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Resident story: The Gibson Family Dynasty at Mt Gravatt

TriCare Retirement Communities are wonderfully diverse, and everyone has a story to tell. It is a privilege for staff who get to hear from residents first-hand – in fact, the tales are so rich that they deserve a bigger audience. We hope these blogs provide insight into the amazing lives of our remarkable residents. This week, it’s a family affair as we meet the Gibson and Nalder clans, whose adventure with Mt Gravatt Retirement Community began over twenty years ago!

It all started at the turn of the millennium when Gwen and Alec Gibson moved into the Mt Gravatt Retirement Community in May of 2000. While Gwen and Alec’s family members helped with the move and deciding on the placement of the furniture in their new home, the family were all impressed when the stylistic intervention of then-Village Manager Cheryl resulted in a much roomier arrangement for the lounge room. It was an auspicious beginning, and the Gibsons certainly started out as they meant to go on.

At the centre of the action

Gwen and Alec quickly settled into village life. In a sad turn of events, Gwen tragically passed away in late 2001, but Alec was able to find the support of the community and continued to participate in the choir, which he enjoyed for many of years.

Just five years after joining TriCare Mt Gravatt, Alec was joined by his two sisters, Dorothy and Margaret Gibson. The sisters made the transition effortlessly, having visited Gwen and Alec many times in the intervening years. Both ladies quickly became enthusiastic attendees at most of the village functions, while Margaret was a valuable member of the Knitting Group. There was never a dull moment as Dorothy and Margaret hosted many functions for both family and friends, using the Activities Room for such things as Family Reunions and other Gibson Family soirees. Dorothy, Margaret, and Alec made the most of the village facilities, organising many Christmas gatherings over the years for the broader family in the Sun Lounge and swimming pool areas.

It wasn’t all parties and leisure time for the Gibsons; however, for most of their time in the Community Alec, Dorothy and Margaret were valued Lifeline volunteers. Alec used his skills to check over 40,000 watches that had been donated to Lifeline so that those which worked could be sold in the Lifeline shops. Alec also provided the service of fitting new batteries to the watches of residents at only the wholesale price of a battery. Dorothy and Margaret spent many hours each week sorting and packaging mountains of foreign coins which Lifeline also retailed. All three were keen supporters and contributors to the many “craft and cookery” stalls held on many occasions after the “Coffee and Chat” mornings. Dorothy crocheted doilies, Margaret knitted various items, and Alec made wooden toys and trinkets in the work shed by the Mt Gravatt Residence “lake”.

The Nalders join the community

The Gibson clan at TriCare Mt Gravatt expanded again in 2007 when Alec’s daughter Pam and her husband, Charles Nalder moved in. Like their family members, the Nalders settled in quickly, already familiar faces around the village. Pam had previously run well-attended card-making classes each month with the valuable assistance of Beryl Farqhuar, while Charles was a volunteer bus driver when required. Pam and Charles often joined Alec, Dorothy, and Margaret in attending the many village functions as well as enjoying the three-course evening meals in the Dining Room on a semi-regular basis. And of course, it wasn’t long before Pam and Charles were fully-fledged members of the village social scene, joining several social groups. The family also enjoyed joining with other residents to travel as far afield as Canberra and Longreach on the frequent bus trips that Pam and Charles organised for many years.

The Gibson family certainly “did their bit” to attend and promote social events within the village. Dorothy. Margaret and Charles were regular attendees at the fortnightly ecumenical Community church services where Pam remains the co-ordinator. Alec, Dorothy, Margaret, and Pam all regularly contributed to the craft and cookery stalls held after Monday’s “Coffee and Chat” events. Charles joined Alec in serving on the Residents’ Committee for many years, including as chairperson for several years. Alec, Dorothy, and Margaret never missed a village Anzac Day service with not only Alec taking part, but Alec’s son, Raymond, a retired Air Commodore, acting as the guest speaker on occasion.

Charles and Pam Nalder

A lasting legacy

With such an active life in the Community, it’s unsurprising to know that a special event for all the family was the village’s celebration of Dorothy’s 100th birthday in 2012. While Pam and Charles are still a significant part of Mt Gravatt Retirement Community, Alec passed away in 2013, his sister Margaret in 2015, and Dorothy in 2018 at the remarkable age of 106. We want to thank the Gibson and Nalder families for the wonderful contributions of time, friendship, and talent that they provided over the years, and continue to provide through Pam and Charles, to make the Village community a vibrant and welcoming place for all.

To find out more about Mt Gravatt Retirement Community or book a private tour, click here.

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