Diana L. Gibson
Baltimore City schoolteacher and political campaign business manager and staff assistant was raised on Calhoun Street
Diana L. Gibson, a retired Baltimore City schoolteacher and political campaign business manager and staff assistant, died of a heart attack March 15 at her Guilford home. She was 82.
“She was one half of an historic duo dedicated to equality, justice, and progress,” Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement. “Diana was the very best of us: a generous friend, a devoted wife, a lifelong learner and lifelong educator, and an engaged citizen who loved our state and everyone in it.”
The governor also said: “To me, she was not only a longtime neighbor but also a longtime confidante and a mentor. Her loss leaves a gaping hole in our community — and in our hearts.”
Born Diana Rita Lewis in Baltimore and raised on Calhoun Street, she was the daughter of Theodore and Mamie Lewis. She attended the now-closed St. Pius V Catholic School and the then-Booker T. Washington Junior High School, before graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1957.
She earned her bachelor of science with honors from what was then Towson State Teachers College, now Towson University. In 1966 she received a master’s in education degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
She began teaching third, fourth and fifth grades at Windsor Hills Elementary School in Baltimore City. She later moved on to Harford Heights Elementary School in South Clifton Park where she continued teaching until 1986.
On July 7, 1971, she met Larry Gibson, a lawyer and political organizer, then a member of the Baltimore City Public School Board. He was a speaker at a postgraduate class of educators meeting at Towson State.
After his presentation, he walked over to her and her friend, Dorothy Thomas, and offered to walk them to their cars.
“I asked Diana to volunteer in a citywide political campaign I was managing,” her husband said. “Of course, I had to get her phone number. We were married on July 7, 1973, exactly two years from that first meeting.”
Friends said they became an inseparable couple.
After retiring from teaching Ms. Gibson moved into Baltimore politics and worked for three political leaders.
She was the business manager for the 1987 mayoral campaign of Kurt L. Schmoke, Baltimore’s first elected Black mayor.
She then served as Mayor Schmoke’s office services manager until he left office in 1999.
“Diana was one of God’s beautiful creatures,” former Mayor Schmoke said. “She was a delightful person, a wonderful public servant and a superb grandma.”
Following her years at City Hall, Diana was a staff assistant to the late 7th District U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. She then joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume.
Congressman Mfume said, “We called her Lady Di for her class and poise. In my office, she kept the trains running on the tracks.”
“Everyone loved her,” Mr. Mfume continued. “She and Larry were inseparable, and they had an ongoing honeymoon for 50 years.”
She and her husband traveled the world and often photographed their visits to Kenya, France, Ghana, China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Peru, Italy, Venezuela, Uganda, Jamaica, India, England, United Arab Emirates, St. Lucia and Iceland.
She often also traveled with her son, Dr. Steven Larry Gibson, a cardiac anesthesiologist at Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller released the following statement regarding the death of Diana Gibson:
“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Diana Gibson. Diana’s brilliant light shined in every space she entered. Even in her absence, her passion and spirit will continue to guide and inspire us,” the lieutenant governor said.
Survivors include her husband, Larry Gibson, a University of Maryland Francis King Carey Law School professor and author; a son, Dr. Steven Larry Gibson of Kensington; and a grandson.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at 5200 N. Charles St.