Our sweet mother, grandmother and friend, Florence M. Gibb Wilson, passed away peacefully at home on July 23.
She was born June 23, 1925, to Irene Walsh Gibb and Gilbert M. Gibb, in Forrest, Ill., joining a trio of older brothers, George, Dan and Paul. Six years later, the family welcomed Flo’s younger sister, Gerry.
By that time, the family had moved to a farm in Morral, Ohio. With older brothers to help with the work, Flo and her sister weren’t assigned many farm chores, and Flo spent much of her time reading. Her mother was a former schoolteacher and valued education, even for girls. When a teacher at Flo’s high school recommended that she apply to the College of Mt. Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Flo was hopeful that would be her ticket to the big city life she dreamed about.
Flo earned a full scholarship and graduated with honors in 1946 with a dual degree in English and Spanish. She put her language skills to good use as the editor of the college paper and, after graduation, as a secretary for the Ford Motor Company in Mexico. Within two years, she was back in Cincinnati, working as a translator in the export division of a company that made the first refrigerator with shelves in the door.
A lifelong, devoted member of the Catholic Church, Flo was on her way to daily Mass one fateful day when she greeted a young man she had met at her college prom. John F. “Jack” Wilson didn’t remember her, but he later liked to tell the story by repeating the two words that he said changed his world: “Hi, Jack.”
Their first date was dinner out to celebrate his acceptance to medical school. Soon after, he invited her to Easter dinner, where his mother roasted a lamb leg and Flo contributed a banana cream pie. On Sept. 2, 1950, Jack and Flo began their married life, one that would eventually take them to Salt Lake City, where they raised a family that grew to include eight children.
Any household with that many kids is chaotic, but Flo earned the moniker “Floating Flo” for her unruffled demeanor. In the midst of all the cooking and cleaning, she managed to carve out a few minutes during the day for such modest pleasures as watching soap operas while ironing and staying up late to read after everyone was in bed. She also enjoyed playing the piano.
Once the demands of full-time motherhood eased, Flo contributed time to such organizations as the Assistance League and St. Martha’s Guild baby layette project, putting her quilting and sewing skills to use for the less fortunate. She was a longtime member of the Catholic Women’s League. Flo’s life was anchored by her faith, and she and Jack attended daily Mass as long as they were able. She had an abiding belief in God and knew that one day she would be reunited with her parents, siblings and her beloved Jack, who passed away in November 2019, shortly after they celebrated 69 years of marriage.
She was brilliant, beautiful, strong and kind. But most of all, she was our sweet mother. She will live forever in our hearts.
Survived by children, John (Lynn); Anne (Con) Psarras; Sarah (Rick) Miller; Madeline (Bill) Grieder; Timothy (Marianne); Margaret (R.J.) Chleboski; Peter (Marian); and Jean; 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by cherished grandchildren Kimberly Wilson and Michael Miller.
A prviate Funeral Mass for family will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church at 11:00 am. A live stream of the funeral mass will be available by clicking the "Watch Now" link above before the service begins. The service recording will be posted on this website thereafter to view any time. She will be laid to rest next to Jack at Mr. Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Many thanks to Jen, Ruth and Mikey of Canyon Home Care and Hospice, and The Ridge Cottonwood, for their exceptional care of Flo.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Catholic Foundation of Utah, 27 C St., Salt Lake City 84103.