Reflecting on 25 years of contributions to the Beacon
After 25 years Beacon columnist Frank Tibbo will be retiring his column.
“She’s coming in for a landing,” quipped award winning Beacon columnist Frank Tibbo, who will be retiring Aviation after a 25-year leg.
Dedicated to telling the stories of Gander’s history and its connection to aviation, his last column will appear in the May 25 edition.
Having a habit of collecting information and items pertaining to Gander, Tibbo felt these interesting and valuable tidbits should be properly documented.
So he approached then Beacon editor Gerald Vokey, who agreed with the concept, and on Oct. 14, 1992, his first column was published.
The introductory column opened up by encouraging questions from readers about aviation, followed the next week with a column about pressure buildup in the ears when flying.
He’s been a fixture with the Gander based publication ever since, with his column eventually transitioning into the town’s history and aviation contributions.
“I had no idea it would continue for this long, figuring a year would be a pretty good run,” Tibbo said. “But ideas kept coming up and people responded well to it.”
And while he doesn’t like referring to himself as a historian, his column became a cornerstone for preserving the area’s history.
In sharing information he had collected over the years, preparing columns about his interviews with Gander pioneers on a Channel 9 program called Milepost 213 – the mile marker from St. John’s to Gander along the railway track – and microfilming his way through countless once classified documents on the airport during war time, Tibbo framed together Gander’s past.
While some ideas fell together relatively quick, others required hours and hours of research, but, “Just about everything that I found out I put into columns that people would be able to enjoy reading and learn the history.”
His work has been highly regarded in the historic community as well.
Jack Pinsent, president of the Gander Airport Historical Society, called Tibbo’s research and columns were a great help to the organizations cause.
“He’s been providing us with information and doing articles for us over the last number of years,” Pinsent said. “He’s been a great source of information and is always there to be called upon.
“I hope that just because he’s retiring from the Beacon, it don’t mean he’s retiring from contributing to the Gander Airport Historical Society.”
Pinsent added that Tibbo’s columns have done a tremendous job of keeping the public informed.
“Without the work he’s been doing over the years, a lot of that information would have been lost,” he said. “His column will be missed for sure.”
However, after two and a half decades, the “octogenarian” – a person between 80 and 89 years of age – who wouldn’t reveal his age any further, feels it’s time to move on.
When all is said and done, Tibbo will have written approximately 1,250 columns.
After 25 years, and approximately 1,250 columns, Beacon columnist Frank Tibbo will be retiring his Aviation feature. His final publication will be on May 25.