Louise (Gibbons) LeeDecember 28, 1926 ~ September 27, 2017 (age 90)
Melba Elouise Gibbons Lee (known throughout her life as “Louise”) was born of goodly parents on December 28, 1926 in Tehama, California. Her father was David King Gibbons and her mother was Idora Quintella Jones Harris. Louise’s parents were from strong LDS pioneer stock and met and married while residing in St. Johns, Arizona. Her parents migrated to California before Louise was born, and settled in the small northern California town of Tehama.
Louise was the last of six children and the only girl. She was preceded in death by her brothers, David “Lonnie” Gibbons, Harry Lee, Claude Lee, Clarence Lee, and Jay Gibbons. After having five boys, her parents were finally rewarded with a daughter. Louise remembers her Mother often saying, “Louise, I’d trade a couple of these boys for another one of you!”
As a child Louise attended Tehama’s two room elementary school. Grades one through four were in one room, and grades five through eight were in the other room. As the students progressed through the grades they would get closer and closer to the windows. Louise really wanted to sit by the window so she studied extra hard, skipped the third grade and got her seat by the window a year early.
Louise attended Red Bluff and Los Molinos high schools. She loved to learn and she loved to sing. She graduated near the top of her class and was chosen to sing at her graduation. She sang Raymond Mitchell’s “The West Wind” and she won the commercial arts award at her graduation.
In the early 50’s Louise married Gary Jerome Lyon, a 6’5” Marine with deep blue eyes. After a year selling advertising across the country they returned to San Francisco where Louise got a job as secretary to the remodeling director at Safeway headquarters. Although she loved her work, she really wanted a baby. She thought she couldn’t have a child, so she looked into adoption.
On October 18, 1954, Louise and Gary adopted a little baby boy. Her friend who helped arrange the adoption picked him up from the hospital when he was three days old, and delivered him to Louise in the Safeway parking lot. They named him Darryl.
A few months after the adoption, Louise and Gary divorced, and Louise lived with Darryl in San Francisco.
While living in San Francisco, Louise met David Joseph Lee. They courted and then married. To her surprise, she found out that she could have children! On July 14, 1958 she gave birth to David James, and then on February 5, 1961 she brought Cheryl Larie into the world. Having delivered her second and third children “the hard way” as she put it, Louise and David adopted their last child, Daniel John, on December 22, 1965, also when he was three days old.
Louise and David raised their family in Contra Costa County, living in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Concord. Louise provided a loving and caring home for her children, and always showed them unconditional love.
After most of her children were in school, Louise went back to work as the secretary for the Medical Records Director at Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek. She worked at Kaiser for 23 years, retiring in 1992.
Louise raised her children in the LDS Church. She served faithfully in many callings. What was more important to her, however, was the unselfish service that she provided to all in need, regardless of faith or creed and without the need for a specific calling or assignment. She dragged her kids to the local convalescent hospital on at least a monthly basis where she adopted one elderly person after another who had no family or other visitors. They would visit these seniors regularly and try to bring joy into their lives. She made her famous chocolates and gave them away more often than she sold them. She followed Christ’s admonition to “lift up the downtrodden and strengthen the feeble knee”.
After retiring from Kaiser and selling her home in Concord, Louise lived in Walnut Creek for a time. She relocated to Citrus Heights in 1996 and moved into Imperial Manor where her older brother Clarence lived. As he grew older she provided him much love and support. She quickly made friends with others at Imperial Manor as she sat outside her home cultivating her eclectic garden. She filled that garden with swings for the kids, a rock garden with treasures for everyone, and two statues of St. Francis. Many would stop by and comment on what a good Catholic she must be. She lovingly said “No, I am a member of the Mormon faith, but I find truth in the teachings and lives of good people everywhere”. She has spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and His restored Church throughout her life by her unselfish Christ-like service and her inclusive and loving example.
On September 11th Louise was experiencing severe pains near her heart, so she finally consented to allow Cheryl to take her to the Emergency Room. The X-rays and scans ruled out a heart attack. But what the doctors did discover were cancerous tumors in her lungs that had metastasized throughout her body and into her bones. Nothing could be done. So her four children rallied around her and with the help of loving hospice nurses they cared for her in her home until she passed away during the early morning hours of September 27, 2017.
Louise was preceded in death by her parents, her husband David and her five brothers.
She is survived by her four children, Darryl Joseph (Bonnie) Lee; David James Lee; Cheryl Larie Lee (Kimberly) Taufer; and Daniel John Lee. She is also survived by twelve grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren.
Louise lived a long and loving life. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but she is having a joyous reunion with her saintly mother and all her loved ones who have prepared the way for her.
Friends are invited to attend services Monday, October 2, 2017, 10AM at the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, Foothills Ward Chapel (5505 Hackberry Lane, Sacramento, CA). Interment following at 3:30PM at Tehama Cemetery, Gerber, CA.