Mabel Snowden Gibson left this world to go home to her maker on October 2, 2019 in New Port Ritchey, Florida. Born on January 20, 1922 in Lee County to John Will Snowden and Nellie Catherine Lucas Snowden, she was one of six children. Her grandparents were Francis Marion Snowden and Polly Snowden. Mabel had special love and respect for her own mother, Nellie, who was often called the “finest woman in Lee County.“ Married during World War II to Goebel Gibson, she lived abroad and had particularly fond memories of her time in Italy. Goebel was a handsome, talented opera singer from the Kentucky mountains. The couple had four children: Bill Gibson ( Ellen); Nellie Catherine Gibson Williams, New Port Ritchey, Florida; David Gibson, Lexington, Kentucky, and Elizabeth Gibson Herring, Lexington, Kentucky. Mabel had particular love and dedication to all four children throughout her life. Mabel graduated from Lee County high school at the early age of 15, an excellent student. She attended business school in Hazard. Mabel was always an avid reader, with a particular interest in politics, and in the Presbyterian Church. Her paternal grandfather gave the land for that first church in Lee County, at St. Helens. Her maternal grandfather provided the lumber and labor for that same church, which the family attended until the building burned to the ground in the 1980s. Mabel made sure that all of her children went to church every Sunday as long as they were under her roof. She held a position with the Presbyterian Child Welfare Agency at the Buckhorn Children’s Center early in her career. Later, she worked extensively for Everett Currier, a lawyer in Beattyville. Mabel was noted for her professionalism, dedication to her work, and friendly smile. She had an infectious sense of humor, and often told stories they gave us all lessons in life. Having lived through the Great Depression era, she could pinch a penny, and still always put a fine, home cooked meal on the table at night. Those of us who had the great fortune of sitting at her table, remember her elegant table settings, angel biscuits, iced tea and chicken salad.
She kept careful records of her genealogy and of the history of Lee County. She outlived all five of her siblings and could share stories about their lives to make us seem as if we had known them also. She was famous for letting others know when she thought something was “a bunch of foolishness. “ She was practical in every sense of the word. Mabel could whip the pants off all opponents in a game of Scrabble. While residing at the Ashland Terrace retirement home in Lexington for 10 years, she gained a reputation as a fierce player, and a wordsmith. She could successfully complete the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles, well into her 90s. Rarely asking anything for herself, she was always generous with her humor and kindness. She befriended everyone whose path she crossed, and was always a lady. She appreciated great music, from opera to gospel, and could “cut a rug “ when the clog dance music came on. Mabel enjoyed the hoedowns at Natural Bridge State Park, where she joined in the multi generational fun, encouraging her children and her six grandchildren to do the same.
We thank her for the legacy she left us: a great love for family and appreciation for the work and values passed down by prior generations, upon whose shoulders we all stood; her humility and simplicity of lifestyle; her appreciation for ongoing education through self teaching and front porch chats with others; her dedication to Christian values, lived out so well in her own life. She earned her wings, and was loved by all. Her memory will remain an inspiration to us all. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, October 20 at 5 PM at Natural Bridge State Park, in the Hemlock Lodge. All are invited to attend.