Unlike Bad, Bad Leroy Brown who was from the south side of Chicago, Harry “Hoot” Gibson is a proud north sider from Libertyville. That explains his affinity for everything about the Chicago Cubs, but it doesn’t explain his nickname. Known as “Hoot” since he was four years old, his nickname apparently was derived from the famous cowboy actor of the same name. Anyhow, Hoot it was and Hoot it is!
His work life began with a sanitation company owned by family members; he eventually would be a supervisor with that company before it was purchased by USA Waste (later Waste Management). He became an employee of that company and would remain in the business for 30 years. He was able to retire in May 2000 at the early age of 47 and headed for Arizona.
Hoot and his late wife, Geri, originally built a place in Mesa. He actually designed and built his own pool through an outfit called BYOP (Build Your Own Pool)!
Hoot and Geri were “living the dream” with lots of fun times including several getaways to Hawaii until she was tragically struck with a very aggressive cancer in 2006. She passed within six months of the diagnosis and Hoot’s life was turned upside down. He sold the place in Mesa and moved into another home in the Valley. He also bought a place in Show Low as a getaway location where he spent some time fishing for largemouth bass and deciding what to do next.
It was in Show Low that Hoot discovered senior softball; he also met two Sun Lakes players who had summer homes there, Billy Kee and John Seigla. They in turn introduced him to our program. Hoot’s now in his second year with us and is greatly enjoying the camaraderie as well as the game itself.
As in many situations like Hoot’s, there are always memories of the good times. Hoot recalls never missing a football game played by his son Harry and that includes away games. That period of time extends from Pop Warner football through high school and college. That’s an awful lot of games! In fact, Hoot coached Pop Warner football for several years and proudly remembers Harry scoring the winning touchdown in a championship game that he coached.
Hoot and Geri also enjoyed nearly 20 cruises, usually to the Caribbean while it was miserable winter weather in Chicago! In addition, they were big fans of all the Chicago pro teams and attended numerous Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and Cubbie games (you can imagine Hoot’s elation with the Cubs World Series win this year)!
More recently Hoot met Janet Robertson at a Beatles Tribute Concert. Janet was born in England and actually saw the “real Beatles” in concert at the height of their popularity as a young girl in 1964. She was one of those screaming girls in the front row! Happily, she’s brought “life back into his life.”