Ryan - Our Inspiration : Gibbie Stories
Chapter Eternal as printed in the Shield & Diamond
Donald Ryan "Gibbie" Gibson, November 13, 1975 - January 30, 2001 The world lost a true inspiration and the very definition of a gentleman on January 30, 2001. Donald Ryan Gibson, known to all who loved him as Gibbie, died after a long bout with leukemia and a short but difficult struggle with pneumonia. His life was celebrated by hundreds at a memorial service in his hometown of Springdale, Arkansas, on February 3.
To the Pikes, Gibbie was more than a fraternity brother. To a fortunate and close circle, he was more than a son, cousin, brother or nephew. To countless dozens, he was more than a friend, fellow student or acquaintance. He was a role model and a ray of sunlight to all who were part of his life.
Gibbie was born November 13, 1975 and initiated into the Beta Zeta chapter at Southern Methodist University in the spring of 1995. His father, Donald, is a Pike from the Alpha Zeta chapter at the University of Arkansas, and his mother, Carol Lynn, was a Pike Dream Girl. He is survived by those loving parents; a brother, Derek; his grandmother, Imogene Gibson; his aunt and uncle, Pam and Jerry Barrett; and their children, Bo and Britney.
Ryan aspired to be a physician. This man, who spent countless months in the hospital and knew the names of his painful conditions and powerful medications almost as well as his own doctors, wanted nothing more than to study, work and learn so that he could help others. Gibbie had been accepted into the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, earning a rare scholarship there, as well as Tulane School of Medicine, the University of Arkansas School of Medicine and Duke University's medical school. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in biology from SMU in May 2000, having returned to school, in his own words, "to become a physician so that I could help find a way to alleviate the suffering of people stricken with" leukemia. After all the physical hardships he had endured, Gibbie excelled so well in the classroom that he was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the country's highest academic honor society.
In his own quiet and unassuming way, Gibbie watched as his passions for scuba diving, Jimmy Buffet music, Native American culture and many other interests led others to dive into their own waters of exploration. We mourn his death and lament that we never will see his face again, but we also celebrate the time we had with him and realize we are better for knowing him. Gibbie is watching us from a peaceful place above, and when we next see him, he will sit back and smile as we tell him what we've accomplished in his name. The world is a better place because Ryan Gibson walked upon it.