Author Topic: In Memory of Ella Gibbons  (Read 1026 times)


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In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« on: November 02, 2016, 11:57:58 AM »
In Loving Memory of our Ella Gibbons

November 10, 1928 - November 1, 2016


Ella was with us at SeniorNet and then here at SeniorLearn since at least 1997.  She was a dedicated and wonderful discussion leader.  She will be greatly missed. Her obituary is here:Ella's Obituary


Please post remembrances of Ella here so they can be shared with others and her daughter, Cindy.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 12:32:16 PM »
I met Ella on SN in 1997 and, after I pestered her, she emailed and told me where she lived! In Ohio!  In Gahanna! That was where I was from! (but lived in Atlanta at the time).  Our kids graduated from the same high school!  When we finally got together, (after we had moved back to Gahanna), we met for lunch and couldn't stop sharing our past lives. We knew many of the same people!  Must have talked for two hours!😋  And after that, we introduced our husbands to each other and they became good friends. We enjoyed so many fun times together!  She will be missed greatly 😢.
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 01:54:43 PM »
It is with a very heavy heart and tears, for me to post my condolences to her daughter Cindy.  When I first began SeniorLearn back years ago, Ella was so welcoming and kind to me.  I teased and said, I was a young baby chick with so little experience, unlike all the other members, and she was like a mother hen taking me under her wings.  A couple of times she emailed me with encouragement when I had self doubt, she saw I was from Toledo, Ohio and insisted she, Annie and I must meet halfway to have lunch and meet in person.  I was so excited to set a date, and then she had a fall and broke her hip.  We never got a chance to meet in person, but it did not take meeting Ella in person to know the wonderful, kind, loving very intuitive lady she was.  I am going to miss her greatly in our future discussions.  Knowing Ella, and the love she had for books and discussing them, I know she would want all of us to go forward with these discussions.  We will honor her and remember her in our future discussions, and stop from time to time and think......hmmmm what would Ella think?

Let's take a little time to pause and give Ella much due respect and memory.  We can move forward when everyone feels they are ready. 

I leave you dear Ella with my favorite author Jane Austen's quote:

(Someone feel free to resize) Thank you~
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2016, 05:10:28 PM »
Oh ELLA! She was GREAT! We led so many good discussions together! She was the  one who always found great non-fiction books to read. I would say "There's nothing to discuss here" and she would say in effect "are you kidding? And she was always right!!

I knew her health wasn't good, but she always bounced back. I had some glimmer of what it cost her to keep on, but I came to believe that somehow, she would always be here. what a loss. All our lives are poorer for it, as they were made richer for knowing her!


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 06:07:54 PM »
What a lovely woman. Our heartfelt condolences to her family for someone who will  certainly be missed by many ❤️


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 08:18:50 PM »
Ella was part of the foundation of our community.  She will be greatly missed.
"When someone you love dies, you never quite get over it.  You just learn how to go on without them. But always keep them safely tucked in your heart."


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2016, 08:19:30 PM »
Ella was a bright and shining light in these forums.  My sympathy and prayers go out to and for her family.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2016, 10:15:01 PM »
Oh, what sad news. I will miss Ella's posts, especially her interest and knowledgeable comments in the non-fiction discussions.

My sincere condolences to the family.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 10:44:57 AM »
Ella, mentor and friend: when I became a Discussion Leader, she held my hand as we co-led my first discussion, helped me to find my wings.  We were friends, though we never met, fellow workers through many discussions, companions in this strange fellowship that is SeniorLearn.

She was an inspired leader, brave in the face of illness, and a real trouper in carrying on in spite of poor health.  We’ll all miss her.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 11:23:06 AM »
Ella was always a bright, cheerful, positive person who loved books, reading, and discussing those books. 

She will be greatly missed by all of us.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 08:51:50 PM »
Words seem inadequate to sum up what Ella means to us on Senior Learn - Ella brought us so many wonderful books and her discussions were always full of energy - To the end she was giving her all in yet another wonderful choice of book. We have been so enriched by Ella's contribution - her verve, intense curiosity and cheering leadership I'm finding it difficult to 'let go' knowing Ella's posts will no longer urge us to see more in a book, in a character, in life.

Ella was a can-do force filled with an automatic expectation that folks would want to share their thoughts by posting often - Ella's strength and strong personality was always supportive of everyone.

