James Holland (Gibby) Gibson

James Holland (Gibby) Gibson
James Holland (Gibby) Gibson

James Holland “Gibby” Gibson, 58, of Wisconsin Dells lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. He passed away peacefully, holding hands with his mother and best friend Chuck, and surrounded by family and loved ones.

A celebration of Gibby’s life will take place on Saturday, August 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Tommy Bartlett Show amphitheater with Pastor Dave Hutchens officiating. A luncheon will be served on the show site grounds immediately following the celebration.

Gibby was born on December 12, 1955 in Montfort, Wisconsin, the son of George Holland Gibson and Marilyn M. (Wilkinson) Gibson. A graduate of Iowa Grant High School, Gibby went on to play college basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where he earned his degree in construction management and safety.

Loving husband, father, son and brother, he will be missed. Gibby was known throughout the Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton area for his community involvement and his love of all sports, but especially basketball. He served his community through his passion for basketball for the past 27 years as the Wisconsin Dells High School freshman boys basketball coach, assistant varsity coach, junior varsity boys coach and most recently as the junior high coach’s coach. Gibby additionally coached his son’s AAU teams, area club basketball, youth baseball and even lending assistance to the hockey teams, softball teams, golf, track and football teams as needed.

Gibby came to the Wisconsin Dells area in May of 1980. He secured a summer job at the Tommy Bartlett Show and he never left. Serving in a variety of positions with TBI over the years, he was the General Manger of the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. Gibby was the driving force behind the transformation of “Robot World” into the Exploratory, where many of the hands-on exhibits and activities enjoyed by visitors were designed and created by him. An avid woodworker and craftsman, Gibby delighted many with his handcrafted pens, cutting boards and furniture. His shop is testament to his motto – “you can never have enough tools!”

In addition to finding his job for life at Tommy Bartlett’s, he also met and found his life’s partner at the show. Gibby and Melanie (Platt) were married on May 11, 1985 and made the Wisconsin Dells / Lake Delton area their home. As Gibby recently said, “the two best days of my life” were when his sons were born; Nick in July of 1987 and Nate in October of 1991. Both boys have been a source of great pride for their father.

Gibby is survived by his wife of 29 years, Melanie of Lake Delton; sons, Nicholas of Janesville and Nathan of Milwaukee; his mother, Marilyn Gibson of Montfort; brothers, Bob (Marian), Bruce (Laura), Gary (Lori) and George (Angela);sister, Barbara Gibson Dann (Mitch) and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, George H. Gibson, father and mother-in-law, Duane and Donna Platt; brother-in-law, Peter Platt.

For those who wish to share a memorial, contributions may be made to the “Gibby” JAG Youth Fund, C/0 Bank of Wisconsin Dells, P.O Box 490, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965. Did we mention he loved basketball? All contributions will be used to help provide young players access to sports camps, tournaments and activities to teach skills, team play and the fundamentals of the game.