On May 14, 1987 at 7:22 pm in the Sevier County Hospital in Sevierville, Tenn., God allowed one of the most generous hearts ever to have lived to be born to Ricky and Leslie Gibson. Named Brandy Marie Gibson, this little angel began her short time on this earth charming all those that were ever fortunate enough to cross her path. In the late spring/early summer of 1988 she "washed ashore" on the Island of Martha's Vineyard where, except for a brief year in Tennessee, she lived out her days. Part of the "dynamic duo" of Brandy and Alekz (her first cousin), she quickly became one of the "three musketeers" when her little sister Denim Lace Bettencourt of Oak Bluffs was born. Practically inseparable until their teen years, they were often seen at all the Island "hot spots" like Portside, the Flying Horses, State Beach, children's church at AHOP, Dairy Queen and all the various parks with their grandmother, Mimi. With the addition of cousin Jasmine Reed of Vineyard Haven the group began their annual "flatlanders go to VT" to Uncle Mike's farm. An August event that encompassed bonfires, cookouts, camping, funny and incriminating pictures of each other, the county fair and swimming in the pond.
Living with her Mimi by now, Brandy showed great enthusiasm for sports, theatrical entertainment, and figure skating. No challenge too grand, no task too daunting, she faced every obstacle with her head held high and her dazzling smile. She captured the hearts and the attention of those around her including her Tisbury School Principal, Maureen Deloach, who awarded her the coveted Principal's Award when she graduated from eighth grade in 2001. After a rather busy time participating in such sports as field hockey, ice hockey, track, softball, lacrosse and cheerleading she graduated from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Rebecca Amos Institute in 2005.
As her Mimi had been diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer, she postponed college for a year. In spite of the devastating loss of her Mimi in August of 2006, she bravely attempted Bridgewater State College for that same fall semester. Assured that no one would be disappointed in her, she withdrew without prejudice before the semester's end, requiring more time to grieve. Having a difficult time after such a loss, she still managed to give of herself, especially to children. She nannied, babysat, volunteered, and eventually substitute taught, the job that convinced her to return to school to pursue her work with children.
On, Jan. 29 at 11:30 pm, this sparkling whirlwind of laughter and light came to an end in a fatal car crash in Oak Bluffs.
Remembered by her family and many friends for antics too numerous to recount here, her death has left all our lives a little dimmer, a little quieter and a whole lot sadder. Grateful to God for allowing such generosity to walk in our midst for an all too brief time, we are all richer for having known her and hopefully a bit nicer one to another by her example. She is greatly missed.
She is survived by her beloved grandmother, Gladys "Mamaw" Burney of Kodak, Tenn.; her parents, Ricky Gibson of Tennessee, and Leslie DeOliveira of New York; her stepfathers, Michael "Dad" Bettencourt of Oak Bluffs, and Gilson DeOliveira of Martha's Vineyard; her little sister Denim Lace Bettencourt of Oak Bluffs; her little brother, Grant Gibson of Tennessee; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; many teachers and mentors; and hundreds of best, best, best Friends.
Donations in her memory may be made to the newly established Brandy Marie Gibson Memorial Fund at the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank.
A memorial service was held on Feb. 3 in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs officiated by Pastor Marcia Buckley. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book, video tribute and information.