David Phillip Gibbs
April 26, 2023
David Phillip Gibbs was born July 11, 1935 in Miles City, MT, the youngest of 6 children born to Honora (Leibole) and LeRoy Gibbs. He was taken home to the homestead near Van Norman on the Little Dry Creek east of Jordan where he joined sister Betty and brothers Lee, Gerald, Gene and John. He passed away April 13, 2023 in Miles City, MT at Holy Rosary Hospital. At the age of 87 he was still vibrant and healthy, still feeding cows and helping calve heifers up until the few days before he passed.
David had a random grade school education. He went to Jordan for 1st grade but also homeschooled or attended the Pure Water School depending on what worked best for transportation. He attended Garfield County High School and graduated in 1953. He attended college in Great Falls for 2 years and then went to Bozeman where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science. Before deciding where to go from there, he ended up being drafted and spent 2 years in the army. After he was discharged, he joined his brothers Gerald and John in a partnership and started his ranching career. They leased the Hart Ranch near Ashland, MT where he ran cows for the partnership and also some sheep for his dad. After 2 years they decided to buy the Wahl ranch northwest of Circle, MT, near Weldon and he moved there in the fall of 1964, having little preparation for one of the worst winters in history. It was a tough start but he made it work and spent the rest of his life there. In 1967 David married Birdice Marie Sowle from Brockway. Together they ranched, farmed and raised three children. They also had a hand in raising some grandkids, too.
Much of David's life was spent involved with his brothers and nephews, both in business and their personal lives. The brother's partnership eventually dissolved when the family grew. They continued working cattle together, mostly sharing fall work, and looking to each other for advice and friendship. He enjoyed early morning phone calls with all of them before starting the day, a habit especially valuable in the lonely years after he lost Birdice. He especially appreciated his relationship with his nephew Jim. They spent many years sharing each other's wisdom and input.
David was a man of great patience, whether contemplating a decision, hearing your side of the conversation or waiting for a bunch of pairs to mother up. He also had an encouraging word or maybe a humorous comment when you least expected it. We are all going to miss his strong quiet presence in so many ways.
David was preceded in death by Birdice in 2017, shortly after celebrating their 50th anniversary. Also preceding him are his parents, Roy and Nora, sister Betty (Jerome) Haughian, brothers Lee (Ardelle), Gerald (Delores) and John (Helen). He is survived by his son Kevin (Dawn) and daughters Kally (Reg) Billing and Kim (Ross) Murray, grandchildren Ashley (Ryan) Hall, David, Donovan, Abigail, Alice and Daniel Gibbs, Joseph and Ethan Billing, Roy, Owen and Josie Murray, and great grandchildren Maizee, Jeremiah and Ezekiel Dirksen and Elijah and Ainsley Hall. He is also survived by his brother Gene and sister-in-law Donnajean, and many nephews and nieces.
Family will receive friends on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Circle. Interment will be held at a later date on the family ranch. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: http://www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should you desire, memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.