DUVALL–Dean Gibbs loved to walk the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
In fact, according to his son Larry, Dean walked the trail every day, rain or shine. Turning 91 earlier this year didn’t even slow him down.
“He used to walk from his house on Hwy 203 to the trail, and then to 124th, which is about four miles,” Larry said. “He had been hit by cars several times on 203. One time he was rolled over the hood and into the ditch. The car never stopped. Dad got up, dusted himself off, said a few choice words at the driver, then continued on his walk. He was a tough guy. Later he just walked a mile, and would drive to the trail- head in Duvall. He always wanted a place to sit on the trail, but there was none.”
After Dean passed away on May 27, the family asked for donations for a memorial bench on the trail, knowing that would be more important to him than flowers.
“Legacy Benches” cost $3,000 and are installed and maintained by the county. When the county received the money and approved the plans the bench was installed about a mile south of the trailhead, which is right at the edge of Dean’s old farm property, said Larry.
The dedication was Saturday, October 13th and officiated by Pastor Tad Stinson of the Duvall Church.
The family invited people who donated to the bench and many of them attended.
The Gibbs family moved to Duvall in 1964, said Larry. Dean was an iron/sheet metal worker for Rotta Sheet Metal on Westlake in Seattle for approximately 40 years. He drove to Seattle even when it snowed to get to work.
Dean was always was in great shape, said Larry. “He was 91 years old, and did 20 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, and 30 squats, and then walked every day, up to the day he went in for surgery. People probably remember seeing him walk with his orange safety vest on. On his 91st birthday at Chans Place in Woodinville, he was videoed doing 15 pushups before his birthday dinner. The video is on You Tube.”
Larry said the family wishes to thank everyone who donated for the bench, also Ryan and Joe from the county who worked with them to get the bench where they wanted it, and were there the day of the dedication. They drove Larry’s elderly aunt down the trail, as it was too far for her to walk.
Dean Gibbs was preceded in death by his wife Lois, who is fondly remembered by many locals as a longtime school bus driver; daughter Valerie, brother Lyle and sister Sara.