Meigs Elbridge Gibbons Jr. was born December 5, 1925 in Purcell, Oklahoma to Meigs Gibbons Sr. and Gertrude Green Gibbons. When his father first saw him after being trapped in a snow storm away from home for a few days, his father said that he was as big as an ox. It was a nickname that stuck throughout his life. At age 5 he moved with his family to his mother's home place (Primrose Hill Farm), 2.5 miles north of Wakita, Oklahoma. Meigs attended Wakita grade and high school, graduating in 1943. While in high school, he lost his older sister, Margaret Paulyn, to Brights disease.
Meigs enlisted in the Naval Reserve and was sent to San Diego for boot camp and training in the newly invented radar. He served as a Radarman 3rd Class in the South Pacific aboard the cruiser USS San Juan. He was in five major naval battles including Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where the navy was under Kamikaze attacks for over 100 days. He also went through a typhoon at sea. His ship was the first into Tokyo, liberating POW camps three days before the surrender was signed.
Meigs returned home to marry a young woman who was graduating from Wakita High School, Deanie Horning. All his life, he said it was the best thing he ever did. Meigs and Deanie settled down to farm with his father, M.E. Gibbons Sr. and raised two children: Chris and Peggy. Later he was employed by the Woods Petroleum Company as an oil pumper in the Wakita area.
During his latter part of life, he pursued his true passion, carpentry. Meigs and his partner, Bill Myrick, built 14 homes, 10 steel buildings, 1 church hall, and remodeled 23 homes in the Wakita and Nash area. Meigs was a member of the Wakita Christian Church and helped build the current church. During this time he built his own house in Sand Creek, Oklahoma where the family lived until 2000, when Meigs and Deanie moved the house into Wakita. The couple spent their retirement years volunteering for community projects and enjoying their grandchildren. Ox was a talented carpenter and built many toys and furniture for his kids and grandkids. He was an avid OU Sooners fan.
Meigs lost his wife in 2012 but continued to live independently in his home until his death from heart failure on June 23, 2020.
Meigs is survived by his children: Chris Gibbons and wife, Diana, of Evergreen, CO, and Peggy Feist and husband, Gary, of Wakita, OK; grandchildren: Jim Gibbons (Kristin) of Kingman, AZ, Sam Gibbons (Jessie) and daughter, Sasha, of Bailey, CO, Meg Feist (Jessy) and son, Leo of Castle Pines, CO, and Luke Feist (Megan) and son, Jackson, of Louisville, KY.
Ox requested a sunset service with a hamburger fry (his favorite thing to do.) Saturday, June 27, 2020 a graveside service was held at 7:30 p.m. at the Wakita Cemetery with Pastor Jeff Enabnit officiating. Meigs' grandchildren gave special tributes. Megan Feist sang "How Great Thou Art." "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" by Red Foley and "Irish Heartbeat" by Van Morrison were played. Military Honors were performed by the U.S. Naval Honor Guard. Honorary urn bearers were RD Lawrence, Dwight Bushman, Alvin Jones, Mike Lewis, and Raymond Conrady. Urn bearers were grandchildren, Jim Gibbons, Sam Gibbons, Meg Feist, and Luke Feist. The service was concluded with a hamburger fry for all who attended.
A memorial fund has been established for the Community Health Center in Wakita.
Prairie Rose Funeral Home, 602 E. Main St., Anthony, KS 67003. www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com