ZETTA LEE GIBSON October 14, 1922 – February 21, 2014 Houston, Texas Zetta Lee Gibson, affectionately known as "Moms" to her family, donned her traveling shoes and journeyed to the 'promised land' Friday, February 21, 2014 after a long well-lived life. One friend said, "I want to go like Ms. Zetta, in my own home without suffering any long-term illness." Such are the rewards of a life well lived. She was a person who possessed both inner and outer beauty. Born in Columbus , Ms. in 1922 to the loving union of Thomas Jefferson Stepp and Lillie Frierson, Zetta was the first born of five children. Her beloved and...
ZETTA LEE GIBSON
October 14, 1922 – February 21, 2014
Zetta Lee Gibson, affectionately known as "Moms" to her family, donned her traveling shoes and journeyed to the 'promised land' Friday, February 21, 2014 after a long well-lived life. One friend said, "I want to go like Ms. Zetta, in my own home without suffering any long-term illness." Such are the rewards of a life well lived.
She was a person who possessed both inner and outer beauty. Born in Columbus , Ms. in 1922 to the loving union of Thomas Jefferson Stepp and Lillie Frierson, Zetta was the first born of five children. Her beloved and only brother, Thomas J. Stepp Jr. lives in Chicago, Illinois. Her sisters, Eliza Brooks , Sarah Oberree Bankhead, and Myrtle Stepp live in St. Louis, Mo., Columbus, Ms. and Chicago, Illinois respectively.
Zetta and her siblings shared a loving household where they were brought up in the church tradition and taught to have self-discipline and respect for themselves and others. Though they lived in the deep South their city was not totally segregated by race, for neighbors all around them were White. After completing high school, Zetta attended two years at Mary Holmes Seminary. Later, she met and married her one true love, Robert Gibson, now deceased. She jokingly referred to them as Mutt and Jeff because she was pretty and petite, five foot three weighing just ninety-eight pounds when they married, and he was six foot tall, at least. The two then moved to Chicago where each of her children was born.
Love was the hallmark of Zetta's life. For instance, she loved children. A testimony to this fact is that she produced four of them, Edwin L. Gibson of Vallejo, Ca., Antoinette Marie Gibson, Cecelia A. Johnson, and Elissa F. Clay all of Houston, Tx. Her children were a point of pride to Zetta, and she frequently kept friends, neighbors, relatives, anyone with a willing ear, apprised of what they were doing with their lives. She taught them many things about life, not the least was how to survive and thrive in the world. Her emphasis was on education since she considered this paramount to success. One of her signature joys was attending the college graduation of each of her children.
Another of her joys was cooking because she was very good at it. She had a life-long love affair with home cooking. Although she would dine out occasionally, she never lost her preference for a good home-cooked meal. Her entire family acknowledged her skills. No one to date has been able to top her turkey dressing. And, her roast beef and macaroni and cheese were incomparable.
In addition, Zetta loved growing things. She had a "green thumb" as the saying goes. She excelled at house plants, especially vines. When she moved from Chicago to Prairie View, Texas in 1963 where her husband taught in the University's school of science, and she worked in the registrar's office for over twenty years, she brought all of her house plants with her. Normally, one would not expect these plants to survive after enduring the stress of such a drastic change in environment. Guess what; they not only survived, but also produced offspring which were usually shared with neighbors. Not one to shy away from hard work, one time Zetta badgered Robert so consistently to dig her a garden behind the garage of their home in Houston that he finally acquiesced. Well, every day she worked in that garden nurturing it as though it were a child. So what happened? That garden produced so much food that she was forced to give away most of it. There were so many pearl onions that her little poodle, Moxie, would play ball with them.
Also, Zetta was an inveterate church-goer. She loved the Episcopal Church and was a member wherever she lived whether in Chicago, Prairie View, or Houston, Texas. Her final membership was at Grace Episcopal where she served with devotion in many capacities. For instance, she was a member of the altar guild and for years would bring home and launder the altar cloths. In addition, her weekly Saturday routine was to work at the Trash and Treasure resale shop run by Grace Episcopal. She also served for years as secretary of the Episcopal Church women and was very meticulous about the appearance of her minutes, soliciting one or another of her daughters to type them for her when her computer did not work. She was proud to be a "Daughter of the King" and kept her membership pin in a special box along with her other treasured possessions. As it relates to church though, Zetta's greatest love was reserved for the members of her church family. She genuinely enjoyed being with them and rarely missed a Sunday. A favorite part of the service for her was the meet and greet during the "Peace." because she had to be assured that she embraced all of her friends.
There's an old adage about being "neat as a pin" and this applies in spades to Ms. Zetta. She insisted that her appearance as well as her surroundings be a reflection of this concept. Once she was chiding Robert about his room which was called "the oval office" in jest. She said, "This place is so messy. Why don't you clean it up?" He retorted, " You're so clean, but for two days I have been looking at a spider on the wall in that back bathroom." She laughed and quipped, "Why didn't you kill it then?"
It is an observable truism that some people that you meet in the course of a lifetime make little impression on you and are more or less just passing through. Others, like Zetta Gibson are unforgettable. They make friends wherever they go because they know how to treat people. She was loved and respected not only by her family but also by neighbors, co-workers, people who serviced her car, worked in her yard, repaired her dwelling and of course those church members whom she knew throughout the years. She will be sorely missed, but her legacy will endure among those whose lives she so deeply touched. Especially will her legacy be passed to her nieces, nephews, grandchildren, Corey Janelle Johnson, Cherilyn Gibson, Eric David Clay Jr. and his partner, Rachelle Mason , Erissa Clay, Antoinette Marie Lazaro and her husband, Glenn Lazaro, Lauren Ashley Johnson, Gregory Robert Gibson and his partner Violet Davis, Erica Camille Pinkard and her husband, Nicholas Pinkard, and Erin Quincy Clay. Erica and Nicholas are the proud parents of Angel, Faith, Donovan and Trinity. Eric David and Rachelle are the doting parents of Rashad and Emery and Gregory and Violet welcomed Gregory Junior into the world four months ago.
Everyone who was fortunate enough to have known Zetta Gibson realizes that she was indeed a special person, a unique individual. Consider yourself lucky if you meet one person like Zetta in a lifetime.
Visitation for Zetta Lee Gibson:
Settegast-Kopf Dignity Funeral Home
15015 Southwest Freeway
Sugarland, Texas 77478
March 2, 2014 ……. 1-5 pm
Grace Episcopal Church
The Reverend Gena Davis, Vicar
4040 West Belfort
Houston, Texas 77025
Houston Memorial Gardens
Immediately following the Funeral service
Reception: Immediately following the internment
In the Church Parish Hall
As a tribute to a life well-lived, anyone who wishes may make a donation to Grace Episcopal Church School, 4040 West Belfort, Houston, Texas 77025 on behalf of Zetta L. Gibson.
The family expresses its heartfelt gratitude to all who have been so kind during this time of sorrow.