Funeral services for Lt. Col. Billy Roel Gibson, 86, of Ada will be 1:00 p.m. Monday, November 25th , at the Ada First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at the Rosedale Cemetery. He will be buried with full military honors. It will be a great uplifting service of a life well lived. The family will receive friends from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Criswell Funeral Home.
Lt. Col. Billy Roel Gibson USAF (Ret.), 86, of Ada passed into the presence of his Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, November 9, 2019, at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, Oklahoma. His faith became sight, in the presence of his family, after struggling with Parkinson’s plus and other health complications.
He was born in Davis, Oklahoma on December 22, 1932 to Woodrow and Augusta “Biddy” Gibson and has one younger brother, Kenneth “Hoot” Gibson. As a teenager, he moved to the Steedman area near Allen, Oklahoma. In his formative years, he raised cattle, horses, fi shed and explored the woods. He graduated from Allen High School and was the first ever member to be in both FFA and 4-H.
He graduated from Murray State College with an Associate’s degree in Animal Husbandry and then attended Oklahoma State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry. Later he went to the Air Force War College in Montgomery, Alabama and graduated with the equivalent of a Masters in Political Science. He was involved in the ROTC program, which led to a 21-year career in the Air Force. On May 28, 1954, Bill married Janet Gibson. They were happily married for 62 years. Janet passed away July 7, 2017.
Bill led a riveting life that most can’t even fathom. He traveled the globe and visited nearly every country. He volunteered to serve in Vietnam where he piloted C-130 cargo planes and delivered supplies, troops, and fl ew special missions. He was stationed in Taiwan. While in Vietnam, he landed in 122 different locations. Some of those places include Cameron Bay, HoChiMinh City, Qui Nhon, DaNang, Hue, Bien Hoa, Bankok, Thailand and Korat. He even delivered an elephant to a local village so they would move away from active fire and allow safe passage of U.S. troops. Later, he served as an Intelligence Research Specialist for The Pentagon in Washington, DC. There, he worked to design the cockpit of the first Air Force One planes from the pilot’s perspective. He was the first pilot to fl y all three planes.
After his service, he worked as a cattle rancher, harvested pecans and baled hay. He was an active member of Oklahoma Farm Bureau and served on the board in Pontotoc County, and on the State Board. He made many trips to Washington, DC meeting with Senators and Representatives to promote agricultural issues and legislation. He believed in investing in people and standing up for the political and practical issues that affected farmers and ranchers.
Throughout his life he was an active member of Southern Baptist churches wherever they lived. He was even instrumental in helping to plant a few. You could fi nd him serving as a deacon, Sunday School Director, Sunday school teacher or youth minister. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and achieved the 32nd Degree.
He was preceded in death by his wife Janet Gibson, mother Augusta “Biddy” Gibson and father Woodrow Gibson.
He is survived by his brother, Kenneth “Hoot” Gibson of Allen; two children, daughter, Jan Long and her husband Lonnie of Ada, and son, Gary Gibson of the Oklahoma City area; four grandchildren, Aaron Long and his wife Jannason of Pulaski, Tennessee, Aleena Overman and her husband Walter of Kernersville, North Carolina, Janessa Lawrence and her husband Josh of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Austin Long of Ada; and nine great-grandchildren, Andrew, Wyatt, Audrey and Arabella Long, Hayley, Hadassah, Calvin and Malcolm Overman, and Kylee Lawrence.
Pallbearers will be Austin Long, Andrew Long, Wyatt Long, Dylan Hayes, Mike Casady, C. T. Hill, Tyler Hill, and Tracy Marion. Honorary bearers are Pontotoc County Farm Bureau Board, offi ce staff, the State Board of Farm Bureau, and the Jerry Wells Internet Bible class at First Baptist Church.
The family wants you to know that you may feel free to send donations to the Ada First Baptist Church Building Fund, c/o Ada First Baptist Church, 521 S. Broadway, Ada, OK 74820 instead of fl owers.