gibsons and disgust that my college would behave so idiotically.

JD Nobody did not have the opportunity to meet Dave Gibson. Still, it didn’t take long to learn what a decent and exceptional person Dave was and to see that Oberlin College’s actions toward Dave and the Gibson family were sick beyond words.

When I was waking up on the morning of my 80th birthday, I received word from a friend that Dave Gibson had passed away earlier that morning. Not the best way to celebrate the 80th birthday. Dave had passed on at close to the same time of day I was born 80 years earlier.

Gibson Visiting Hours and their symbolism

The well-attended visiting hours for David Gibson were held in Oberlin’s 177-year-old Meeting House (aka First Church). It is easy to miss the symbolic importance of remembering Dave in this venue.

The Meeting House was a National focal point for many anti-slavery events before the outbreak of the Civil War. Slave catchers came to Oberlin in 1858, captured an escaped slave, and headed South, stopping 9 miles from Oberlin in Wellington for the night.

Many people from the Meeting House headed to Wellington, took the slave from his captors, and returned to Oberlin in celebration. In a way, Bill Jacobson and LI have performed a modern Wellington Rescue — this time to rescue the Gibsons. Without the publicity from LI, the Gibsons would have been dead meat.

I hope that Prof. Jacobson can, like so many notables before him, come to Oberlin and tell the other side of the Gibson story. His appearance could be the Wellington Rescue come full circle since President Ambar is a Black lawyer involved in victimizing the White Gibsons.

JD Nobody was gratified to see the outpouring of sympathy and condolences to the Gibson family and to hear the words of appreciation which has received for its effort to bring decent treatment to the Gibson family.

Recognition of David Gibson by Oberlin College

Oberlin College boulder memorializing David Gibson
Oberlin College boulder memorializing David Gibson. Photo credit: JD Nobody.

Unsurprisingly, no one from the College Administration or Board of Trustees showed up at the Memorial Service. The Gibson family did not want anyone there who would give insincere, perfunctory respect to Dave. As of this writing, there is no known response from the College to David Gibson’s death. The College has not even acknowledged that an important person in the community has passed on, by all indications.

The College did make one gesture, though, toward the Gibsons. It asked college employees not to park in the college parking lot next to the Meeting House during the Gibson Memorial Service.

There was a large, racially mixed turnout for Dave Gibson’s Memorial Service. Attendees from the College were few, none of whom were the people slandering the Gibsons. Some Blacks who respected the Gibsons did not want to show up and get caught in the middle of the mess that has fractured the Oberlin community’s social fabric the way the Gibson matter has.

Memorial Service attendance

David Gibson Memorial
David Gibson Memorial Service

The Memorial Service lasted two hours because many people came forward to pay tribute to David Gibson. One of the more important tributes was from Eddie Holoway, who is black and has been a lifelong friend of David’s. Allyn D Gibson spoke during the service about his relationship with his father and was broken up by the loss.

Allyn D. Gibson comments on the shoplifting

After the Memorial Service, I spoke to young Allyn and his martial arts trainer. Allyn reported, quite credibly, that when he captured the shoplifter, he used the minimum force and did not injure him. Allyn’s martial arts instructor concurred that Alan could have seriously hurt the thief had he wanted to. Alan was quick to comment that the thief had an excellent academic record and that it was a tragedy for the thief to have landed in this mess.

The Gibsons show graciousness

After the Memorial Service, a Gibson family member told me that they are enormously grateful for the support from Bill Jacobson and LI. I learned that in David’s last days, the family read him some of the LI posts written by myself and others. These posts bucked up Dave’s spirits in a time of little hope. Those of you who posted on Dave’s behalf can take credit for doing a good deed that you did not realize you were doing.

There was a time at Oberlin College when there was an atmosphere of graciousness and decency. That began to fade over 50 years ago after discarding formal dining in favor of a more cost-effective but sterile cafeteria setting. The current dining environment is somewhat better than that provided to an average herd of hogs. There is a connection between graciousness and decency that is not on Oberlin’s radar today.

Now you can say in all honesty, Nobody told me!
/s/ JD Nobody (ho, hum), OC ’61. logo

Posted Feb 24, 2020 at 17:00. Revised Apr 25, 2021 at 08:46.
Retrieved May 29, 2022 at 08:49.
Copyright ©2022 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.

Categorized as History

By JD Nobody

JD Nobody, OC '61, has a 54-year career in developing software. This involved IT application design and maintenance, software engineering, bank operations, and article composing software for The Business Torts Reporter. He was an administrative officer and ICBM launch officer in the U.S. Air Force.

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