Bobbie Ann (Amaral) Gibson, a pillar of strength and a courageous soul, died in the early morning of June 13 2011, 37 years to the day after her mother, Nellie Amaral, died.
She was not only the matriarch of her family, but she was also known for her passion and love for the town and community of Oak Bluffs.
As a third generation Vineyarder, she was so proud of her Portuguese heritage and loved to do all the “Vineyard” things — like clamming, quahogging, gardening, “beaching it,” and following the Vineyard sports teams. She was well-known for being a “vocal” fixture at many, many sporting events over the years.
She was a dedicated employee of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for more than 35 years, and she was very proud to be the president of the Portuguese-American Club for more than two decades.
Serving on several Oak Bluffs Town Committees, she was most passionate about her time served as a member of the Oak Bluffs Harbor Committee, and she always enjoyed a daily summer drive by the harbor to “check things out.” Her friend Beverly and she loved to drive around Oak Bluffs to check the harbor and then sit on Circuit Avenue and people-watch for hours on those summer nights.
Many friends have been overwhelmed by her drive and her ability to overcome the obstacles she was forced to face after the accident that left her paralyzed in 1971. Nothing could stop her from being an incredible mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend to so many. Despite her recent declining health, she still enjoyed weekly lunches with her loving friend Joanie and faithful sister Catherine.
Bobbie Ann is survived by her son Michael and his wife, Kathy, daughter Pamela, daughter Paula and her husband, Sean; her grandchildren, Jim and John Michael Gibson, Adam, his wife, Stephanie, Shaina Hendrix, Daniella and Michael James Gibson, and Shannon O’Connor; great-grandchildren Isabella and Chloe Hendrix and Kylie Marie Gibson; her brother Nelson Amaral and beloved sister Catherine Deese and so many very special nieces and nephews that she treated like her own children. Her nephews Peter and David and nieces Tricia and Jackie even had a special name for her. They called her “Tona Bob.”
She was pre-deceased by her husband, James H., sons Jimmy and John, sisters Phyllis Alwardt and Mary Jane Bergeron, mother and father Nellie and Bill Amaral, brother Bill Amaral, grand-daughter Jamie-Lyn Hendrix, and nephew Eric MacLean.
Her three children worshiped her and will continue to teach their children the morals and values of family and community that were so important to her. They will teach them to make baked beans, kale soup, fried dough and sweet bread, and to carry on all of the Amaral family traditions.
She left her wheelchair behind and is walking through heaven with all her loved ones and family that were there to greet her.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 16, from 5 to 8 pm in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. A funeral home service will be on Friday, June 17, at 11 am, followed by burial in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Pacific Ave., Oak Bluffs.
The family will gather at the Portuguese-American Club, Vineyard Avenue, Oak Bluffs after the service; please bring a dish to share.
Donations in Mrs. Gibson’s memory may be made to the Portuguese-American Benevolent Fund, P.O. 2203, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.