Barbara Murphy’s dad passed away at 74. It had been 50 years since he served. The Murphy’s didn’t realize that Mr. Murphy had indeed earned funeral and burial services with his service. The Gibbons made sure to advise them of everything that was available to them. Among their first questions was “Did he serve?” From there, the Gibbons took care of everything to ensure the military honors were bestowed upon Mr. Murphy. Barbara remembers a moment during the service where the American Flag was being folded. From her vantage point, the flag was hovering above her father. Her description was “it took our breath away”. A United States Marine will often repeat the credo that “Once a Marine, you never stop being a Marine”. The ceremony was moving to every person there. Barbara shares that had it not been for the Gibbons Family, they would never have known that her father was entitled to these services that were earned by his service.
Veterans are entitled to many services including burial at no charge at a National Cemetery like the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. For additional information about Military benefits and honors, Pre-planning, At need planning or any questions you may have, contact us, 24 hours a day at Gibbons Family Funeral Home 773-777-3944 or visit www.gffh.com
John Gorski is Past President of the Center and member of the Board of Directors, states “We preserve our heritage”. We all promote the mission together with Gibbons Family Funeral Home, and many of the surrounding supportive businesses and services on the north side. The Gibbons Family has helped a lot of our members with their needs for services. Michael helps the families when they’ve suffered a loss, He helps them when the journey is difficult, both with his involvement at the funeral home and his involvement with the Irish American Heritage Center. The Gibbon’s Family understands our families and they fulfill their mission and ministry with kindness. They also understand the mission of the Irish American Heritage Center in the lives of the people here. Michael Gibbons is a former member of the Board. For generations, the Gibbon’s Family has worked closely with the Center to preserve Irish Heritage in Chicago, the US, and Ireland.
For nearly 70 years, the Gibbons Family have been honoring a tradition begun by their grandparents, Thomas and Anne Gibbons. Believing the service never really ends for the families they’ve served since opening their first funeral home, they began a tradition of “remembering” the loved ones of those families with a monthly mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago. Every month, a mass is celebrated remembering all the families and loved ones who passed away during that month. A month prior families receive a letter of notice to remind them of the mass of remembrance for the upcoming month of the anniversary of their loved one’s passing. These masses have brought families together for years to celebrate their loved ones together as a community. Lifelong friendships have developed as people have come to know one another through the commonality of celebrating the lives of their loved ones. Many people attend several of the masses each year commemorating different beloved members of their family.
A member of the third generation of the Gibbons Family, Michael, of Gibbon’s Family Funeral Home in Chicago states, “I’m so proud of the tradition started by our grandparents and continuing today. It is a privilege for our family to be trusted into our third generation serving generations of people throughout the Chicago area”. Adding “It’s nice to see people at St.Pat’s where we’re celebrating together happy memories”. Added Rev. Fr. Karl Langsdorf who often is the celebrant at the family masses, “Tommy and Ann Gibbons are smilin’ down on their kids and grandkids for continuing this wonderful tradition they started. I’m sure they’re so proud”.
Kathie Warta shares the experience of her family when preparing arrangements for her mother. Her mom suffered from memory loss and was not able to help. The family wished they spent a little bit more time discussing what her mom would have liked before her memory loss occurred. Kathie shares with people in similar circumstances that it is important to have some discussions before these decisions need to be made so the family has the peace of mind of knowing for sure that they are truly honoring the wishes of their loved one. Having those discussions when loss is not imminent makes it easier. Every family will face loss at some time. Fulfilling the wishes of a loved one is enormously rewarding to a family. Whether it is knowing apparel choices, songs, readings, remembrances or other elements offuneral planning, the direction to family members from a loved one creates an expression of love in itself that they can carry out. Families want to know they are honoring and celebrating a life in the manner in which it would be most appreciated.
Eileen O’Grady Newell refers to little details that make a great big difference. She understands how much stress grief causes. She understands that there are only a few days to account for everything that matters for a loved one who has a lifetime of important moments to consider.
“I feel like they knew what we wanted before we said it.” And the Gibbons Family does know. Mostly because they listen. Something that is “important” and something “that would be nice” are things they pay close attention to so they can ensure those things occur, In Eileen’s case, when entering the cemetery, her father observed that it would be so nice after driving past the house, it would be so nice for them to pass his daughter’s resting place as well. In the blink of an eye the procession passed the children’s section where his daughter resting place was. It was a little thing that meant so much because a family listened to a family they were serving. That’s what a family owned business does. They treat you like family. Because you are.
For just a little while, this is “home” for the families the Gibbons Family serves.
This place needed to feel like home to all of our families. “It was important to my father that people felt this way” says Michael Gibbons. “This was our home. We lived upstairs.”Katie Sweeney confirmed that this warm environment was home for the days they needed it to be. It was so inviting during a difficult time. “It made it a little bit easier here” Katie shares.
At Gibbons Family Funeral Home, we look for every way we can make the process of celebrating the life of your loved one an experience that families can share in an environment that makes it accommodating to your family, your friends and neighbors. It’s among the most meaningful and purposeful thing we do to continue serving generations of families who entrust us with their loved ones when it matters most.