Thelma J. (Poague) Gibson, age 90, of Grants Pass, passed away peacefully March 28, 2023 at Kinsington at Redwood Park.
A celebration of life will be held at 1:00 pm, April 22, 2023 at Hull & Hull Funeral Directors.
Thelma J. (Poague) Gibson Thelma Jean was born on November 24, 1932 to Aurthur J. and Helen L. (Aebi) Chaffin on the family farm just South of Monmouth, Oregon. She attended schools in that area, with Fall City High being the last school she attended. She passed away peacefully on March 28, 2023 in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Thelma’s mother passed away when she was just 14 years old. She wanted to continue her education and graduate, but by age 16 had no choice but to quit school and support herself.
In 1951 she married Lewis (Louie) E. Poague who passed away in 1980. They had four children, Robert (Bob), Karen, Kenneth (Kenny) and Jennifer (Jenn) in that order. In 1971 the family moved from Reedsport, Oregon to Grants Pass, Oregon.
Not long after moving to Grant Pass Thelma started working at nearby Merlin Health Retreat as a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA), which inspired her to continue her education and pursue nursing. She first got her GED and then received her nursing degree from Rogue Community College. She worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the Grants Pass area for several years. She always joked that LPN stood for: Lowly Paid Nurse!
In 1983 she married Lloyd D. Mayers who passed away in 1986. Although it was a short marriage, she was so thankful to gain a bonus daughter, Diane.
In 1989 she married Marvin H. Gibson, living with him in Glide, Oregon for 15 years until he passed away. She gained another bonus daughter, Rita, from that marriage. After Marvin’s death she moved back to Grants Pass where she had her first brand new house built in 2004. She really enjoyed picking everything out herself and was so pleased with and proud of her beautiful new home.
When Thelma and Marvin retired, they bought a fifth wheel and began traveling. They were Snowbirds for 13 years, making the trek to the Arizona desert with friends each year. Besides the warm winter weather, day trips to Mexico and perusing Flee Markets were some of the things they enjoyed while there. Thelma especially loved seeing all the beautiful desert flowers bloom. They also spent time at the Oregon coast and three summers in Alaska fishing, enjoying the cooler weather, amazing scenery, wildlife and history.
Thelma enjoyed camping, traveling and socializing. She was an avid reader and especially enjoyed mysteries. She loved cats and playing card games with family and friends. She was known for her cooking and cooked anything Louie or the boys dragged in, often for large numbers of people, never complaining and doing it seemingly effortlessly. She spent many years preserving and canning things grown in the family garden, fresh caught or smoked fish and game that Louis and her sons caught, hunted and cured. Her pantry and freezer were always well stocked. All her children have followed her example and are home canners and preservers.
Thelma was especially proud of her children. She expressed this often with her last time in the week before she passed away. Her daughter’s response, which all her children agree with, was: “You raised us right momma; you did a good job, a very good job.” Her children are all very proud of her too; from the way she raised them to be responsible self-sufficient adults, teaching them valuable skills and lessons, to the way she managed money and taught them by example. She always said: “There’s no income you can’t outspend, so live below you means,” which they all took to heart.
After moving back to Grants Pass she volunteered at Fruitdale Elementary School, in Jenn’s first grade class. She was called Grandma Gibson and admired by all. She was a member of Grant Pass Christian Singles, traveled and socialized with her friends and family. She had a group of ladies that often went to lunch, movies and on outings together. She went on many group bus trips with Raindance Tours, car trips with family or friends and even a few cruises. She always joked that she was spending her kids’ inheritance. We would tell her, “Good for you mom! Spend it all; you taught us how to make our own.”
Thelma was pleasant to be around and loved by everyone who knew her. She had a great sense of humor that stayed with her until the end. After her passing, one caregiver commented, “I really miss your mom. She always had something nice to say.” Another said, “Thelma is the nicest person I’ve ever met.” Her kindness, gentle spirit, beautiful smile and the way she lit up when someone came to visit will always be remembered.
Survivors include: Her children Robert (Deneice) Poague of Roseburg, OR; Karen (Dave) Bartels of Eugene, OR; Kenneth (Victoria) Poague and Jennifer (Darrell, “Huck”) Webb both of Grants Pass, OR; two bonus daughters Diane (Mayers) Dahlgren of Grants Pass, OR and Rita Gibson of Roseburg, OR; her brother James A. Chaffin of Hawaii; along with several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, parents and sister, Shirley Trueax.
Tribute donations can be made to the Red Cross, as she always supported them to show gratitude for their help after the 1964 flood or to the Rogue Valley Humane Society to honor her love for cats.
Please share memories of Thelma on her Tribute Wall.