Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Buddy Gibson


January 2, 2020

Buddy Gibson

Buddy Gibson

Buddy Lee Gibson was born on October 21, 1933, in Dillsboro, N.C., to Floyd and Willie May Gibson. He was the youngest of three boys, (Doyle, Jaycee and Buddy). Buddy attended grade school in Waynesville, was introduced to the game of golf and became one of the youngest caddies on the golf course. Eventually, he followed his father and brothers out west in 1951, landing in St. Maries, Idaho, where he finished and graduated high school from St. Maries High in 1953. His southern drawl, boyish good looks and fun loving nature made him immediately popular.

He played football, basketball and baseball at St. Maries and was a gifted athlete so it wasn't a surprise when he decided to play football at the University of Idaho. He was a 165-pound linebacker for the Vandal's for a year and realized that golf was probably a better fit for his talent and physique, so he joined the Vandal's golf team. In the middle of his junior year at Moscow, Buddy made another early career decision; he joined the Navy. "Seeing the world," the Navy recruiting pitch landed him in Phoenix, Ariz., where he got his first chance to coach and be involved in the sports he loved again. He coached the Navy basketball team, played golf and represented the Navy in military golf tournaments where his handicap was consistently near scratch.

Buddy went home on leave to marry his high school sweetheart, Rose West, on December 23, 1956. The newlyweds lived off base in Phoenix until the fall of 1958, when they moved to Cheney so he could enroll at Eastern Washington University, where he would finish his bachelor's degree. From there, he and Rose moved to Oakesdale in 1960 to begin his 34-year career as a teacher, coach and administrator.

Buddy began his career teaching the sixth grade and coaching all junior high sports, in addition to running the summer baseball program and working at the Oakesdale Grain Growers. He also served as an assistant for high school teams. In those days, coaches could serve at both levels because junior high games were played in the afternoon. Eventually he was asked to coach the high school boys' varsity teams and helped turn Oakesdale into a state perennial power house and put Oakesdale on the map. In 1977, Buddy began coaching the girls program at Oakesdale, taking that program into high gear and being instrumental in developing championship girls teams for Oakesdale.

In 1972, he finished his master's degree at Whitworth and became the high school principal and athletic director and the school board suggested he give up at least one sport in order to cover administrative assignments. The year 1972 also added Buddy's appointment to the WIAA representative assembly and finally in 1979 to the executive board for the WIAA, a position he held until 1994. He was inducted into the WIAA Hall of Fame in 1995 for his many years of service and contributions to his and other athletic programs in our state.

During his tenure at Oakesdale, Buddy and Rose raised four children, Cosette, Bill, Angie and Steve.

Even after officially retiring, Buddy continued to coach and help develop young people. He worked with all of his grandchildren teaching them to golf on the miniature driving range that he built next to the Oakesdale house. For two years in the mid-1990s he helped his daughter, Angie, coach the Rogers High School Girls Basketball team.

Buddy's love of golf stayed with him for a lifetime and during his retirement he became a member and the club vice president at the Fairways Golf Course, near Cheney. He and Rose spent many years traveling to their favorite spot in Canada, Fairmont Hot Springs, to play golf on some of the toughest and most beautiful golf courses in Canada.

Fishing was another "love" that Buddy shared with his community and family. Mel Louk and Buddy spent many hours steelhead fishing on the Snake River, the Pfaff brothers and their sons shared numerous fishing and camping trips on Marble Creek, as did Allen Brown, Ronny Sharp, Rodney Hubner and many other neighbors and friends in Oakesdale.

Buddy also came to appreciate and enjoy gardening and working in his yard during his retirement years.

Those preceding Buddy in death were his wife of 43 years, Rose Gibson and his brother, Doyle Gibson. Surviving relatives include: his brother, Jaycee Gibson; children, Cosette Gibson Pfaff, Bill Gibson, Angie Gibson and Steve Gibson; grandchildren, Ryan Haner, Kylee Gibson, Max Gibson and Sam Gibson.

Buddy lived a life devoted to developing, coaching and inspiring young people and it was a good run! He passed away December 23, 2019, in Spokane. He will be laid to rest privately in the Oakesdale Cemetery. A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held in the Oakesdale School Gymnasium on Saturday, January 4, at 11:00 a.m., followed by a reception at the Oakesdale Fire Station. For those who wish, a viewing will be Thursday and Friday at Bruning Funeral Home in Colfax from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The family suggests donations be made to the Hospice House of Spokane in Buddy's name. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com.


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