Sybil Gibbon, nee Sheppard, is 100 years young today.
Gibbon was one of 13 children and lived her early days on Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain. Being the ninth of 13 children, when her father died at a young age, she was brought up by her older sisters, as her mother was busy keeping the home going.
She married Patrick Gibbon and moved to St Augustine where they lived for over 50 years with their four children Roger, Jennifer, David (deceased), and Don.
The centenarian is affectionately known as “Granny” to her eight grandchildren and “GG” to her 15 great-grandchildren. Her 16th great-grandchild will be born in a couple of weeks and she is looking forward to yet another baby to kiss and hold.
To this day, Gibbon remains not only an exceptional mother but an incredible mother-in-law to Donna, Jacqueline and John (deceased), grandmother and great-grandmother. She is loved by everyone, including the friends and family of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, neighbours and acquaintances.
To Gibbon, family is the reason for life. She came from a large family that celebrated together often, mostly with music and dance. She was a very devoted wife to Patrick, her deceased husband.
Sybil Gibbon with her son Roger Gibbon after he won gold in the Match Sprint event, British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Jamaica, 1966.
According to her oldest son, former T&T cyclist and double Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Roger Gibbon, “We lived a middle-class life in St Augustine. She taught us how to love and be loved, to be respectful and above all to be honest at all times, and to be satisfied with what material things we had.
“Her ‘live and exist with love’ concept, has kept our family together as a well-knit unit, and we are all extremely indebted to her for showing us by example, how to be comfortable in a troubled world, and to love each other.”
When asked about COVID-19, she said “This too will pass and you will forget all about it before you know it.”
When Gibbon was able to get the vaccine, she took it willingly, at the age of 99.
This is Sybil Gibbon and her husband, Patrick, at their 50th wedding anniversary some years ago.
She lived a healthy life, full of morals and to this day, remains devoted to her precious church. She is thrilled that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has reopened churches “just in time to celebrate my 100th birthday at church.”
Gibbon's life was not without stress as she has survived her husband, her 12 siblings and their spouses, her son Dave and almost all of her long-time friends. She has thrived on living a simple life and being comfortable with the little things that mean so much to her.
When asked what it takes to live to 100, Gibbon said “Thank God for letting me live this long and be blessed with such a lovely family. I had a kind husband who was very good to me.”
Sybil Gibbon with her family. Missing is her grandson Marc and daughter Jennifer and her family who live in Australia.
Her life was and will always be centred around her children and their extended families, her many nieces and nephews and her beautiful neighbours at her current home.
Those who know her swear she does not have a bad bone in her body. She is accepting and understanding of human issues and knows that while life is not perfect, it must be lived with love, heart and soul.
We should all take a page out of Gibbon’s book, her family believes.