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Dept Michigan
Past Department Commander's Badge

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.

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  Last updated on July 20, 2006 6:25 PM - webmaster