Historical Details

Gibson, George

Courtesy of Online Sources, 11/30/2020


(September 22, 1900 - March 1, 1960)

by Ethel Arnold Gibson

George Gibson was born in Hot Springs, S. D. Sept. 22, 1900 to Anna Marie Mueller and George Gibson, Sr., pioneers of the Black Hills area. When World War I broke out he left High School, lied about his age and joined the Army, returning in 1920 to finish high school. He attended North­western University in Chicago for one year. He came to Lusk in 1923 to close out a hardware store, but liked the town so much he remained there the rest of his life. On Jan. 10, 1929 he married Ethel Arnold, daughter of Edward Arnold a pioneer of Niobrara County. They were the parents of one daughter, Georgeann.

In 1933 George purchased the Snyder Merchantile Company building where he moved his store and added a floor of furniture.

In 1937 he built the first Safeway score building for that company. He established the Midwest Skelgas Company, one of the first propane dealerships in the United States in Lusk, Torrington and Newcastle. He became interested in the hotel business and bought the Washaki Hotel in Worland with his brother-in-law Tom Gee as a part­ner, and remodeled it, adding a new and large area.  He also bought the Sheridan Hotel in Gordon, Nebr. and remodeled it ex­tensively. Lusk remained his home base.

His life long interest was the people and their activities in Lusk and Niobrara County.

The American Legion held a soft spot in his heart. In 1937 he served the local Post as commander and the State Department as vice-commander. He was general chairman of the never-to-be-forgotten state convention in 1949. He was president of the Lion's Club and produced a take off on "South Pacific" which he saw in New York when it was new.  He took the part of "Bloody Mary" and the Lions were "the girls" in bathing suits along with the other characters, all of them males. It took talent and quite some doing to put on such an unbelievably good show.  It was repeated for t6e March of Dimes Drive, and for the ladies of the P.E.O. State Convention which was held in Lusk. That also was never to be forgotten by the ladies.

George's idea of advertising was a fun day which would bring out the community-­ pancake day, wood chopping contest, cake bake, Santa Claus, Easter eggs and all kinds of guessing contests £or everybody, with prizes all around.  He won three na­tional prizes with his unique and beautiful window displays of nationally advertised products like Congoleum or Coleman stoves or Skelgas. The prize was always a car, a plane or money.   He invariably took the money, which he divided with his talented helpers in the store who helped create the window.

George Gibson's most cherished hobby was "The Pageant of the Rawhide" and its continuation. It was an historical tale of early immigrants, crossing the country in covered wagons with ox teems, being attacked by Indians.  New scenes were added to the original script and George's living room was the rehearsal area, his upstairs of the garage a permanent repository of trunks and closets for costumes.  Old tim­ers and young worked hard to build the wagons and put on the performance. It was so good that George succeeded in bringing in Life Magazine with cameras mounted on tall cranes high in the sky to photograph it. The Pageant got three full pages in color in that magazine.

The parade at pageant time were to be remembered forever. George’s  hobby was. to build a float. He produced  a Trolly car, a steam caliope, and finally his fabulous Mississippi River Boat. It was three decks high and 50 feet long built with antique carved rails, spindle posts, and filagree around the top.  It carried beautifully gowned Southern Belles and gamblers, bales of cotton, crates of live chickens and a captain at the wheel in uniform with a ship's bell and a flag bearing 13 stars in a circle. It was truly a beautiful sight as it rolled down the streets of Lusk and onto the highway to the state fair.

George Gibson was especially the friend of high school students and children of the community, and upon his death the Lusk Lion's Club took on the responsibility for the George Gibson Memorial Fund. The foot­ ball field was named in his honor, bleach­ers were build and an electric score board erected.  A memorial was built on the field with bronze placques enumerating his act­ivities in pictures etched into the bronze by Coy Jennewine.

George Gibson was appointed to the Wyoming Natural Resources Board in 1955 by Governor Milward Simpson and took great pride standing by his guns whenever he felt the welfare of the Wyoming resource and people were at stake. He was a member at the time of his death.

George bad two enormous leather scrap books of pictures and articles about every citizen in Niobrara County.  It is a his­tory of the county in pictures and news­paper articles during his life in Niobrara County.  Alone on the first page is this poem which was his simple philosophy:

"·Do not write on stone or wood

I was honest or I was good.

Write in smoke on a passing breeze

Seven words -- and the words are these:

  I lived, I laughed, and I understood.


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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Gibson, George (09/22/1899 - 03/01/1960) View Record
Obituary Gibson, Helen (02/07/1902 - 01/04/1999) View Record
Historical Gibson, George: Army Rifle Hoax View Record
Historical Gibson Field at Niobrara County High School View Record