Lt. Col. John Desmond Gibson, KStJ, CD, AdeC
The story of Lt. Col. Gibson is one encapsulated by military history; he proudly was the fourth generation in his family joining the forces in 1967 through the Royal Military College, following the steps of his father Major Desmond H. Gibson, grandfather Major Desmond H. Gibson, and great grandfather Major-General Sir John Gibson (also Lieutenant Governor of Ontario 1908 – 1914) (WWW.RMCCLUB.CA, 2012).
At the RMC he earned a B.A. in arts, graduating in 1971, earning the distinguished Departmental Medal for English as editor of The Marker plus the Edith Boulton Nordheimer Memorial Prize for best essay on a Commonwealth topic. But one of his major decisions is when he decided to join the RCA as his branch of service, catapulting him to be the CO of our regiment in a short future. Being a strong believer in the RMC Post Graduate and CE program Lt. Col. Gibson returned to earn a Master of Arts in war studies in 1998. (WWW.RMCCLUB.CA, 2012).
On the path to experience and expand his knowledge, Lt. Col Gibson attended the law school at UofT, later on joining the firm of Ricketts, Harris & Keachie, becoming a partner in a short period of time. During this period he joined the 7th Toronto Regiment, RCA. Being a person with such appetite for service an learning, Lt. Col. Gibson served in almost all regimental appointments until his retirement as CO in 1988, being one of his major achievements. (WWW.RMCCLUB.CA, 2012). Other accomplishments equally important are:
- Associate Deputy Director of Artillery in Ottawa;
- First ever foreign member of the Directing Staff (US Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, Virginia 1975 – 2002);
- Aide de Camp to several Lieutenant Governor of Ontario;
- President of the Toronto Branch of the RMC Club (1984 – 1985), and national President (1997 – 1998);
- National President of the RCAA (1992 – 1993);
- President of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (1995 – 1997);
- Recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Community Volunteer Award;
- Recipient of the Colonel Commandant’s medal for Outstanding service to the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery; and
- In 2011, Lt. Col. Gibson was awarded a Doctorate of Military Science honoris causa from RMC.
Lt. Col. Gibson also dedicated his life to volunteerism giving back to the community in many different ways:
- Honorary solicitor for the Corps of Commissionaires;
- Member and Chairman of St John Ambulance;
- Vice President (Legal Counsel) for Ontario Council;
- Volunteer Legal Services (Pro Bono);
- Honorary Solicitor for the Ontario Rifle Association, Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, and
- The Guild of the Royal Canadian Dragoons.
He was well known for his gregarious sense of humour, good natured pranks, and his ability to brush off annoying people with his famous phrase “I’ve enjoyed your views immensely”. Lt. Col. Gibson was the life of the party and a stalwart of the old RCMI before its change. He dearly enjoyed passing time in his cottage in Temagami, which has been in the family for 5 generations, but most of all, he loved his regiment and the arms.
He passed away peacefully on May 29, 2012 after a loss illness, surrounded by those who loved him (Legacy.com, 2012) and all the ones he positively influenced and touched. For all his achievements, support and pride carrying the RCA colours, we can only say UBIQUE Lt. Col. Gibson.
View the change of command program here.