The late Larry Gibbs was 'tougher than nails'

One of Golden's homeless residents died on July 20

Posted 8/5/19

One of Larry Gibbs' favorite possessions was his little transistor radio. “It wasn't anything fancy,” said the late Gibbs' friend Darin Barton of Golden, “but it got him through the days and …

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The late Larry Gibbs was 'tougher than nails'

One of Golden's homeless residents died on July 20

Posted

One of Larry Gibbs' favorite possessions was his little transistor radio.

“It wasn't anything fancy,” said the late Gibbs' friend Darin Barton of Golden, “but it got him through the days and the nights.”

Lawrence Andrew Gibbs, 50, died in Golden on July 20. He was homeless, and aquaintances at his funeral said that he died from heat stroke.

Although it is unknown when or why Gibbs chose Golden to be his home, he was a part of the fabric of the community. For decades, through all the seasons, passersby would see him hanging out — quietly sitting — near the parking lot entrances on 12th Street between Arapahoe Street and Miner's Alley.

“I'm pretty sure all these people are strangers to each other,” said Golden resident Mike Simpson at Gibbs' memorial service on Aug. 1, “but he knew everybody.”

The service was hosted by the First United Methodist Church of Golden in partnership with Golden's Calvary Church. About 200 people attended the service — community members ranging from business owners to police officers, and elected officials to Gibbs' friends also living on Golden's streets.

“It's powerful to see such a diverse community here, all celebrating Larry,” said Pastor Susan Otey during the Golden Community Table lunch that followed the memorial service. “That is what creates a community where people are honored and respected, no matter who you are.”

Gibbs mostly kept to himself and was a private person, but he made a few good friends during his time in Golden. One of them is Colton Wale, who met Gibbs about five years ago. Wale lives on Lookout Mountain and would ride his bike into Golden a couple of times a week to visit with Gibbs.

“He could always cheer you up,” Wale said. “If you were feeling down and out about yourself, he would remind you that it could always be worse.”

Lester Cahill, a former Golden resident, agreed.

“We'd talk about anything and everything. He was just a good friend,” Cahill said. “I'd help him out, and he'd help me out.”

James Murray of Golden met Gibbs about 10 years ago. They would see each other when Murray was out walking his dog in the Golden area. A friendship formed, and when Murray lost his home in 2013, Gibbs was the friend he could talk with about the day-to-day struggles of experiencing homelessness, Murray said.

“He never complained and was very strong until the end,” Murray said. He added that despite Gibbs' good nature and soft-spoken manner, “he was tougher than nails.”

Larry Gibbs, homelessness, Golden Colroado, Darin Barton, First United Methodist Church of Golden, Christy Steadman, heat stroke

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