Obituary Donated by Bob and Gina Smith

From The Barbourville Mountain Advocate 16 Feb 2006

Eva Joan Gibson, 54, Joni to those who knew and loved her best, recently succumbed to her long battle with heart disease and lung cancer. Joni was called to Heaven to be with her Lord on Saturday Feb. 11, 2006 at 9:10 pm. She was born in the city of McKee, Ky., in Jackson Co, where she attended the public schools and was a member of the McKee High School Cheerleading Squad.

Joni is survived by her husband of 25 years, John Fee Gibson of Hamilton; a daughter Aneesa K. Barnes of Sevenmile, one grandson; Austin Barnes of Sevenmile, one son, Steven Paul Hurst of Hamilton, two sisters; Mrs. Jean (Hiram) McQueen of McKee and Mrs. Judy (Darrell) Turner of Woodsdale, Ohio; one brother, Hershall Wayne Sparks of Richmond, Ky., and many Uncles, Aunts, Nieces, Nephews and Froends.

Joni was preceded in death by her parents, Hubert and Jalie Lainheart Sparks. Joni's father was a coal miner by trade and was disabled due to an accident "roof fall" which occured deep in one of the mines where he was employed at about the time of Joni's birth, which was Sept. 15, 1951. Joni was the typical "Coal Miners Daughter" and was very proud of her heritage.

She also had seven deceased siblings, Rosemary Sparks, Edna Sparks, Melva Sparks, Cecil Sparks, Hansel Sparks, Eudell Tillery, and Joseph L. Sparks.

The Gibsons retired in 1991 to Jarvis, Ky, a small community eight miles north of the city of Barbourville, along the Wildernes Road where Mr. Gibson had been born and raised. Their main object there, nestled among the foothills of the serene and peaceful Appalachian Mountains, was to be good neighbors and to serve God and their fellow man to the best of their ability. Mr and Mrs. Gibson became active members of the New Bethel Baptist Church, located at Cranes Nest, Ky., where Joni dedicated much of her free time and worked diligently in the Vacation Bible Schhol programs. In July 2004, the Gibsons found it necessary to return to the Tri-State area where medical treatment and facilities for Joni's illness were more readilly available. Since her return to Hamilton, Joni had attended the Fellowship Christain Center (Brother Paul Marcum, pastor) when her health permitted.

Joni may be remembered by many of her colleagues as a cashier and produce clerk for the March Food Chain, but those of us who knew and loved her best, this little angel will long be remembered as the loving wife, mother, meticulous homemaker, and child of God we all knew her to be. Joni's personal philosophy, which coincided with that of Isaiah 26:3 was; "Thou wilt give him perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee" and Joni'sast breath with "that peace which surpasseth all understanding"

Eva Joan Gibson was not one to try to give a lot of advice, but if she were to speak to us now, I'm sure she would quote to us an excerpt from one of her favorite poems, which follows; "so live, that when thy summons comes to join the inumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm, where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death -- thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, scoured to his dungeon -- but sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approached thy grave, like one who wraps the draper of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasent dreams."

Funeral services for Mrs. Gibson were held at the Brown-Dawson Fune 59, of Barbourville, passed away Thursday aftral Home, 330 Pershing Ave., on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2006 at 2 pm. with the Rev. Paul Marcum of Hamilton and the Rev. Dennis Chestnut of Barbourville , Ky officiating. Visitation was held from 12 noon to 2 pm Wednesday Feb 15, 2006 at the funeral home. Burial was in the Hickory Flat Cemetery near Ovderpeck, Ohio. Pallbearers were Mrs. Gibsons brother, Hershall Sparks and her nephews, Scott Turner, George Tillery, Doug Tillery, Hansel Dale Tillery, and a devoted friend of the family, Mr. Bobby Rice. The honorary pallbearers were her son, Stephen Paul Hurst and her grandson, Austin Barnes.


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