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Art teacher was stalwart of Holy Trinity church and Garden Club

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Sally Gibbons
Sally and Leonard Gibbons (Photograph supplied)
An Easter display at Holy Trinity Church in memory of Sally Gibbons, a longstanding member who created its floral displays for many years (Photograph supplied)

Sally Gibbons 1940-2021

An artist and teacher whose love of flowers beautified Holy Trinity Church in Hamilton Parish has died at 80.

Sally Gibbons, widow of the former government minister Leonard Gibbons, was also head of the secondary department at the Bermuda High School before retiring in 1988.

A president of the Garden Club of Bermuda from 2003 to 2005, and a former president of the Junior Service League, Ms Gibbons channelled her craft skills and love of gardening for prize-winning flower arrangements. She also judged in competitions.

An elaborate Easter display at the Holy Trinity Church was made in her memory.

Born in Rhode Island, Ms Gibbons married and moved to Bermuda in 1963.

The couple had two children, Susan Gray, and the late Geoffrey Gibbons, who died in 2008.

Ms Gray said her mother was an art teacher at BHS and taught in the school’s senior year programme that was combined with Saltus students.

“Besides gardening and flower arranging, my Mom enjoyed entertaining and many good times were had at their home.

“Mom also loved to bake – her goodies were always welcomed at bake sales, and other gatherings.”

Ms Gray said her parents, together for 57 years, were "two peas in a pod".

Mr Gibbons died last November at 82.

Ms Gray said: “Their love and support of one another never wavered, whether Mom was supporting Dad by working at his auctions and during his political career or Dad was supporting Mom by helping at Garden Club events or gathering flowers for Mom's arrangements at Holy Trinity Church.”

She added: “Family was a huge part of their lives and they especially loved family dinners with their five grandchildren.”

Andrea McKey, a friend from the church as well as the garden club, said she had been “amazed” to win awards for her flower arrangements after Ms Gibbons taught her.

“She was a natural teacher who could see when people had talent,” Ms McKey said. “She guided so many people – I still can’t believe I’m so deep into it; I never thought I would be.”

Ms Gibbons, whose floral displays were a church centrepiece, taught Ms McKey how to create arrangements for her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral. She led workshops at the church.

Ms McKey entered the Agricultural Exhibition three years ago as a novice designer and took first place in her category. Her entry in March for the Garden Club of Toronto’s virtual show also came first.

She said other church members assumed Ms Gibbons was priming her to take over its floral arrangements in the future.

“I didn’t think the future would be this close,” she added.

A team of church members created an Easter display this month as a tribute to her.

Cindy Young, a fellow club member who travelled with Ms Gibbons to attend and judge at shows overseas, said she stayed “very active” in the club almost until her passing.

Ms Gibbons was often hard at work in her basement on her arrangements, and would “drop everything” to help others come up with designs.

“She was very creative and loved crafts – she also loved to entertain,” Ms Young said. “She was very open and welcoming. Susan takes after her.”

Ms Gibbons is survived by her sister Geneva Norton in Seattle, as well as her brother-in-law, Robert Gibbons.

Sally Pearce Gibbons, a former teacher at the Bermuda High School and president of the Garden Club of Bermuda, was born on August 20, 1940. She died on February 14, 2021. Ms Gibbons was 80.

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Published April 17, 2021 at 8:12 am (Updated April 17, 2021 at 8:12 am)

Art teacher was stalwart of Holy Trinity church and Garden Club

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