Edward Gibson, Geography
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, for Edward Gibson, a charter member of SFU in 1965 where he served as an associate professor of geography and became director of the SFU and Teck art galleries. He died Oct. 26.
The celebration of life will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Carina Lounge, 1233 West Cordova Street, Vancouver. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Edward's memory can be made to SFU in support of the Edward and Marianne Gibson Endowment Fund.
Obituary in The Vancouver Sun: http://at.sfu.ca/rgAnCK
Photo information (http://www.cag-acg.ca/files/dept/departments/sfu.htm):
Standing (L-R): Arthur Roberts, Bill Bailey, Paul Koroscil, Brian Sagar, John Brohman, Ed Gibson
Seated in Middle row (L-R): Ted Hickin, Colin Crampton, Roger Hayter, Ian Hutchison, John Pierce
Seated in front (L-R): Michael Hayes, Tom Poiker, Len Evenden
Remembering a Cherished Geographer, Teacher, and Mentor: Dr. Edward Gibson 1934 - 2012
By: Tina A.
Many of us in the planning and design profession started as geographers and were fortunate to have had Dr. Edward Gibson as one of our cherished friends and professors. Ed passed away on October 26, 2012. Three SFU presidents, past and current, in addition to many colleagues, students, family and friends attended a celebration of Ed’s life in early December 2012.
Ann McAfee and Ed studied geography together under Water Hardwick at UBC. Later they were colleagues during the inaugural years at SFU. Ann’s most lasting impression of Ed was his voracious appetite for reading the latest philosophical treatise on geography.
“Being the first to consume new thoughts meant Ed’s vocabulary was always leading edge. I remember Ed patiently explaining I could not argue from a methodological position in support of a philosophical position. I didn’t (and still don’t) have the foggiest idea what he was talking about but I still have the book with his marginal notation. It turned out I wasn’t the only person left in the dust. So one day over coffee several of us invented some new words to use in our next conversation with Ed. For a few minutes we enjoyed Ed’s puzzled look. Our satisfaction was short lived. For unlike Ed’s thoughtful musings ours were vaporous.”
“Ed continued with a distinguished academic career. I became a planner. Often town and gown don’t mix. This was not the case with Ed. As Vancouver’s Co-Director of Planning I appreciated Ed’s advice on the preservation of Vancouver’s heritage.”
Ed taught at Simon Fraser University from 1965, the year the University was founded, to 1997, touching the lives of many students. In 1986-87 Ed arranged a geography student exchange between SFU and Brock University. Peter Vietgen was one of those students from Ontario. Now, a professor himself at Brock, Peter recalls when Ed took the group to his home in Sidney.
“We were all sitting in the living room...it was so warm and comfortable inside his place. Building a sense of community was important to Ed and I saw from the smile on his face that he felt good about bringing us all together to share stories, laugh and enrich each other's lives through friendship. I remember him being an educator who approached learning holistically and I appreciated his sensitivity and awareness of the importance of the arts in all of our lives. He was a true "Renaissance Man" in every way!”
On another fieldtrip, by train through the Coast mountains to Lillooet, a Brock student looking out the window exclaimed, “Everything I ever learned about physical geography is here!” Ed somehow helped make Canada smaller and more intimate.
In Ontario, Ed, a native of Tillsonburg, showed BC students the gritty landscapes of the Hamilton area, the humanistic brick streetscapes in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the airiness of Michael Snow’s geese sculpture (“Flightstop”) in Toronto’s Eaton Centre.
I was fortunate to be one of the BC students on this exchange. A few years later in my first planning job in Toronto, I already had a love of Ontario and an instant support network in those Brock geographers. As a mentor, Ed taught me many things. He encouraged me to make my first conference presentation while still a student. I didn’t think I could do it but his belief in me helped me to believe in myself. He taught me that it was okay to add a personal view to writing, even academic essays. Maybe he could envision the day when storytelling would become an acceptable part of the planning process.
As a teacher and geographer, Ed provided a firm grounding in architectural history and a deeper awareness of cultural and regional landscapes. This would serve many of us well in our varied career paths. He taught us to be good presenters by giving us many opportunities to practise. He exemplified the spirit of mentorship, something which is so vital to our planning profession. Ed did this by supporting and encouraging his students to learn, excel and to be together. Thank you, Ed.