Michael Arden Gibbons December 18, 1943-July 2, 2020
TOLEDO-Michael Arden Gibbons, 76, died July 2, 2020 at his home, The Vicarage. There was a Requiem Mass, Fr. Todd Molinari, Celebrant, held September 26 at Sacred Heart, Newport where he was a parishioner. Michael A. Gibbons was born December 18 in Portland to Millard and Virginia Gibbons. Michael was a self-described “poet with a paintbrush” whose art evoked the beauty of nature. Experimenting with art as a child, Michael began painting with oils while in Kennedy Grade School and later became the first Art Major to graduate from Benson Polytechnic Institute. He attracted the attention of the Oregon Society of Artists and at age 16 was the youngest person invited to join the organization. After a three-year tour in the US Air Force, he became part-owner of a specialty automotive parts manufacturer and worked as a designer. At age 25, he left and relocated to the central Oregon Coast to pursue painting full-time. His oil paintings of the coast and surrounding areas established his reputation for depicting the natural world with deep sensitivity and reverence. Working “en plein air” (outdoors), Michael traveled to many locations to gain additional inspiration including Washington, California, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Mexico. His work was featured in dozens of exhibitions in the US and Europe and is now in a traveling exhibit entitled “Yaquina”; A Painted Voice for a Sacred Landscape frequently shown in Oregon and seeking further sites afield.
In 1988 Michael married Judith “Judy” Mortenson and their partnership transcended life, love and art to become a true union of soul and spirit. As longtime Toledo residents and civic leaders, Michael and Judy found constant inspiration in the town’s history which led them in 2002 to found the Yaquina River Museum of Art in Toledo, a non-profit organization that brings focus to art done in the nearby Yaquina watershed and bay. A strong part of his portfolio included the art he was commissioned and painted of many industrial sites and scenes including Portland’s Gunderson Rail and Barge locations and the Toledo Georgia-Pacific containerboard mill on the Yaquina River. Two of Michael’s paintings are included in the State Collection of art at Mahonia Hall, the official residence of the Governor of Oregon.
Michael was a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America; the Laguna Plein air Painters; Allied Artists of America; and Christians in the Visual Arts; and the Knights of Columbus. He is survived by his wife Judith; four stepchildren, Vicky Ross, Michael Ross, Randy Ross and Stephen Ross; a sister, Laurie Gibbons; a niece and nephew, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Michael was interred at the Toledo Historical Pioneer Cemetery on September 21. TAPS & Flag ceremony were presented by the US Air Force followed by the Committal Service, Fr. William Palmer, Officiant. Memorial donations may be made to the Yaquina River Museum of Art, Toledo, Oregon.