Department of Michigan
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Gary L. Gibson
Department Commander 1990-1992, 2004-2005
Gary L. Gibson was mustered into the Sons of Union Veterans of
the Civil War as a member-at-large on September 1, 1978, at the
age of 16, after responding to an ad in Civil War Times Illustrated.
He credits Past Commander-in-Chief Fred Combs, Jr. with encouraging
him to join the SUVCW, and Past Commander-in-Chief Harry Gibbons
with encouraging him to take an active part in the purpose and mission
of the Order.
In 1982, Gary helped to organize the Gen. Benjamin Pritchard Camp
No. 20 of Kalamazoo, serving as its first Secretary-Treasurer. He
was elected Camp Commander in 1985, and served three more terms
at various times. He has also held the positions of Sr. Vice Commander,
Historian and Patriotic Instructor. On the Department level, he
has served as Chairman of the Department Council, Sr. Vice Commander,
and three terms as Michigan Department Commander. (1990-92, and
2004–05). He has held several committee chairmanships. Brother
Gibson was elected Commander of the Central Region in 1993.
On the national level, he has served in several offices, including:
Chaplain; Patriotic Instructor, raising over $3,000.00 for the GAR
Memorial Fund; Historian; History Book Coordinator, where he collected
and edited material, and then supervised the publishing of the History
of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in 1995; and Camp-at-Large
and Department Organizer, where he organized the Department of Oklahoma
and four camps-at-large - one in Oregon, two in North Carolina and
one in Georgia; and a three-year term on the Council of Administration.
He has also held chairmanships of several committees, including
the first Monuments and Memorials Grants Committee; the 1999 Committee
for the Observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Last Encampment
of the GAR; and the Program & Policy Committee, being the only
brother not to simultaneously hold the office of Sr. Vice Commander-in-Chief
while chairing that committee. He also served several years on the
Committee on Digest.
Gary claims his right to membership through the service of his
great-great grandfather, Sgt. Martin F. Horan. Martin enlisted in
Co. H, 4th Michigan Cavalry in July, 1862, in Grand Rapids, and
was discharged in July, 1865. The 4th Michigan Cavalry is most famous
for the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on May
10, 1865, at Irwinville, GA. Following the war, Martin married and
settled in Cheboygan, Michigan, where he was a Comrade of Ruddock
Post No. 224, GAR. Gary also has several other soldier ancestors,
including great-great-great grandfathers Rueben Wertman, Pvt., Co.
F, 72nd Ohio Infantry, mortally wounded at Shiloh; Myron Simpson,
Cpl., Co. K, 28th Michigan Infantry, and Comrade of Fitzgerald Post
No. 125, GAR, Hastings, MI; James A. Brew, Pvt., Co. A, 13th Michigan
Infantry and Comrade of Fitzgerald Post No. 125, GAR of Hastings,
MI; Great-great grand uncles John C. Horan, Pvt., Co. M, 10th Michigan
Cavalry and Pvt., Co. D, 8th Michigan Infantry and a Comrade of
John A. Logan Post No. 1, Michigan Soldiers' Home, Grand Rapids,
MI; Patrick Horan, Pvt., Co. H, 3rd Michigan Infantry, buried in
Wood Cemetery at the Milwaukee Soldiers Home.
Gary is an Associate Companion of the Ohio Commandery, Military
Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He is the current
(2006) President of the Michigan Society, Sons of the Revolution,
and also a Colonel in the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Brother Gibson graduated high school and college in the greater
Kalamazoo area. He is employed by Borgess Health (an affiliate of
Ascension Health, the largest private, non profit healthcare system
in the United States) as an Employment Representative. Gary is married
to the former Mary E. (Beth) Fahrenbacher, and they reside in Kalamazoo.
He is a collector of GAR and early SUVCW memorabilia, and recognized
as an accomplished historian on the Order. Brother Gibson is Life
Member No. 214.