Retirement is all about golf . . . well, until it isn’t. But it was through golf that I met the guy I would ultimately come to call, My Hero. Of course it was all in good fun. Warren was a member of the Greatest Generation and I was a member of the Offspring of the Greatest Generation – our ties therefore were through the social aspects of the golf club. And those ties were based on our common affection for impishness. He became My Hero through nothing more profound than his contributions to our golf team, anytime we were paired in a scramble event or something of the sort. He would invariably make a long putt or a chip in to save the team . . . and I would run after him to give him a hug while he would attempt a giggling escape. We lost Warren this week at age 94.
We will miss his unflagging good humor. And because we always marveled at his uncommonly good health, we were shocked to learn he had died. It seemed he would go on forever. We visited with Rose at his visitation Tuesday night and learned Warren had taken a bad fall 10 days prior to his death. She said he fell against a heavy piece of furniture and broke a rib. He said, “What a terrible way to die,” knowing that it was bad for someone of his age. He spent his last 10 days in the hospital.
[Believed to be my first known photo of the Gibsons, September 11, 2006 (yes, a significant date).]
[“Where’s Warren?” and with Dar Hentz and Gordy Anderson, June 12, 2007.]
[Always dapper, in the Mother’s Day buffet line at the club in 2008.]
[The “impishness,” caught them by surprise at Arrowwood.]
[“Where’s Warren?” (again), August 31, 2009.]
[August 31, 2010]
From the blog, March 6, 2011:
Because it was an afternoon game, we decided that since we could make it back home during daylight, we would enjoy our evening repast at D. Michael B’s. A toast to the team from there (such is not condoned for team members). We were delighted to discover my hero, Warren Gibson, was there. He and Rose look great and we had a nice visit. They both noted they don’t ever recall a winter like this one. Warren said he had no particular health reason for giving up his golf membership – it was just time. He is, of course, famous for his response to his doctor last summer when told he had the back of an old man – he replied, “I AM an old man!” I’m sure we can get him out to our golf leagues a few times this summer. And we should have a big birthday party for him there on July 9 when he turns 90! We can make it a double and get Martin out there too! [We had just returned to town after a girls’ basketball tournament game.]
From the blog, June 29, 2011:
The Tuesday morning senior men’s league at the Alexandria Golf Club plays a Stableford system with teams determined by blind draw every week. Every year we end the season with a steak fry and putting contest. This year we will have two – last night’s being the first. We were delighted to have Rose and Warren Gibson join us again – they gave up their membership last year, which was bittersweet for us because now we don’t have to “pay” Warren every week. Long my hero, Warren turns 90 on July 9 – to honor the occasion I followed him around the putting course by video, and he had the lead after 7 holes:
[And after hearing Warren in this video, you can get an idea of his cadence and sincerity when he would deadpan after a particularly crappy shot, by himself or a playing partner, “Saaaay, that was a nice shot.”]
[Not likely to be Warren, August 31, 2011.]
From the blog, July 25, 2012:
[Gordy Anderson, Warren Gibson, and Martin Haar]
It seems certain members of the league had been putting a full-court press on Martin Haar and Warren Gibson to come play with us again. Martin and Warren, now in their 90’s, each decided a couple of years ago to give up their club memberships – that their golf careers, which consisted mainly of income redistribution from us to them, were over. We learned again on this day that not only are they still great fun to play with – but that they can still play! We hope for further reunions.
Oh, and Gordy is still a member and still shooting better than his 90+ age on a regular basis. We had just heard that morning that John Gustafson, a member of the Alexandria Education Foundation Hall of Fame, had died at age 80. Gordy noted that made him feel “old” as he had hired John right out of St. Olaf.
Martin and Warren joined us all to play the back 9. Warren played in the group ahead of us – we played with Martin in the following group. When we arrived on the 17th tee, we could see Warren had hit into the left-side trap. With trusty Canon in hand, I sped up the hill to catch the action with the following story in mind:
“A fellow of age hit his golf ball into a sand trap. As he descended in to play his next shot, he bemoaned to his partners that he couldn’t get out of traps. He then proceeded to hit his sand shot into the hole to the amazement of those present, who queried, ‘We thought you couldn’t get out of traps?’ ‘I can’t,’ he said, ‘Give me a hand up!'”
Anyway, by the time I reached my quarry, Warren, and two of his playing partners, were on their hands and knees just trying to rake the ball out of the steep side of the trap. I captured Warren with a bemused look on his face – and then had my photo taken with the guy who is still my hero. 🙂 [I’m proud to say the family had this photo on display at Warren’s visitation.]
[Warren was a fine practitioner of what my Mom called “just poop it down the middle” golf. Whenever his 2nd shot ended up past my drive, he would drive up to me and say, “Guess I out drove you on that one, huh?”]
[Our last time with Warren, their 65th anniversary. We will truly miss him. Rose said they were so happy they could get together with all of us again at the club on August 12 this year.]
[I’m sure Crazy Dave speaks for all of us at the club, “We’ll see you at the 19th hole, Warren.”]
[The 19th hole.]