Cover photo for Lawrence Gibb's Obituary
1935 Lawrence 2023

Lawrence Gibb

June 25, 1935 — June 18, 2023

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Dale Gibb
1935–2023

 

The world became a little brighter when Lawrence Dale Gibb came into it on June 25, 1935 and a little bit dimmer when he left it on June 18, 2023. Dying on Father’s Day was quite appropriate for a man who had 11 children, 39 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren, and who was a father figure to many worried mothers and fathers who came to him for medical attention for their sick children. Lawrence was the second child of Dale S. Gibb and Wanda M. Coleman Gibb and grew up with five siblings – Ron, Doug, Grant, Elden, and Sharon – in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their love and connection lasted all his life. After Wanda’s death, Lois became his step-mother and blessed him with two more siblings, Tracy and JJ. 

 

Lawrence graduated from East High School in 1953. Soon thereafter, he met Saundra Spiker, whose first thought was that she loved his red hair. He beat out her many other suitors and politely ignored the “no” from her parents when he asked for her hand in marriage. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 23, 1958, and it was the best decision he (and she) ever made. He attended the University of Utah Medical School and graduated in 1961. With Saundra well into her goal of having 12 children (and Lawrence saying, “We’ll take one at a time and see”), they took their young family of four and headed to Germany where he served as a Medical Officer with the U.S. Army from 1962-64. Loving children came naturally, as Lawrence had an easy, fun way about him, which led him to a residency in pediatrics from 1964-66. Choosing to be a pediatrician in Bountiful, Utah from 1966 to 1995 was fulfilling and meaningful. Having Betty as his receptionist/nurse only enhanced his practice. His children thought he was famous because everywhere they went as a family someone knew him and had a story to tell about how he helped their child. Being “on call” for his patients day and night caused him to miss sleep and events, but he never complained. When away from his office and always wanting to stay humble, he asked people to drop the Dr. title. He bought a beat-up old truck for his personal vehicle when he felt he was becoming too materialistic.

 

When he was a father of nine children in 1973 (twins to come later), he headed to the mountains on his motorcycle with a friend (one of his scouts he mentored, now all grown up) on his own motorcycle behind him. A new barbed wire fence had been placed across the dirt road. Not seeing the fence, Lawrence’s tire hit the bottom wire and his neck hit the upper wire. Throwing him off his bike, with his neck severely cut, his friend rushed him to the hospital. His life was touch and go for many fearful days. His ward family gathered and kneeled at the church benches and prayed for his recovery. After many close calls, he came home with a tracheotomy. Eventually the tracheotomy was removed, but his voice and volume never fully returned, so people always thought he had a cold. With a loss of inflection, he missed joking as freely. Many were thankful that Saundra wasn’t left to raise nine children alone.  

 

After retiring from pediatrics, he served as a Senior Medical Missionary with Saundra in 1995 to the Dominican Republic. He kissed the ground when he landed back on American soil. From 1996 to 2008, Lawrence worked for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) giving physicals for entrance into all branches of the armed services.

 

Some of Lawrence’s favorite things were reading, golfing, swing dancing with Saundra (really doing anything with Saundra), bike riding, a daily crossword puzzle, tracking the phases of the moon, and memorizing people’s names.

 

