Dr. Raymond G. Giberson

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PRESQUE ISLE - Dr. Raymond G. Giberson, 95, passed away with family at his side Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. Raymond was born April 27, 1918, in Holmesville, New Brunswick, the son of Glasier and Lillian (Williams) Giberson. He had a rich and long life supported by family, friends and the care of nurses, aides and other health professionals throughout the Presque Isle community. He will be remembered for his kindness, energy, optimism and vision.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Greta (Bernice) Giberson, the love of his life; and his children, Sharon Moffatt of Burlington, Vt., Debbie Dubitzky of Marlborough Conn., and Warren Giberson of Moncton, New Brunswick and their spouses, Bert Moffatt, Ted Dubitzky and Vicki Taylor. He is also survived by his 97 year old brother, Borden Giberson and his wife, Marion, of Bath, New Brunswick; and his brothers-in law and their spouses, Raymond and Dorothy Macaulay of New Brunswick and Horace and Peggy Macaulay of Ontario. Ray enjoyed many years watching his grandchildren grow often sharing time with them at the family tree farm in New Brunswick, Shannon Moffatt, Mariah, Naomi, Chloe Giberson, Micah and Noah Dubitzky. Numerous nieces and nephews and their spouses have added to his rich life. He was predeceased by his sister, Janet Dingee formerly of Perth, New Brunswick.

Raymond grew up on a potato farm in Holmesville, New Brunswick. These years on the farm were the foundation for his life-long passion for the land, trees and wildlife. Early he advanced his education to attend high school in Bath riding his bike or driving his horse in winter to attend high school. He went on to graduate from Normal School Teachers' College in 1937 and returned to teach for two years at the one room school house in Holmesville. This was just the beginning of a life of teaching and sharing his wisdom with those around him.

Raymond studied pre-medicine at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, graduating in 1941. He went on to study medicine at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, graduating in 1946 and received the Gold Medal for Academic Excellence in Medicine. From 1947-1950 he began a General Practice in Bath, New Brunswick. He regularly made house calls throughout the area and at times his payment for a visit was a hot meal or a bag of potatoes. His wife Bernice, a nurse would often travel with him on house calls as they delivered new babies in remote rural areas.

In 1950 Raymond was accepted at the Mayo Clinic for a fellowship in surgery, graduating in 1952 with a Master of Science in Surgery from the University of Minnesota. He credited this expert surgical training to his accomplishments as a surgeon. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in 1954 and was Certified by the American Board of Surgery 1954. In 1954, he joined the medical faculty at the Arthur R. Gould Memorial Hospital as the first surgeon for Presque Isle and Aroostook County. Raymond and his young family left in 1955 to serve his country as Major and Chief of Surgery in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Mitchell Air Force Base on Long Island, New York.

Ray practiced surgery for 29 years until his retirement in 1983. His office and home were a short walk to the hospital, as he always wanted to be close to his patients and have time with his family. During his years at the hospital, he perceived the need for a burn unit in the Aroostook County area, so he went for special training and came back to set up and run the hospital burn unit. He was a Director at The Aroostook Medical Center, TAMC, from 1984-86. When Ray retired at 65, he was not yet ready to give up medicine so he retrained in emergency medicine in order to work in the emergency room in Presque Isle during the summers until 1989. The R.G. Giberson Day Surgery Center at The Aroostook Medical Center was dedicated to Raymond in 1988.

Ray treasured his time in the woods and farm land. He had a successful Christmas tree farm in Johnville, New Brunswick. At its peak, Ray harvested over 10,000 Christmas trees annually from his Mountain View Tree Farm. He enjoyed long days working in the trees and lumber and was joined by family including his brother-in-law Raymond Macaulay. In 1988 and again in 1997, he was honored as New Brunswick Woodlot Manger and Owner of the Year and received the New Brunswick Stewardship Award in 2001.

Ray and Bernice spent many a spring gathering maple syrup and built a log building for boiling sap. He had a life-long interest and respect for animals, took a special pleasure in seeing wildlife on the farm and was an avid reader of wildlife stories. He enjoyed many days salmon and trout fishing in the streams. He also spent several years working with bees and harvesting honey. He got great pleasure in sharing with friends and family his honey, maple syrup and trees.

When Ray and Bernice retired in 1983 they spent winters over the next 30 years enjoying the desert of Sun City West, Ariz. They often credit this time to their long active lives as Ray enjoyed biking, swimming, travel, photography and golf. It was during these years that Ray further developed his expert talent as a prolific oil painter with wonderful scenes of the Arizona desert and northern Maine's old barns, bridges and forest streams.

Raymond spent his life giving generously with compassion and respect. The family wishes to express its deep appreciation for the wonderful support of so many friends and care providers over the past two years, who have made Raymond's final years in Presque Isle so enjoyable and a treasure we will long hold.

A celebration of Raymond's life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Grant Memorial United Methodist Church, 79 Fleetwood St., Presque Isle, with the Rev. Ernie Farrar officiating. A private interment will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Raymond's memory to one of the following: Aroostook House of Comfort, P.O. Box 867, Presque Isle, ME 04769; or Raymond G. Giberson Scholarship Fund, Grant Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 992, Presque Isle, ME 04769. Online memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.duncan-graves.com.
Published in BDN Maine on Sept. 6, 2013
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