Jonathan "Jon" Gibson '09 September 21, 2022 12:38 PM updated: September 29, 2022 11:23 AM
Jonathan Joseph Gibson
March 4, 1985 - July 8, 2022
Jonathan Joseph “JJ” or “Jon” Gibson of Manvel, Texas passed away at his home on Friday, July 8th, 2022. Jonathan was born on March 4th, 1985. Jonathan will always be remembered as a knowledgeable, confident, and diligent son, brother, friend and colleague to all that knew and cared for him. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, father, Walter Gibson, Sr., and brother, Walter “Karam” Gibson, Jr., and he is survived by his mother, June Gibson, and sister, Natalie Gibson of Pasadena, Texas.
From the young age of 4, Jonathan studied music and developed into a gifted and soulful piano, clarinet, and saxophone player. He frequently volunteered to play saxophone during the holidays for the Salvation Army and had a reputation for filling 3 donation pots each day after people gladly donated while listening to him play. After high school, Jonathan aspired to become a music teacher like his good friend, Mark Nguyen, but proudly served his country with an Army Reserves Construction Unit in Iraq. This is where he discovered his passion for building and switched his major to Civil & Structural Engineering. In addition to his musical gifts, he was a genius chess player with a photographic memory of the game which allowed him to re-create piece arrangements weeks after a game occurred.
After graduating from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, Jonathan traveled as a field engineer for Great Lakes Dredge and Docks. Although he loved working on the water and performing bathymetric surveys, he sought out an opportunity to grow as a structural design engineer and obtain his professional engineering license. He found this opportunity at Burns and McDonnell and worked there from 2012 to present. While there, he was recognized for his talent and attention to detail that impressed both the clients and his managers. He accomplished many complex and challenging tasks.
Jonathan was an inventor, a musician, a fisherman, an adventurer, a great conversationalist, and a perpetual learner. Jonathan focused his boundless energy on myriad new projects and hobbies during his leisure time away from work. Along with his good friend Paul, he created plans for modular customized outdoor kitchen fabrication. He never shied away from building something he dreamed up from scratch. A few of his most noteworthy DIY projects include digging out his backyard to install an underground hot tub; welding a customized outdoor smoker; re-modeling his bathroom and home theatre entirely on his own; helping his mother and sister with home repairs; gutting, refinishing, and re-selling a dilapidated bass boat (he worked on this one between college classes at A&M in the parking lot of his apartment complex!); and mounting a cooler and fishing rod holders to a jet ski – an adventure that ended with a rescue by the Coast Guard and an unforgettable night on the ocean.
On countless weekends, he would spend hours offshore fishing with coworkers and friends catching king fish, red fish, black drum, and, his favorite, red snapper, or loading up on crabs near the Texas City Dike. His father taught him to love the ocean with family trips with his siblings on their john boat and flat-bottom Carolina Skiff boat, and Jonathan later owned a Sea Hunt V-hull boat which allowed him to maneuver bigger offshore waves and fish and snorkel off the artificial reefs formed beneath offshore oil drilling platforms. His love for salt water fish extended to his choice for pets for which he built numerous fish tanks and stands and cared for various bright and colorful species. The only thing greater than his passion for fishing was perhaps his appetite for fish. Jonathan was known by friends and neighbors for legendary 40 lbs crawfish feasts, crab boils, and delicious grilled steak and seafood dinners.
He enjoyed cruising and ‘tire kicking’ for motorcycles, and every few years he would upgrade from dirt bike to Katanas to GSXR to Harley. When not working or enjoying his outdoor hobbies, he tutored local community college students in math and science. Many people attribute their success in and after college to Jonathan’s patient and conversational Socratic teaching style. He loved the challenge of learning and teaching new concepts, and advancing in his vocation to design, build, and teach the principles of engineering. Anyone who met Jonathan was touched by him. His endless talents and friendly, thoughtful nature inspired everyone who met him to be a better, happier version of themselves and enjoy all the best things life had to offer. We will always love and remember you, Jonathan.