I met Ella in Chicago at one of our SeniorNet gatherings - The event was memorable if only because we all had reservations at the Blackstone and without advance notice the hotel closed. Everyone, after actually showing up at the desk had to scramble for rooms elsewhere - I most remember Ella as having a good strong laugh and she was respectful to everyone. Many from that wonderful gathering are no longer with us and now Ella... it feels like the song, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables.

For Ella -


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 11:07:31 PM »
Dear Ella --  words cannot express how much she has meant to all of us -- just by being her wonderful self and then by bringing out the best in all of us as we discussed the books she recommended we read.  I first met Ella in DC at the first National book festival, and then again, with Cindy, in New York.  Cindy, you won't believe the impact your mother had on my health, but she recommended and led the discussion of a book, Boys in the Boat, that pushed me into setting goals and going on to a new path. I think of her often.


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The Ella Effect
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2016, 12:18:06 PM »
Ella can't be gone, she was larger than life.  We here go  back with her a long way, back to 1997.

Who could ever forget her in NYC in 1998 at the Cloisters Museum with Thomas Hoving? The great man, (and he was), former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, did a double take when she accosted him, as he paused to collect this thoughts on the Bury St. Edmunds Cross,  helpfully offering to help him with his Latin translation which she had in hand. You could see he enjoyed that, somebody on his own brain level, he appreciated  her sharpness and wit.  She was afraid of nothing, irrepressible, determined, brilliant,  and an absolute HOOT with a razor sharp mind, a great deal of kindness and consideration for others,  and an electric effect on everybody around her. And she always asked the best and most penetrating questions of any author we ever met with.

Memories of Ella: I don't know where to even  start. They are all flooding back.

How  about Chicago?  We arrived from all over the country to the historic Blackstone Hotel where we had reservations to find it was closed that very day, wasn't  it?  The local TV news media, not surprisingly, honed in on Ella as we stood in the street because Ella was articulate and always good copy and she explained to the Chicago Evening News at 6 audience how we old folks were turned out on the street.  hahaha. THEN she sat with  Ann (and I did not know this until yesterday ) because Ann was determined to get our money back for the banquet, and the two of them staged a Sit In, and  camped in the offices of the new Blackstone Hotel  owners until they refunded our banquet money. I have to feel sorry for whoever those people were, they were against an immovable force and a hurricane. We got the money.  It was Ella,  because she had read about it ahead of the trip,  who insisted we see the Frank Lloyd Wright  House and Ella who insisted we visit the Chicago Public Library there,  and Ella who insisted we take an architectural tour of the city, as she had done her homework on the backgrounds of all these things. And it just made the whole trip so  meaningful.  You could always tell where Ella was in any crowd,  the laughter and joie de vivre  followed her.

England:   I will see Ella sitting and refusing to move in Hyde Park on the grass with those little white daisy like flowers for the rest of my life,  because she had dreamed of that moment, and knew the history of it,   and had  read about Hyde Park and the Speaker's Corner for so long. My protestations about what else might be on the ground met with laughter. I wish I could find that photo.  Ella at Hampton Court Palace, discovering as she ran all about that they were actually filming the movie  Vanity Fair, and finding the best place to see it from an upstairs window in the clock court, you can see that scene to this day in the movie. She was constantly in motion, all over the place, and when I sat down for 5 minutes to breathe, she,  spotting some poor quiet  man sitting on the other end of the stone bench in peace,  then plied  him with so many questions and inquisitive  comments that  the man I thought was an introverted loner turned out to be an author apparently of some repute, and he blossomed happily.  We speculated for years afterwards what famous personage he might be, but after she whirled off he, now thoroughly melted, wanted to know about us. hahahaa

On the train to London:  Spying a young Chinese student she engaged,  as was her wont, fully in conversation with him, getting his life story out and engaging his entire group, that's one memory I have of that trip, 3 Chinese students  and two in the seats behind them leaning over talking to Ella, and she,  talking animatedly away as if they were old friends. She just spread that kind of vibe. They seemed reluctant to part from us , actually,  or from her,   when our stop came. It was like that everywhere she went, it was her inquiring sharp mind and...I don't know what it was, and it's very hard to describe: it was the Ella Effect.

On the Tube she saw an ad for some product with the date of her birthday on it and laughed,  and in showing me somehow engaged half the car who wished her a happy birthday, it was exactly like something in a movie.

