Naked City

Ron Gibson, R.I.P.

Journalists around Austin and the nation mourned the passing Sept. 23 of Ron Gibson, longtime editorial adviser to the student journalists at The Daily Texan, of complications from diabetes and kidney failure. He was 68. From 1988 to 2000, five nights a week, Gibson read every word of the UT student paper, checking for libel and lending the voice of experience to those trying to learn their craft -- but without interfering with it, or trying to suppress their voices on behalf of the administration. For years before that, Gibson, a University of Nebraska graduate, was a UT journalism professor; he began his career as a reporter for the Lincoln Journal-Star in Nebraska.

Many former colleagues and Daily Texan staffers turned out for his mass Friday at St. Austin's Catholic Church near campus. In addition to singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" -- Gibson was a rabid St. Louis Cardinals fan -- friends remembered him as the nicest guy in the world.

"He was always there with a smile and a laugh," recalled Jim Greer, a 1989 graduate and now senior reporter for The Houston Business Journal. "He always had time to talk. He was always more than happy to give a reference or help you brainstorm your career."

Gibson was also famous for his love of puns. His son Michael, a commercial design professor at the University of North Texas, recalled a moment that perfectly sums up Gibson's personality: Last year, Gibson's ailments led to the amputation of his legs. Shortly before being wheeled into the operating room, he looked at Michael and said, "I've been trying to think of something to say to you, but I'm stumped." "The nurse was horrified," Michael Gibson laughed.

Equally telling was another story: On a Sunday after the operation, Michael Gibson said, he offered to stay by his father's bedside. "He told me, 'No. Tomorrow's Monday. On Monday you teach.'"

In addition to Michael, Gibson is survived by his wife Mary Lou and children Chris, Nick, and Anne.

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