Obituary | Dale L. Gibbs

· 3 min read

Obituary | Dale L. Gibbs

Color portrait of Dale L. Gibbs on black campus background

Dale L. Gibbs, former professor of architecture at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, died Nov. 4.

Gibbs was born Oct. 24, 1923, in Neligh, Nebraska, to Cyrus and Irene Gibbs. He grew up in Lincoln and graduated from College View High School in 1941. Gibbs served in the 5th Air Force during World War II in New Guinea and Japan via Biak Island; Leyte Gulf; Manila, Philippines; Okinawa and Iwa Jima. After the war, he returned to the University of Nebraska, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and Bachelor of Architecture in 1950. He won a fellowship to Yale University, where he earned a Master of Arts in 1952.

Gibbs married Katherine “Kitty” Lilly on April 24, 1965. They had two daughters, Caitlin and Alison.

At Yale, Gibbs studied under Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, Vincent Scully and the modernist painter Josef Albers. At the University of California, Berkeley, he took post-graduate courses with art historian Herschel Chipp and painter Frank Lobdell. He later earned a doctoral degree in architecture history and theory from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gibbs returned to Lincoln and founded an architectural practice with classmate Roy Neumann, which continued for about four decades. He designed more than 100 buildings in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and California. He taught at Nebraska from 1954 to 1996, serving as chair of the College of Architecture’s graduate committee for many years. Gibbs taught courses in design, history and theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is remembered for engaging his students in design situations with clients and communities, including the development of the Omaha Riverfront (1969-72) and the first conceptual plan for Lincoln’s Haymarket (1965). Gibbs was director of the London Program in 1973, 1979, 1987 and 1992. In 1979, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for his collaborative work with Sir Hugh Casson at the Royal College of Art.

Gibbs received numerous teaching awards from the University of Nebraska Foundation, UNL Parents Association and Architecture Alumni Association. After retirement, he received the Doc Elliot Award for exhibiting “a record of exemplary service, whose caring has made a difference in the lives of students.” He was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1987 and received the Harry F. Cunningham Gold Medal from the Nebraska Society of Architects in 2001. He was a trustee emeritus of the Sheldon Art Association.

Gibbs is survived by his daughter, Caitlin, and son-in-law, Michael Shear, of Washington, D.C., and two grandchildren, Sam and Sophie Shear. He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Katherine; his daughter, Alison; his sister, Barbara Vose Koop; and brothers-in-law Bob Vose and Del Koop. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews and their spouses: Stephen Vose (JoAnne) of Middlebury, Vermont; Kathleen Koop Seitel (Alan) of Corpus Christi, Texas; Marcella Dresdale (Richard) of Watch Hill, Rhode Island; and John R. Lilly (Sharon) of Greenwich, Connecticut.

A private family burial will be held. A remembrance event will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Professor Dale Gibbs Honors Scholarship c/o University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508.

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