Paris: that's another one I'll never forget. She was a HOOT,  she, not speaking French, but undaunted, was all over the place,  and if you did not answer her question, whatever it was,  immediately, if you stopped to consult a map she was off like a rocket to the first person she met to find out what she wanted to know. Of course they would answer in French, no matter, she would drag in a million other people to translate. It was like traveling with a mini United Nations, or a whirlwind,  it really was, and we argued for years over the location of a subway station which had been  closed, and The  Man at Hampton Court,  because naturally that got turned around to my having struck up a conversation with HIM, when he and I were happily sitting, each in our own worlds until Hurricane Ella ran up and set both of us jangling. hahaha You can't think of her without laughing at her energy, her wit and her sense of fun. Sharp as a tack and saw through everything.

DC, the National Book Festival.  Ella did not want to go meet David McCullough as the event was drawing to a close,  so she stayed at our tent on the Mall and instead met...wasn't  it Laura Bush? I'm having trouble remembering because she brushed that off and the author, too, oh ginny,  for heaven's sake, it was nothing.  That was  Ella in a nutshell.

Electric, brilliant, funny, well versed in history, and current events,  curious, kind, energetic...there won't be another one like her. Ever.  For every memory I can think of 10 more flood out and there are many I don't know.   As a book discussion leader she was wonderful, asking probing questions and including everybody. Right up until the last days of her life, she was leading book club discussions whether she felt up to it or not, because she wanted to help the cause here.

And how she loved Cindy.  She was so proud of Cindy, and talked of her constantly. We grew to know  Cindy pretty well too, from her mom, and we were pretty proud of Cindy, too, in NYC, because she was the only one the taxis would stop for, that just cemented her legend with us! Taxi drivers can always tell.

There won't ever be another Ella. We are greatly enriched who were able to know her through this medium of the internet.  My sincere condolences to  Cindy and her family.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2016, 12:13:30 AM »
Ella was a positive and courageous person. As I read Ginny's post above, I can just see Ella's energy. It seems she never gave up on anything. She even
was thinking of good books to read and discuss here on SeniorLearn up to a few weeks ago. I'm going to miss her very much. I personally have been inspired by Ella and the SeniorLearn community has been enriched by her for many years. She brought so many interesting books to our attention and brought everyone into the conversations about them. I can't imagine us without her. We're fortunate to have many good discussions and memories of her.

We loved your mom, Cindy, and hope that you find comfort in knowing how much she meant to us.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2016, 12:39:39 AM »
Hello Cindy,

It sounds like your mother was a great person and made a lot of wonderful contributions, and it sounds from the posts she enjoyed life to the fullest. I did not personally know your mother, but I have a mother, and can only imagine how difficult this time must be. My condolences to you and your family.


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2016, 11:05:06 AM »
There was a time in the past when I was the discussion leader for Story of Civilization but then left to spend full time being a clinical psychologist.  Somehow or other all that knowledge went out of my brain and I found it difficult to get back to you folks.  With the knowledge (and great patience!) of Jane of Iowa and others I find myself back here.  I hope I don't do something to wipe myself out.  But now that I'm here I want to share my sadness at the passing of Ella Gibbons.  I remember her well and her sense of humor.  As some of you recall we used to travel around the nation and meet each other personally.  I saw her numerous times in various cities.  She was a wonderful person and I am positive is now in a wonderful place.  Robby.

Judy Laird

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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2016, 03:32:51 PM »
Hi Robbie good to have you back


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Re: In Memory of Ella Gibbons
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2016, 12:17:50 AM »
How very saddening to hear about Ella's passing. I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Cindy. How proud you must be of her. She played such a huge role over the years in our book discussions - contributed so much to their success.

Such wonderful tributes to our dear, departed Ella. So richly deserved. What a rare privilege it has been to participate in the discussions over the years. Ella would want us to continue. How about a book on Churchill, Robby? I've got a whole shelf on him. But not the one you mentioned. Is it a recent one?

Farewell, dear Ella. Take your rest. And many, many thanks for the many good reads. Books  I borrowed for a discussion I am now buying with the intention of rereading them. Just a few weeks ago I remembered you when I came across a copy of Confederates in the Attic. What fun it was reading and discussing that one. So were they all.