Gibbons, G. Hunter
July 6, 1924 - October 19, 2012
G. Hunter Gibbons, 88, of Sarasota, Florida, passed away peacefully on October 19, 2012. He enjoyed life, and he leaves a lasting legacy that bespeaks his contributions to his family, community, and country.
Visitation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Palms-Robarts Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the funeral home. A military burial will be at Palms' Robarts Memorial Park, with a celebration of his life immediately following services.
Born in Gainesville, Florida, Hunter was the eldest of six children, and he was a sixth-generation Floridian. Hunter grew up in a small town just outside Gainesville, where he developed his passion for the Gators. He became an avid outdoorsman, learning to hunt and fish at an early age. Scholastically, Hunter graduated Valedictorian of the Archer High School and enrolled at the University of Florida.
Hunter turned 18 years old six months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and Hunter enlisted with the Army, becoming an aviation cadet. After graduating from flying school, Hunter was based in Italy, where he piloted the B-25 in 70 combat missions. Hunter received numerous medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, with clusters. After the fall of Nazi Germany, Hunter was to be redeployed to the Pacific Theater, but that portion of the war ended before he shipped out. Hunter married Ann Maddox Gibbons, and they had one child, Jane Gibbons Brekhus.
After World War II ended, Hunter returned to the University of Florida, receiving his law degree in 1949. During school to support his family, Hunter worked on construction projects for buildings at the University of Florida that still stand today.
After graduating law school, Hunter joined the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General. He was stationed in numerous exotic locations, including Greenland and the Kingdom of Morocco, and seven different locations within the States, including the Pentagon. Hunter was one of the top security officers stationed in Montgomery, Alabama during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and had a role in that matter.
While a JAG, he wrote treaties for the United States, prosecuted crimes, defended the accused, and served in intelligence. After more than 20 years on active duty, Hunter turned down the offer for a path to become General, instead deciding to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel and begin a law practice.
In 1966, Hunter moved to Sarasota, where his wife's parents lived. He joined the firm that today still bears his name, Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. Hunter made his mark in the legal profession as a skilled trial lawyer, routinely defending doctors and hospitals accused of malpractice or antitrust violations. Known throughout the state as a preeminent trial attorney who never shied away from taking a case to trial, he won the respect of the bench and bar. He was the epitome of the professional lawyer. He was in the inaugural class of Board Certified attorneys in Civil Trial Law. Ultimately, Hunter was invited into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation only organization, whose membership is less than 1% of all attorneys. Hunter retired from the active practice of law in 2008, at the age of 83.
In addition to his law practice, Hunter served as Chairman of the Board for BlueCross BlueShield of Florida for over a decade. During his tenure as chairman, BCBS of Florida grew to be one of the most prominent and influential plans in the entire nation. Today the organization remembers his service and legacy with its largest scholarship which is given in his name for a child of a BCBS of Florida's employee who attends the University of Florida.
Locally, Hunter served for many years as general counsel for the then Venice Memorial Hospital and as special counsel for Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He was president of the Sarasota Bar Association, a charter member of the Judge John M. Scheb Inn of Court, an advisory board member to Sarasota's Teen Court, and president of Sara Bay Country Club. He also was involved in numerous pro bono and philanthropic endeavors.
Hunter loved the outdoors, and he loved sharing his passion for flying, hunting, fishing, golfing, boating, and skeet shooting with his family, whom he loved. He also loved the Gators, and enjoyed watching all Gator sporting events, especially football. Hunter was a long-term supporter of the University of Florida, and he originated the law school's Antitrust Book Award, which was awarded to the top student in that class.
Hunter is preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Ann Maddox Gibbons; his brother Perry Gibbons; his sister Margaret Brannan; and his second wife, Joyce Pattock Gibbons. He is survived by his daughter Jane Gibbons Brekhus of Sarasota; three grandsons, Dr. Briggs Carroll and Hunter Carroll of Sarasota, and Andrew Carroll of Orlando; six great grandchildren, Larissa, Heather, Maddox, Carson, Megan, and Austin; one brother, Henry Gibbons of Satellite Beach; and two sisters, Ella Charnley of Ocala, and Caroline Clark of Gainesville. He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews, including Stephen Brannan, with whom he practice law at Dickinson & Gibbons.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Teen Court of Sarasota, P.O. Box 48927, Sarasota, FL 34230 or at http://flteencourt.net/sarasota.