Arizona Football

Obituary: Gary Gibson, 60, Former Standout Arizona Wildcats Defender Passes Away From Cancer

Gary Gibson, 60, of Murrieta, Calif., passed away on Tuesday after a 23-month battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was at home surrounded by family members.

After earning First Team All-CIF honors at St. Paul High School as a tight end in 1977, Gibson was recruited by Tony Mason to Arizona, where he played strong safety and outside linebacker. He was recruited by Texas A&M, UCLA, Iowa, Michigan State and Arizona out of high school..

Gary Gibson (family photo)

He was drafted as a strong safety by the San Francisco 49ers in 1982. He finished his football career with the USFL’s Boston Breakers.

Gibson, who lettered at Arizona from 1979-81, was one of the more unsung defenders with the Wildcats playing in the shadows of Ricky Hunley, Randy Robbins and Al “Bubba” Gross.

In a 1981 interview with The Arizona Daily Star, Gibson said, “I’ve always felt it was better to play good all of the time — if you could — instead of great some games and bad in others. I’m not playing to get publicity.”

Gibson was a defensive coordinator of the Brea (Calif.) Pop Warner’s Bengals. In 2004, the Bengals went on to become Junior Midget champions of the OEC, West Conference semi-finalists and finished among the top 18 teams in the nation.

In his professional life, Gary was a longshoreman on the docks at the Port of Los Angeles and in the tradeshow industry for more than 15 years at The Freeman Company.

If you wish to donate in lieu of flowers, please consider pancan.org. Donations can be made in Gary’s name.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Martha’s Catholic Church in Murrieta on Monday, Sept. 30, at 11:00 a.m. to be immediately followed by a reception.

St. Martha’s Catholic Church
37200 Whitewood Road
Murrieta, CA 92563

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