Jesse Ernest Gibbons

Jesse Ernest Gibbons

Linton, Greene County, Indiana, USA
Death 6 Mar 1966 (aged 64)
Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA
Plot C-26-3-5
Memorial ID 111436 · View Source
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Jesse is my great-grandfather.
Jesse (pronounced Jess) Ernest Gibbons was born Saturday, March 2, 1902 in Linton, Indiana to Charles Gustavus Gibbons and Mary Isabel Wilson. He was the third of five children and of Irish descent.

Following his family's move to Mohrland, Utah, Jesse began working in the coal mines and he then met Eleanor Asay. Eleanor's brother, Norman, had been working with Jesse at the time and went home on the weekend with him to Castle Dale, Utah, where the Asay family lived at the time. This was the beginning of their courtship. He went there every weekend thereafter. It was love at first sight for both of them but because he was a non-Mormon she was hesitant about getting involved. At that time, she was writing to a missionary and felt she should await his return.

At about this time, Jesse and his family moved to Montana to run a ranch. He continued to correspond with Eleanor Asay and express his love for her. The family returned to Utah in 1924 and moved to Kenilworth to work in the coal mines. Upon his return, he proposed to Eleanor. Eleanor said that she felt that if she didn't marry him then she would probably never marry because she had never loved anyone as she had loved him. They were married on Saturday, February 14, 1925 in Price, Utah. On March 25, 1967, they were sealed for time and all eternity in the St. George Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They made their first home in Kenilworth. Four months after their marriage, Jesse's father was killed in a mining accident. Eleanor was always worried about Jesse and insisted that he quit the mines. It turns out her intuition was verified when the following spring there was an explosion in the mine where Jesse had been working and everyone on his shift was killed.

Following the birth of their first daughter, Jessie Jane, in September 1925, the young family packed up and headed for the coast. Settling in Los Angeles, their first home was located at 664 East Adams Boulevard in South Central area.

They remained there until 1930, when they moved in with Eleanor's first cousin, Edith Messerly. Edith had moved to Los Angeles in 1909 and lived in a small house. She eventually built a bigger home in front of the cabin and turned it into a guest house. This is where Eleanor, Jesse, and their children lived. The home was located at 1820 Talmadge Street in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. They remained here for a few years before they moved into a home of their own.

Their house was located at 2323 West Avenue 33 in Glassell Park, a neighborhood located in the hills of northeastern Los Angeles. They stayed there for a few years before they moved into the home of Jesse's mother, Mary. The home was located at 3830 Portola Avenue just south of the South Pasadena city limits in the El Serano district. They lived here for the remainder of their stay in California.

From 1925 until 1936, Jesse worked as a prop man. Sometimes, he held an umbrella over a star's head and sometimes he was used as an extra in movies. He held an umbrella over Mary Pickford's head in one of her movies.

Jesse developed asthma and his doctor told him that he needed to move to a drier climate. So in 1936, the family moved back to Castle Dale and lived with Eleanor's parents. He didn't improve much. In late 1936, his friends suggested that they moved to St. George, Utah, where there was a drier climate. Located in the southwestern corner of Utah, St. George was a sleepy desert town about 120 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

They rented a house across from the temple. Money was scarce, so Jesse would haul coal from Castle Dale to St. George in the winter and in the summer he would haul fruit from St. George to Castle Dale and he would stop on the way in all the small towns and peddle fruit. In late 1936, he purchased a lot on what was called "Poverty Hill" for $500. The land was located at 198 West 500 North and wasn't even incorporated into St. George yet. His mother and brother eventually moved from California to St. George and bought property there also.

Alongside his daughter, Jesse was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 27, 1934 in the St. George Temple. He wasn't an active churchgoer, but he supported the church and his family in their church activities. He contributed many hours of labor and his truck to building the St. George First Ward Chapel.

Jesse was fascinated with the geology of Southern Utah. He was also interested in the history of the pioneer and traveled Jacob Hamblin's route with Pearson Corbett and assisted him in his research for his book on Jacob Hamblin.

Jesse was instrumental in getting the first credit union started in St. George and was a charter member of it. During World War II, he hauled scarp iron to California for recycling. Jesse managed the St. George Municipal Airport for a few years. He also managed the Dixie Elks Lodge for two years. He was primary owner and manager of Dixie Distributing Company in St. George for several decades.

He was an excellent cook, so he opened up his own restaurant, called "Jesse and Jane's Cafe." He purchased the land and building on March 27, 1947 for $10 from Marvin Espich and Clifford Leach. He served steak, hamburgers, homemade pies, shakes, and soft drinks. It was a small place across the street south from the old Big Hand Cafe. Jesse and Jane's was always busy because of his excellent cooking ability. He eventually added fried shrimp to the menu, and everyone from all around the county would come for those shrimp dinners. He made his own batter and would use the large shrimp that he special ordered from California. John Wayne, who was filming a movie in the desert, came in the cafe and ate lunch one day.

Jesse had also been responsible for getting Alcoholics Anonymous started in St. George. So many of the town drunks would come to the cafe to sober up or be hauled home when they couldn't get home on their own power, that he decided something had to be done. So he contacted the A.A. in Salt Lake City and they helped get it started. Grant Harris, one of the recovered alcoholics, later became the head of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse program in Nevada. Grant spoke at his funeral and gave special thanks to the hours Jesse had spent helping him.

On August 3, 1956, Jesse was appointed to the Special State Police by Governor J. Bracken Lee.

Jesse suffered a heart attack at age sixty and had to retire. His faithful companion was Greta, his weimaraner dog. He suffered a stroke in February 1966, living only about two weeks before suffering another. He passed away at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, 1966 at Dixie Pioneer Memorial Hospital. He was only sixty-four years old and left behind his wife of forty-one years, three children, and thirteen grandchildren.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, March 9, 1966 at 1:00 p.m. in the St. George Tabernacle located at 18 South Main Street (corner of Main Street and Tabernacle Street) in St. George. A viewing was held on Tuesday, March 8, 1966 from 7:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Cannon Funeral Home in St. George, and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the tabernacle prior to the services.
Jesse was laid to rest following the conclusion of the funeral services in the St. George City Cemetery.

Summary of funeral services:
Funeral services were held under the direction of Bishop Maesar W. Terry.
The family prayer was offered by Neal Asay.
The prelude and postlude music was offered by D'On Snow.
The invocation was offered by Victor Frei.
Musical numbers performed included: "The Lord's Prayer," which was performed by Rhonda Jackson, accompanied by D'On Snow; "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," which was performed on the guitar by Mr. and Mrs. Perry Asay; and "Oh My Father," which was performed by Mr. and Mrs. Delmont Truman and Mr. and Mrs. Maesar Terry with Katie Gentry as featured soloist and accompanied by D'On Snow.
Speakers included: Bishop Maesar W. Terry, Grant Harris, LaRue Gibbons, and Bishop James Andrus.
The benediction was offered by Kay Cannon.
The grave was dedicated by Chad K. Andersen.

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  • Maintained by: Ryan D. Curtis
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 1 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111436
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jesse Ernest Gibbons (1 Mar 1902–6 Mar 1966), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111436, citing Saint George City Cemetery, Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Ryan D. Curtis (contributor 46858513) .