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Anita and John Gibson


July 12, 1933  –  December 16, 2011

We wanted to share what John shared in his Christmas/New Year Greeting the following:


Dear Family and Friends:


This year has been like no other for Anita and me.  Anita was admitted to the Robin Run Health Care Center in mid-May and died there December 16th from complications of the “cerebella atrophy” disorder diagnosed three years ago.  Up unitl the very last she had a reasonably good quality of life interacting with friends, family and her excellent nursing home caregivers.  Her memorial celebration on December 31st was a profound tribute to her life and legacy.  Family and friends came from near and far to grieve her passing and to express gratitute for who she was and how she made the world a better place.  I am personally very thankful for all the expressions of support such as cards, food, phone calls, e-mails, and visits during these difficult days.  Likewise our church family, Braodway United Methodist, has been extremely gracious and generous.


What now?  In early November my sister, Rev. Judy Voss (retired UMC clergy from the Missouri Conference), came to visit Anita, me, Ruth (our daughter), and her husband, Dave Clark.  While Judy was here she offered to move from her condo in Kansas City to assist with Anita’s care and to work with me on the Sustainable Indiana 2016 project.  Her move-in is now complete; well, mostly.  There are still some boxes to unpack.  We both share a sense of urgency for the future of the planet and a conviction that Indiana is potentially a national leader in green innovation.


The year ahead, 2012, promises to be a pivotal time the history of Earth.  So many perils and promising possibilities are “on the table.”  Some predictions are ominous.  Some are optimistic.  I choose to be cautiously optimistic,  this means I will keep working, as I hope you will, toward a healthier, safer, and more sustainable planet. May you know the happiness of a worthy purpose and partners to pursue it.

          ~~  John Gibson


Ellie, thank you so much for sharing with us this sad news.  Anita was one of the fine Instructors and Directors of Training, Inc.   What a pleasure it was to work with her and that team in that amazing program of transformation.  We recall also the creative community partnerships she and John forged in Indianapolis as part of the Area Chicago. We give thanks for the life and service of this dear colleague on the journey.

          ~~  Lynda Cock



April 16, 1933 – February 28, 2020

Earth Charter Remembers John Gibson


2010 Lifetime Achievement 

Cultural Vision Award


This link goes to a “Remembering John Gibson” article by Earth Charter Indiana.  At the bottom of the page is a photo – as you click on the photo, it proceeds through a set of 10 or more photos of John in action with community groups.

An ICA Tribute to John Gibson

The Ecumenical Institute (EI) and (ICA) Institute of Cultural Affairs exist today because of dedicated people who decided to live their lives on behalf of something bigger than themselves. Individuals who decided to operate out of a different value system than the world was accustomed to, and who demonstrated with their lives that that which seemed impossible, was in fact, possible.


Today we celebrate the life of John Gibson who for 37 years was deeply involved in the life and work of the Institute. In 1966 Joseph Mathews, Dean of the Ecumenical Institute was the keynote speaker at the Pastor School in South Dakota. Mathew’s vision of a renewed church as the catalyst for healing the world, spoke to John, which motivated him to attend a Pastoral Leadership Colloquy at the Institute’s westside Chicago campus. Soon after, the Church leaders in Rapid City invited EI to conduct an RS-1 course, and out of that inaugural course the Local Church Experiment in Rapid City started in 1970.


In 1973 John and Anita participated in the Institute’s Global Odyssey that circled the earth to study the cultures of the world. Shortly thereafter, their Bishop, James Armstrong, appointed John to work with EI so Anita and John joined the EI staff. They were deployed to start a Religious House in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In the region they worked on The Bicentennial Town Meeting Campaign, and LENS (Living Effectively in a New Society) designed to help government agencies and corporations grow cultures of participation.


In 1977 Anita and John and their children, were deployed to Malaysia to coordinate a social and economic reconstruction project at Sungai Lui, a small village about 20 miles from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Anita started a preschool and ran the Well-baby Clinic. John did a gravity-fed water system and worked in training and collective village planning.


In 1980, the Gibsons came back to Indianapolis, Indiana where Anita helped start Training, Inc and John coordinated ICA programs in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. John became very involved on neighborhood boards and citywide boards. After John left the Institute in 1999, he ran as an independent candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis and became the co- founder of Earth Charter Indiana serving as an executive Director from 2003 to 2011.


The question the ICA posed to John over 37 years ago, was ‘What will you DO with your unique and unrepeatable life’, and we can see John’s answer clearly through his mission and work. Likely John would like nothing more than for us all to ponder, what will we do with our unique and unrepeatable life, and how are we willing to actively, not passively -make the change we know the world so desperately needs.


John Gibson you truly believed in us. You knew us ladies were a force of nature and love. I consider you my Godfather of Environmental activism. You attended all of my events and sponsored my work, including fighting the pipeline and lobbyist work for Standing Rock in Washington, DC. You encouraged, uplifted, and supported me. But most of all, you made my work easier by making the path. I adore you and Judy Voss. May your soul be among the breeze, upon the skies, and in the waters healing us everyday. You will always be with us. I love you. I thank you. My work in all areas will be a part of you.

          ~~  Linze Southwick

I will forever be thankful for John Gibson‘s presence and influence on my life. John was my first environmental nonprofit “boss” – I took on the role of Regional Coordinator for Sustainable Indiana 2016 under his guidance before working for HEC. His spirit and drive was part of what moved me to do this meaningful work full-time. He and Judy Voss made my trip to COP-21 in Paris possible – something I never dreamed I would get to experience. He inspired me and showed me how a life truly devoted to the cause looks. I know that his life was long and good and full of so very much love. So today I don’t mourn for him, because he was ready for the next phase of his existence; instead, I mourn for those of us who are left behind to tread in his bigger-than-life footsteps and do our very best to honor his spirit. Rest among the stars, my friend. You will always shine so very brightly.

          ~~  Amanda Shepherd