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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Funeral services set for Saturday for former Plant City chamber chairman

PLANT CITY — Funeral services have been set for 11 a.m. Saturday for Doug Gibbs, a civic leader who died Wednesday afternoon after a lengthy illness.

Services for Gibbs will be held at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503 N. Palmer St. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., also at the church.

Wells Memorial and Event Center is in charge of funeral arrangements.

Gibbs, known affectionate as “Gibber,” was 45 and died from complications from heart surgery. He had been hospitalized at South Florida Baptist Hospital for at least three weeks before his death.

Friends recalled him for his hard work and outgoing personality.

“He was very energetic and very well liked,” said Myrle Henry, who has known Gibbs for years. “He was very civic minded.”

Gibbs and his older brother Ken worked with their father Jack at a family-owned Plant City real estate firm that was established in 1954.

He served as Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce chairman in 2007, among other leadership roles that included Plant City Lions Club president, Rotary Club director and chairman of the East Hillsborough County Law Enforcement Appreciation Association.

“He had a heart of gold,” said City Commissioner Mike Sparkman, who oldest son, Tommy, was Gibbs’ best friend.

Gibbs was the life of the party and “he was loved by everybody,” Sparkman said.

City Commissioner Billy Keel, who had known Gibbs since childhood, said his friend will be missed.

“I don’t know anyone who didn’t like Doug Gibbs, he was just that kind of a guy. It’s a terrible loss for this community,” Keel said.

Gibbs, born in Lakeland to Jack and Elizabeth (Cook) Gibbs, was a lifelong Plant City resident. He graduated from Plant City High School and Hillsborough Community College.

Besides his parents and brother, he is survived by his grandmother, Margaret Gibbs, life partner of 11 years, Carole Wright, two nieces, Sara and Anna, and nephews, Andrew, Paul, Luke, Nathaniel and Philip Gibbs.

Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Plant City Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1404, Plant City, FL. 33564, or East Hillsborough County Law Enforcement Appreciation Association, P.O. Box 4807, Plant City, FL. 33563.

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