James Robert Gibbons, son of Mr. Cornelius H. Gibbons and Mrs. Annie Mae Harden Gibbons, born on August 24, 1934 in Midville, Ga., passed on March 5, 2014. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by his dad and stepmother, Naomi Gibbons.
James was first introduced to Christ as a child growing up in the Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church. James graduated from Dillard High School in the Class of 1953. While at Dillard he sung in the choir and participated in several activities. Following in the footsteps of his beloved father, he joined the military, receiving training at the Military Police Replacement Training Center at Camp Gordon, Ga., in order to become a member of the elite Military Police Corps.
While serving in Germany, James was inspired when he met an African American Apothecary- in his words, “I was inspired by this sharp brother in the white coat.”
The seed was planted and in 1959, James graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s (FAMU) School of Pharmacy. This was FAMU’s second graduating class of future pharmacists.
While living in Fort Lauder-dale, Fla., Gibbons partnered with David Miller, Sr. and L.P. Papp to start Fort Lauderdale’s first Black owned pharmacy chain, Washington Park Pharmacies, which included four drugstores.
Years later, James move to Jacksonville, Fla., where he worked as a pharmacist for Pic-n-Save and Walgreens Pharmacies, retiring after 42 years in the profession.
Upon moving to Jacksonville, Fla., he rededicated his life to Christ and became an active and faithful member of Philippian Community Church, pastored at the time by the late Bishop Lawrence C. Callahan. He was known here as Brother Gibbons. He often assisted the elderly of the church with medical advice and volunteered for the Meals on Wheels Program in Jacksonville.
He later joined Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, under Senior Pastor H. B. Charles, Jr.
With a sincere love for Christ and an unquenchable appetite for God’s word, in 2012, he earned a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Lutheran Rice University, Lithonia, Ga. He lived the remainder of his life on fire for the Lord.
He leaves to cherish his memory, a loving and faithful wife of 19 years, Christina Gibbons, his daughters: Janice Suggs and Janine Wilson (Pastor West Wilson); son James Robert Gibbons, Jr.; stepson, Christopher Tomlinson; longtime friend, Keith Suggs; loving first cousins Cherry Salley and Julia McElvy; six grandchildren, three great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and other loving relatives.
Services were held on March 15, 2014 at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church (Jacksonville, Fla); followed by Interment at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. Strong and Jones Funeral Home, Tallahassee, Florida and James Graham Mortuary, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., officiated the services.
In lieu of flowers the family is asking that all monetary donations be made to FAMU College of Pharmacy. Checks should be made payable to: FAMU Foundations and in the memo section put College of Pharmacy. Mail checks to:
Dr. James Moran
FAMU College of Pharmacy
1514 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32307