Dr. Herman Gibson Jr. remembered fondly

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FERRIDAY — Mention of Dr. Herman Gibson Jr. in Concordia Parish is likely to elicit a common response: “Oh! He delievered me.”

Such a response is understandable since Gibson practiced medicine for nearly 62 years in Ferriday and delivered countless newborns in the area,his stepdaughter Lily Wilson said.

In his life, Gibson was a soldier, a physician, an author, a mayor, a husband and a father, among other professions.

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On Saturday, Oct. 14, Gibson died at his residence at the age of 92. He had only been retired from practicing medicine for a little less than two years.

Gibson was born on Oct. 26, 1924, in Clayton and  was drafted into World War II in 1943 when he was 18.

After serving in France and Germany, Gibson returned and graduated from medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans.

He returned to Ferriday after medical school and began as a catch-all doctor for the area, performing surgeries and delivering babies and treating the common cold all in a week.

“He was so warm,” Wilson said. “He had such a wonderful personality.”

Wilson said she had known Gibson as her family physician long before he and her mother, Dr. Mary Bradford Gibson, were married.

Gibson and Mary, Wilson said, had known each other while growing up but had never dated.

Twenty years ago, after Gibson’s first wife had died and Bradford Gibson had long been divorced they saw one another.

“They ran into each other all those years later,” Wilson said. “He asked her out and within six weeks, they were married. They’ve been together 20 years.”

Wilson said Gibson was a passionate person; he loved horses, boats, fishing, dessert and music.

Whenever she would come home, Wilson said she would always make him banana pudding.

As he became more ill in the past year, Wilson said she made banana pudding every other day so he could have it fresh whenever he wanted.

Including his years in the Army Medical Corps, Gibson had practiced medicine for 70 years.

Billy Rucker, administrator at Riverland Medical Center, said Gibson loved his work.

Working in a demanding job until you are 90 years old can be difficult, Rucker said, but not for Gibson.

“Not if you love it like he did. He loved his work,” Rucker said. “I never heard anybody in my lifetime who talked bad about him. He was very well respected in the community, and he will be missed.”

Rucker said he and Gibson, who worked together for “I don’t know how many” years, would sit and talk between Gibson’s seeing patients.

They would talk about history, about their families or the books he was writing — about anything, really.

“He was very personal,” Rucker said.  “He loved helping people. He loved to dance. He … just loved life.”

Patricia Crook worked in the front office of Gibson’s many practices for 45 years.

“He was wonderful,” Crook said.  “He would teach you everything that you thought you knew. He was very patient. He was a good doctor and good father figure.”

Crook said it never mattered who their patient was, whether they had the money for their bills or if they paid him in eggs, pecans or corn.

“He was an old fashion, country doctor and people just loved him,” she said.  “If you came in and he treated you and you brought him a bag of corn, that was it. He was a friend to his patients.”

Crook said she and another longtime coworker swore they would not retire until Gibson did. They fulfilled their promise.

Even after they finally retired, Crook said she rarely went anywhere without someone asking her about Gibson.

They wanted, she said, to care for the man who had cared for all of them for so many years.

“He was so awesome,” Wilson said. “If you never got to meet him, I’m sorry.”