Frank Gibson Jr. Knew Every Island Fishing Hole

Surrounded by family and friends, Frank Gordon Gibson Jr. died at home in Oak Bluffs on April 6 after a long struggle against respiratory disease. He was the husband of the former Claire Shirley Darling of Oak Bluffs.

Frank, or Butch as he was known, was an avid fisherman, mobile home traveler, and music lover. He was an affable man and quick to share a joke. Most mornings he took his usual place at the Standby or Dippin Donuts roundtable, happy to make small talk about fishing, bad drivers or the quality of the coffee.

Over the years Butch generously gave his time to a number of Island organizations, including the Oak Bluffs fire department, the Boy Scouts, the ice arena and the Masonic Lodge, for which he was a past grandmaster. Butch was also a proud member of the Society in Dedham for Apprehending of Horse Thieves, and swore to his dying day that one of his family had been hanged for the crime.

He was born on Oct. 10, 1936, in Dedham to the late Frank Gordon and Gertrude (Southwell) Gibson of Vineyard Haven. He attended the Oak Bluffs Elementary School and Tisbury High School. His hands were familiar with "all tackles and trim." As a boy he cut salt hay at a farm near Brush Pond; as an adult he tried his hand at commercial scalloping and cranberrying. He was happiest with a surf rod in his hand and had a story, if not a fish, for every angling spot on the Vineyard.

In 1955 he entered the U.S. Army, training at Camp Gordon, Ga., and later serving in Korea. He was honorably discharged with the rank of staff seargent. For many years Butch worked as an electrician, first for Vineyard Electric, and later as the owner of his own electrical business.

In addition to his wife of 42 years, Butch is survived by his brother, Roger, and sister Pat Rogers of Tisbury. He is also survived by two children from a previous marrriage, Frank Gordon 3rd of Falmouth, and Brenda Lee Gibson of Rumford, Me.; also stepchildren David Wilson and Bertha Blake of Oak Bluffs and six grandchildren. His grandson, Michael Blake, is currently in Iraq with the First Armored Division, proudly continuing Poppy's example of service to country.

A graveside memorial service will be held tomorrow, Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m. in Oak Grove Cemetery in Oak Bluffs. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the cardiac rehabilitation unit at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.