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Funeral Set for Former State Sen. June Gibbs

The 89-year-old passed away on Sunday.

A memorial service for former State Sen. June Gibbs, of Middletown, has been scheduled for this Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m. at .

Gibbs, 89, died Sunday, April 8, at home, after a two-month battle with cancer.

According to the obituary announcement from Memorial Funeral Home, Gibbs was born June 13, 1922 in Newton, MA, to Samuel and Lulu (Glazier) Nesbitt. 

She graduated from Newton High School in 1939 and Wellesley College in 1943. She served as a lieutenant in the navy during World War II, breaking the German submarine code in Washington, DC. She earned a master's degree in mathematics from Boston University in 1947.

June was elected to the Rhode Island state senate in 1984 and served until 2008, over the years representing Middletown, Little Compton, and parts of Portsmouth, Newport and Tiverton. She was Deputy Minority Leader from 1985 until the end of her tenure in the legislature. Prior to this, she served on the Middletown Town Council from 1974 to 1980 and from 1982 to 1984. She was the first woman elected to the council and the first woman council president. Before holding elected office, she was active with the state and national Republican parties, serving as National Committeewoman for 12 years. She was Housing Chairman for the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, arranging housing for 11, 000 convention attendees. 

In her many years of public service, June was particularly dedicated to issues regarding women, children, and the elderly, as well as to environmental concerns. Her legislative service included membership on the Senate Health, Education and Welfare Committee; Senate Finance Committee; Joint Committee on the Environment and Energy; the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council; and the Permanent Commission on Child Care. One of her proudest accomplishments was her role, while on the town council, in the creation of the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, where she often enjoyed walking. 

June was an active member of the United Congregational Church for over 60 years. Over the years, she contributed her time and energy to many community organizations. Most recently, she served on the board of Rhode Island Kids Count, on the Newport Hospital Ethics Committee, and on the Rhode Island Foundation's Newport County Fund Advisory Committee.

When not dedicating herself to serving her constituents and helping others, June could often be found windsurfing at Third Beach and, in recent years, boogie boarding at Second Beach.

June leaves a daughter, Elizabeth Gibbs, and son-in-law, Eliot Raymond, of Portsmouth; a first cousin, Rosalie Morgan, of Natick, Massachusetts; a brother-in-law, Paul Kuzmick, of Livingston, NJ, and numerous loving cousins. She was the widow of Donald T. Gibbs, librarian at the Redwood Library for 39 years. She is also predeceased by her sister, Ruth Nesbitt of New York, NY.

In addition to the service on Sunday, calling hours will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 4 to 8 p.m, in the Hambly Funeral Home, "Brick House", 30 Red Cross Avenue, Newport.

Burial will be private.

Donations in her memory may be made to Visiting Nurse Service of Newport & Bristol Counties and the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

James Wermuth April 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Speaking for all of the John Clarke Society, her efforts along with Theresa Paiva Weeds to establish a John Clarke Day will long be remembered. She represents what a true patrician should be. I will miss conversations over buying groceries and meetings to encourage Rhode Island heritage. James Wermuth
Kacyn Fisher April 11, 2012 at 02:25 AM
A great lady and genuine human being has been lost to the state of Rhode Island. She will be deeply missed. Kathaleen C Fisher

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