Family and friends say farewell to Lola Gibbs
ON Friday, June 1, Wanneroo lost one of its favourite daughters when Lola Gibbs died after a sudden battle with cancer. She was 88. Lola met her husband Ken Gibbs at a Wanneroo dance in 1950. They were married in the Perth Wesley Church on October 13, 1951. They had six children: Leonie, Michelle, John, Leonard and Andrea. In July 1957 they lost a baby son. The young couple started their married life by leasing a small plot of Yanchep swampland for 10 shillings a week and growing vegetables. Ken supplemented the family income by working part-time at Yanchep Park. He died in 2010. However, their main home, which was named after Ken’s father, appears as The Aubrey Gibbs Home on the City of Wanneroo register of Heritage Places.
In 2002, Lola’s lifetime of community service and involvement was acknowledged by the City of Wanneroo, when she was presented with her 50-year plaque at the Annual Pioneer Luncheon.
She served on many committees and also drove the Yanchep School Bus for 32 years, picking up children from outlying areas and taking them to Yanchep Primary School.
On one occasion, a young girl was accompanied by her mother and grandmother to see her safely on her first ride on Lola’s school bus. The little girl was apprehensive about catching such a big bus but was comforted by her mother.
“You will be safe on this bus, as Mrs Gibbs is very nice and drives very carefully,” the mother said. “She used to drive me to school, when I was young.”
The grandmother added: “Mrs Gibbs used to drive grandma to school, too.”
On another occasion, during a violent storm, Lola’s bus was suddenly confronted by a shed whipped up by a mini cyclone and thrown across the road, narrowly missing her bus.
Lola was a charter member of the Wanneroo Historical Society and served many years on the society’s main committee, including one formed by her daughter Leonie in the early 1990s to research the 10th Light Horse’s Wanneroo coastal patrols and history during World War II.
Because of the committee’s work, a recommendation to the Wanneroo Council, supported by the Federal Government, saw the Wanneroo 10th Light Horse Commemorative Trail established by 2004 and opened by Wanneroo Mayor Jon Kelly.
Lola, Ken and Leonie played significant roles in the research.
Lola also served on the Gloucester Lodge Museum Committee and spent many years as a guide at the Cockman House Museum.
Lola and her close friend Iris Harris started the 1st Yanchep Cubs and Scouts.
At her funeral service, Lola’s daughter Andrea said Lola was the first person she and her siblings ever trusted, the first person they ever loved, and someone who offered them many pearls of wisdom.
Lola Gibbs will be remembered for her tireless and loving service.
Ken and Lola Gibbs on their wedding day.