Joe Gibbons

Joe Gibbons passed away on Monday, October 18th in the Regional Hospital of Scranton. His wife of 36 years, Mary Ellen Knowles, his son Doug, his daughter Liz, his daughter-in-law Megan Compaine, and his son-in-law Malcolm Cooper were by his side.

Joe was born in Pittston, PA to the late Eugene and Mary McNamara Gibbons. He was a graduate of Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton. He considered this only the beginning of his education, as he was an avid reader all his life. His limitless curiosity drove him to read widely in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

He loved the written word, and derived great personal and professional pleasure from working with the English language. He spent his life writing in the fields of public relations and advertising. After working in various industries, he founded The Gibbons Company, which provided marketing and communications solutions to clients around the world. In his later years, Joe wrote poetry. This form, which prizes economy and precision of language, proved the greatest showcase for his many gifts.

Joe lived nearly all his life in the Wyoming Valley. He loved the Valley’s beauty, history, and people. 

Joe loved the beauty of the Valley’s mountains, rivers, and forests. This love drove his devotion to environmentalism. As a member of the Green Ridge Neighborhood Association, he fought to preserve the beauty of the Valley by opposing the use of neighborhood sewers for leachate runoff from Keystone Landfill. He passed onto his children an appreciation for the beauty and fragility of nature.

He loved the history of the Valley, and had a keen sense of his place in it. A gifted storyteller, he kept alive the memory of ancestors who emigrated from Ireland, mined coal, and worked hard to provide their children a better life than the one they had known. His warm and humorous stories brought people and events from the past to life. He passed onto his children a respect for the sacrifices of previous generations.

He loved the people of the Valley and gave back to his community through involvement in many charities. He was on the board and allocation committees of the United Way. He was a board member and past president of Advocacy Alliance. He was also a board member and president of EOTC, which is now known as Outlook. He passed onto his children the importance of serving the less fortunate and marginalized.   

To meet Joe was to like him. He was a man with an engaging smile who was interested in people. Even during his hospital stays he would engage with the staff to get to know them. The family would like to thank Dr. Anees Fogley and his staff for their many years of outstanding care.

He is survived by his wife Mary Ellen; his son Doug and his fiancèe Megan Compaine, Portland, ME; his daughter Liz and her husband Malcolm Cooper, Cherry Hill, NJ; his brother Gene Gibbons and his wife Becky Turberville, Alexandria, VA; his brother Charlie Gibbons and wife Pat, Pittsburgh, PA; brother-in-law Bob Knowles and wife Michelle, Waverly, PA; sister-in-law Kathie Knowles, Boston, MA; sister-in-law Judy Comerford, Clarks Summit, PA; and many beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister-in-law, Lynn Gibbons.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of the Vanston & James Funeral Home, 1401 Ash St., Scranton. Friends may pay their respects at the funeral home on Friday, November 5th, from 5-7 p.m. Masks will be required. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

 In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Lackawanna County Library System Lecture, Care of Mary Garm, 520 Vine Street, Scranton PA 18509. 


  1. Paulette Okun

    How was a wonderful person. He was a great neighbor and was always concerned about having things done right for the best interest of the community. Joe was a funny man and always had a smile and a hello or wave when walking in the community.
    Being in his company was enjoyable. He will be greatly missed by everyone. He will live on with wonderful memories. May he Rest In peace..
    Sincerely ,
    Paulette sand Jay Okun

  2. Donato C Rinaldi, Jr.

    I just learned of Joe’s passing as I was reading funeral notices. I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. Joe and I had so many great times together at United Way functions and at holiday parties. We always kept each other laughing. He was a great man and he always had the biggest smile. My wife, Sue, and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Joe’s entire family. May he always know the beauty of eternal life. Love, Donato (Danny) and Sue Rinaldi, Charleston, South Carolina.

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