In Loving Memory – John and Sandra Gibbons

In Loving Memory – John and Sandra Gibbons

Harold John Gibbons was born on the 3rd of December, 1936, in Lake Cargelligo, NSW. John grew up on the family farm, living through droughts, floods, dust storms and mouse plagues. He learned resilience and resourcefulness, which meant he always loved fixing things and making things.

At age 21, while working in Papua New Guinea, John became ill with polio and had to return to Australia to recover. Although doctors said he would never walk again, John was determined to do so. In 1959 he walked down the aisle on crutches to marry his first wife Suzanne.

Sue and John had two children, Peter and Julie. After some time living in Sydney, they moved to Wagga Wagga, where John started a small engine sales and repair business.

Sue passed away in 1990, and John married Sandra and they made a new family together with Angela, who was still at home at the time.

Sandra Gai Podmore was born on the 12th of February, 1942 in Milton, NSW. She grew up in the northern suburbs of Sydney, attending school in Dee Why and North Sydney.

Sandra went on to pursue business studies and secured a job at the Bank of NSW Superannuation Fund.

In 1966, Sandra married Doug and had three children, Jeffrey, Peter and Angela.
Sandra experienced a number of trials, including a serious horseback riding incident, the loss of both her parents within six months of each other, and the end of her first marriage in the mid-1980s.

Then, Sandra met John and they were married, and together made their home in Belfrayden, south of Wagga Wagga, in 1992.

John and Sandra were known for their friendliness and hospitality, with many visitors stopping in at their Belfrayden home.

When the Uranquinty SDARM church was officially opened in September 1994, John and Sandra were among those present. They decided to make it their church home and became members in March, 1995.

Some people referred to John as the “Mayor of Belfrayden,” a title that brought a smile to John’s face. Although he needed walking sticks for support, he was active and could often be found working on some project.

Sandra was also busy, and could be seen at many church camps. She would often ring a Bible worker in one of the states around Australia with a contact she had made, and she gave away many pieces of Christian literature.

Several years ago, after finding that John’s health required more care, it was decided that John and Sandra would move to Cooranbong, NSW. John would find a place in the Avondale House nursing home, where he could receive care as needed, and Sandra would take up residence a very short distance away in one of the village cottages.

Both Sandra and John still enjoyed receiving visits and were active in speaking of their faith to anyone who would listen. The pandemic restrictions in 2020 and beyond made this more difficult, but that didn’t deter them.

Sandra’s health began to decline and in 2021 she suffered a stroke. After this she also found a room in Avondale House, and she and John would spend time together every day. Then in 2023 Sandra suffered a heart attack, which left her bedridden.

John also had a few health issues and spent time in and out of hospital. He once confided in a friend that he worried about what Sandra would do after he was gone.

Sandra’s health continued to decline, and on Tuesday the 19th of September, 2023, she went quietly to rest.

On Thursday one of our ministers visited John to speak with him after Sandra’s death. John’s son and daughter were there and John was having a few grapes for dinner. The minister prayed with them before leaving.

The next day, Friday the 22nd of September, we were shocked to learn that John had passed away overnight—only three days after his beloved Sandra.

John and Sandra Gibbons were laid to rest on the 28th of September, in the Avondale Cemetery, Central Rd, Cooranbong. Their family and friends gathered to share tributes and memories. They will be missed by all who knew them, and we await the blessed reunion of the Resurrection Day.