Clara ‘Rachel’ Gibson


Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2007


  Clara 'Rachel' Gibson

Clara 'Rachel' Gibson

Alaska pioneer Clara “Rachel” Gibson died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006, at her winter home in Fort Mohave, Ariz. She was 73.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007, at Peninsula Memorial Chapel, 5839 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai. Pastor Alan Humphries will officiate. A reception will immediately follow the services at Paradisos Restaurant in Kenai.

Mrs. Gibson was born March 19, 1933, in Ransomville, N.Y., to Thomas and Mary Drinkwater. Along with nine sisters and three brothers, they grew up in the Ransomville and Youngstown, N.Y., areas. She graduated from Youngstown High School in 1949. After attending Wesleyan University of Illinois, she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. She took basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio in 1950. Mrs. Gibson was transferred to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi for permanent duty. She served during the Korean Conflict. While she was stationed at Keesler, she met and married Dwain Gibson on Dec. 19, 1952, near Biloxi, Miss.

In 1957, she and her family moved to Big Delta and camped out in a one-room cabin with no electricity or running water. Later that same year, they moved to Delta Junction and set up permanent living in Alaska. While at Delta Junction, she began her writing career of novels and short stories. She also became the local information phone operator and was the owner and operator of the A and W Drive-In.

She moved to Soldotna in 1967 and owned and operated the Homestyle Motel and Cafe. She later moved to Kenai and became a bookkeeper, travel agent and gate agent at AAI Airlines.

“She loved and supported the charitable groups, cultural events and local libraries. She loved discussing travel while having coffee. She retired in 2000 as a bookkeeper,” her family said.

Mrs. Gibson was preceded in death by six sisters and three brothers.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Dwain of Kenai; son, Dwain II of Anchorage; daughter, Nancy Mitchell of Soldotna; grandchildren, Adeena Stading of Florida and Bryson Twidwell and Anna Edmonson of Soldotna; great-grandchildren, Hannah and Naomi Stading of Florida and Savannah of Soldotna; sisters, Virginia Dombroski of Seattle, Daisy Morey of Green Valley, Ariz., and Sarah Martinez of Apple Valley, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations may be made in Mrs. Gibson’s memory purchasing new library books C/O Friends of the Kenai Library, 163 Main Street Loop, Kenai, AK 99611.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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