Patricia A. Gibes

Patricia A. Gibes of Port Washington was a kind, gentle woman with a core of steel.

“Grit and grace are the two words that sum up my mom,” her daughter Kathy Gomez said.

Mrs. Gibes, who died of cancer at Lawlis Hospice in Mequon on Monday, May 7, had a quiet strength and an optimistic outlook that, combined with a strong faith, led her through a life that took many turns.

Mrs. Gibes had several distinct careers during her life. She loved writing, and earned an English degree at Mount Mary College.

She later parlayed those skills into a writing career at Sailing magazine in Port Washington.

“She absolutely loved to write,” her daughter said. “I remember her talking once about interviewing Ted Turner, who invited her down to go sailing on his boat.”

She also wrote feature stories for Ozaukee Press, and her copy often accompanied photo essays by longtime Press photographer Vern Arendt.

After she left Sailing and the Press, Mrs. Gibes earned a master’s degree in religious education from Cardinal Stritch College and went to work as director of religion for the Catholic parishes in Port Washington.

She held that job for about 10 years, then retired. But even then, she continued to work.

“She decided she wanted to learn to bake bread, so she went to work at Oma’s Breads for a short time,” her daughter said.

Then, Mrs. Gibes became a job coach at Portal Industries.

“She absolutely loved working with the people there,” her daughter said. “She found ways to be creative and keep the clients there motivated in their jobs.”

Mrs. Gibes then became a naturalist interpreter at Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville, where she “did pretty much anything they would ask her to do,” her daughter said.

She also volunteered with Meals on Wheels for several years.

Mrs. Gibes was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 2, 1937, to Ralph and Mary Dosta Jeske.

She grew up in Pewaukee, and on July 18, 1959, married Robert Gibes at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Pewaukee.

The couple moved to Port Washington shortly after that, settling at their house on West Jefferson Street in 1963.

Port Washington was the perfect place for Mrs. Gibes, her daughter said, noting she grew up on Pewaukee Lake.

“She was a lake girl. I think that’s where her love of nature came from,” her daughter said, adding her mother treasured spending time at the Port Washington lakeshore.

Mrs. Gibes had a monarch butterfly garden and found peace in feeding the birds and watching wildlife. She always had a dog, including her most recent pet, a rat terrier/Jack Russell mix named Jake.

“She always said heaven is playing in a pile of puppies,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Gibes enjoyed taking drives around the county with her friends and attending the symphony, attending church functions and participating in tai chi at the Port Washington Senior Center.

“She didn’t necessarily like it, but she did it because her doctor told her it was good for her,” her daughter said. “She took pride in trying to stay healthy and connected.

“She loved learning. She had a thirst for knowledge and for sharing it. She was a patient and kind person who was a constant message of love and acceptance. She did a lot, but she never needed fancy awards or accolades. She was OK quietly doing her thing.”

Her family was the center of her life, and she taught her children to “live in the brightness, not to live in the dark,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Gibes is survived by her children Paul and Mark, both of Port Washington, and Kathy (Greg) Gomez of Waukesha, grandchildren Ashley and Alysia Gibes, and three great-grandchildren.

She is further survived by her brother Greg (Jeanie) Jeske of Hartland, sister-in-law Helga Jeske of Waukesha, and her former daughter-in-law Cherie Ewig of Port Washington.

She was preceded in death by her husband Robert, grandson Christopher Gibes, sister Betty Halaska, brother Butch Jeske and brother-in-law Chuck Halaska.

A Mass of Christian burial was held Saturday, May 12. Father Patrick Wendt officiated.

Interment was in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Washington.

Memorials to Portal Inc. are suggested.

Funeral arrangements were handled through Eernisse Funeral Home, Port Washington.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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