Elva Loi Gibbs, 90 years old, of Safford Ranch, passed from this earthly domain Sunday, February 13, 2022. She looked forward to eternal life with Val Gibbs, her loving husband of 64 years. Loi is survived by her sister, Oleta Martin of Laramie, Wyoming; daughter Lyn Whitman (Harold) also of Safford Ranch; son Chris Gibbs (Deborah) of Safford; daughter JaNae Cottam (Kevin) of Pennsville, New Jersey; and son Garth Gibbs also of Safford Ranch. She leaves 18 Grandchildren, 57 Great Grandchildren, and 1 Great-Great Grandchild.
Loi was born June 15, 1931, in Laramie, Wyoming to Oliver Wille and Bernice Barber Wille. She attended Laramie schools and worked as a "soda jerk" in a drug store. Her love for music developed early and she was an avid pianist for over 80 years, instilling that love in many of her progeny. When she was 12, she traded her bicycle for a colt, later competing successfully as a barrel racer in area rodeos. Graduating in 1949 from Laramie High School, she quickly found work as a teller and bookkeeper in a local bank.
At age 21, she met the love of her life, Val Gibbs. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and their early life together meant military assignments from Alaska to Florida. Val served his 4-year enlistment, then found work with Standard Oil in "keypunch". Their mutual love of the outdoors in the West prompted Val to use his GI Bill benefits to attend Utah State University for a degree in Forestry. Loi worked full-time in a Logan, Utah bank while Val attended college and became a Forest Service professional. They moved often as the government prompted and Loi continued working. She gained knowledge and experience in many areas including banking, industry, school administration, and medical offices.
Loi loved Church activities, but especially enjoyed the music for Primary children. She always loved playing and teaching the kids lessons through music. She was an exceptional piano teacher in many of their move locations. She had unique capabilities to match performers' styles and was frequently sought out to accompany vocal soloists, choirs, and instrumental musicians.
Loi was an avid reader and, although she had no formal education beyond high school, was considered by many to be highly educated. Part of her education came from her love of travel, seeking knowledge, and embracing cultures. Her personal philosophy: "Convincing herself that every change or move presented the best people, finest places, and biggest opportunities she would ever find." This amazing woman was never disappointed!
No memorial or funeral is planned, however, a come & go social gathering for friends and family will occur at the Safford Ranch Clubhouse, Saturday, February 19th from 3 - 5 pm.
Arrangements are being cared for by McDougal's Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory located at 112 E. Main Street, Safford, AZ 85546, 928-428-1740, www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.