Some of the things Lawrence is remembered for: ~ Having 11 children (didn’t quite make it to 12): Gary, Ray, Michelle, Valeri, Larali, Dale, Christine, John, Marali, Coleman and Jacob. ~ Before meditation became mainstream, Lawrence took a Transcendental Meditation Course and saw so many benefits that he had his wife and children take it. ~  He ran four marathons, the last one in his late 50s. ~ He learned a love of dogs from his father who trained bird dogs. ~ He never tired of watching The Andy Griffith Show. The best part was listening to him laugh through each episode. ~ He embraced the concepts he learned in Lifespring, a human potential course, and convinced his family and friends to take it. “We are the ones that produce our life and no one else,” was the overall message. ~ He always wanted to hold a baby, even though he held them all day long. ~ Wrestling his kids, or wife for that matter, on the floor, while biting his tongue in concentration, was a highly anticipated activity. ~ Suffering from psoriasis he would stand in his upright suntanning bed, which he made by hand, to lessen the severity of this irritating skin disease. He would often walk around the house with medicine slathered on his psoriasis and layers of saran wrap over it. ~ He thought it was hilarious to scare adults and children with his realistic Halloween costumes. ~ He could not contain his excitement when he found out, moments before the delivery, that his wife was having twins (#10 & #11). Doing cartwheels down the hospital hallway was the only way he knew how to express his pure happiness. ~ He built a wooden dance floor in the basement of his home. He loved nothing more than some music with a good beat and dancing with anyone he could get to join him. To slow down the mood he would put on a good John Denver song and gather his family, and any friend who was visiting, into a circle with arms around each other and sway to the tune. ~ Most of his church callings were working with the scouts and the high priests. ~ With no training whatsoever, he cut his children's hair, probably to save money. His daughters had the shortest pixie cuts. From the looks of school photos, crooked must have been the style back then. ~ Eating out was a big deal, but also embarrassing for his children when he would bring paper cups and a gallon of milk to go with the hamburgers. Who wants to pay for 13 sodas? ~  He tried to get his kids to love whole wheat bread, broken up into a bowl, with raisins, honey, and milk rather than sugary cereal. ~ His mother, who played the piano and sang like an angel, died when he was a young father in Germany. She was his hero and he missed her so. ~ Coming up with various plans for his children to keep a clean house never lasted for more than a week. ~ In the backyard he made tree swings, a zip line from the balcony to a tree, and an ice rink out of the basketball court. He pushed his kids so high in that homemade swing that he had to jump up and grab their heels to get them even higher, as they squealed in delight. ~ He somehow made each of his children feel that they were his favorite. ~  His door was open to a five-year-old boy who needed to be adopted, unwed mothers, Vietnamese refugees, his siblings, his kids’ friends, and even hitchhikers, who needed a place to stay. ~ He wrapped his Subaru bumper with a sleeping bag and found those struggling up a steep Bountiful hill in the snow and pushed them to their destination. ~ Need something fixed? Lawrence was the duct tape master to the rescue. ~  He maintained many friendships from his childhood on up. ~ Grabbing his foot with his opposite hand he would jump through the circle he made and then jump back through it. ~ Leg wrestling and “The Broom Trick” were party favorites. ~ At nearly every meal that his wife cooked he would sincerely say, “This is the best meal I’ve ever tasted!” Those meals were eaten at a big round table and a lazy Susan made especially for his large family. ~ Relaxing to The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson was a great way to end his day. 

 

Lawrence was a calm, comforting, and steady influence at home. His children went to him for advice and guidance. He kept confidences. He was the epitome of accepting and loving people as they are, with no judgment. He gathered truth wherever he found it. He trusted all. If someone stole from him, he said they needed it more than him. Honesty and forgiveness were a permanent part of his character. He was the same person in public as in private. He spoke of his faults because he never wanted anyone to think he was better than he was.

 

In his 70s, while living in California and then St. George, he rode 40 to 60 miles on his bike, three times a week with his buddies. As a participant in the Senior Olympics, he earned medals in the breaststroke and the high jump.

 

Suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last five years of his life (which his dad also had) turned him into a two-year-old. Saundra was his constant caregiver and stayed by his side. He did everything he could to prevent it, but to no avail, although he probably kept it at bay for ten years or more, because of his healthy living.

 

As the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” say, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free (from Alzheimer’s), My God, My Savior has ransomed me.” Saundra and Lawrence’s love story will continue despite separation. Theirs is a love that not many experience. One to be admired, for sure. Seeing that love firsthand was a gift and a lesson to those who witnessed it. Until we meet again: farewell, you beautiful, beautiful man!

 

Lawrence is survived by his stepmom Lois, brothers Grant and JJ, sister Sharon, his wife, Saundra, his children Gary (Chris), Ray, Michelle (Jeff), Valeri (Byron), Larali (Tony), (Joy), Christine (Andreas), John (Mindy), Marali (Kevin), Jacob (Jane), and Coleman. 

 

Preceded in death by: His father Dale, mother Wanda, brothers Ron, Doug, Elden, sister Tracy, and son Dale.

 

The funeral service will be held:

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse located at 4275 Bountiful Blvd., Bountiful, UT 84010

  • 9:00-10:30 Meet and Greet Family
  • 11:00-12:00 Service
  • 2:00 Burial SLC Cemetery located at 200 N St. E, SLC, UT 84103

Services will be live-streamed and may be viewed by scrolling to the bottom of Lawrence's obituary page at www.lindquistmortuary.com

 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

9:00 - 10:30am (Mountain time)

4275 S. Bountiful Blvd.

, Bountiful, UT 84010

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Starts at 11:00am (Mountain time)

4275 S. Bountiful Blvd.

, Bountiful, UT 84010

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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