Soon after we met at the Soldiers’ program Jack and Helen Gibson invited me to their home to discuss the things of the Lord. That began many visits. Once entering their door it was impossible to get away as every time I mentioned leaving, Jack would ask, “Where you goin’?” Finally, as late as mid-night, I would finally get away and head home. They were the most hospitable people I had ever met and wanted to talk only about the Lord and what he was doing in lives. But I learned more than Christianity from them; I learned the importance of people and how to build relations with them.
One night I called Jack on the phone and after talking awhile, I asked him, “Jack, what is your goal in life?” That was a big question to be concerned with for a young guy still just getting underway in life. Jack’s answer bowled me over me with its profundity and relevance. “To please the Lord.” he replied. That response struck a chord with me and solidified a lifelong friendship.
Together we strategized on how to evangelize others and how to run the bible study effectively in the Gibsons’ home. We prayed for young people we met that the Lord would work in their lives. To Jack and Helen, the Word of God was the standard for life. They read the Word, studied the Word, talked about the Word, memorized the Word and lived the Word.
They bought a large beautiful mansion adjacent to Cherokee Park in Louisville and it became a
center for young college and career singles to meet, have bible study and socialize. Several of them, including one who would later become my permanent roommate lived there at 1616 Cherokee Road with Jack and Helen for awhile. Altogether, I know of at least three marriages that resulted from that time at “1616.”
Jack was working as a factory rep for Best Lock Company and his territory was most of Kentucky and West Virginia. I would take a day off from work and go with him on some of his trips. We passed the time driving with talk about the bible and what God was doing in lives of people we knew.
I kidded Helen about being on her last leg. But soon after meeting her, you would forget that she had only one limb from a burn injury in her youth. She was so joyful, so full of life and so completely un-self conscious. Helen was totally focused on the need to win others to Christ. She made it her business to meet my mother and establish a friendship with her. That really impressed me. I credit her with a lot of influence toward my marriage with Judy. Our second daughter is named after Helen.
Later, when we moved to Birmingham, Helen and Jack visited often and helped us find our first
home here and our friendship has lasted over the years. Jack went to be with the Lord a few years ago.
I know I will see them both on the other side someday.