HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania – Nita passed peacefully on Saturday, February 24.
Nita Elizabeth Laird was born in State College, Pennsylvania on July 6, 1926.
She married Lewis Walters Gibb, Jr. on August 10, 1944 in Montgomery, Alabama. Following the Second World War they began their life together in Rahway, New Jersey.
They raised three daughters, Sandra Gibb (Thomas) Collins, Donna Gibb Marriott and Betsy Gibb Traficante and one son, Jeffrey Lewis Gibb (Patricia Leonard). They felt blessed to have 11 grandchildren, Chris (Lisa) Collins, Jull Collins, Kim (Steve) O’Kresik, Pam (Rod) Petrosky, Elizabeth (Robert) Louvelle, John (Christine) Marriott, Mark (Maryann) Marriott, Jennifer Garcia, Charlie Traficante, Melissa (Brian) Orme and Rebecca (Chad) Wisler; plus 17 great-grandchildren, Ashley (John) Isello, Ethan Collins, Tia Collins, Kiersten O’Kresik, Josh O’Kresik, Stephanie O’Kresik, Brent O’Kresik, Ashley Marriott, Chelsey Marriott, Madeline Petrosky, Jeremiah Orme, Lorelai Orme, Carson Orme, Ella Wisler, Drew Wisler and Eli Wisler and two great-great-grandchildren, Ethan Fisher and Noelle Fisher. Nita also leaves behind her sister, Mary Joyce Grahl, seven nieces and nephews and their growing families and Sally Bechtel, a long-time friend for the past 85 years plus a host of close friends who will miss her dearly.
Nita is pre-deceased by her parents, George and Elma Laird; her mother-in-law, Mabel C. Gibb; her sister, Judith Laird Mills; two sons-in law, John Marriott and Chuck Traficante; her sister-in-law, Jane Worcester; brother-in-law, Win Worcester and her husbands, Lewis W. Gibb, Jr. and William Adams.
Nita, along with her husband Lewis, were co-founders and long-time members of the Central Jersey Road Runners Club in Cranford, New Jersey. While more of a jogger than a runner, you could always count on Nita to be smiling and encouraging everyone during the entire race. Nita and Lew, along with daughter, Betsy and son-in-law, Chuck, formed and ran Racetiming Systems – one of the premier road race finish line coordination businesses in the tri-state area.
Lew retired in 1985 and Nita and he were able to travel frequently. Among Nita’s favorites were Bermuda and Vermont; where she was able to learn to cross-country skiing. Most of all she enjoyed the extra time they were able to spend with their children and grandchildren.
After 48 wonderful and fulfilling years of marriage, Nita became widowed on May 29, 1992. She bravely determined to find ways to remain cheerful, active and positive. In that vein she attended her 50th high school reunion back in State College, Pennsylvania and as providence would have it she became reacquainted with Bill Adams, a former high school sweetheart! They married in 1994. Nita was thrilled to return to State College. Bill and she traveled to Hawaii and Alaska as well as Penn State Bowl Games. Bill’s five adult children, George Adams, William Adams, Jr., Shirley Adams, Nancy Harpster, Janet Adams and their families quickly became a loving and caring second family to Nita. This bond became even stronger following Bill’s death in 1999, when they comforted and met Nita’s needs and continued overseeing her well being.
In addition to many thousands of hours spend volunteering at both Rahway Hospital and Mount Nittany Medical Center, Nita enjoyed singing in the choirs at First Presbyterian Church, State College Presbyterian Church and Half Moon Christian Fellowship Church. Nita also sang with the Rahway Women’s Choral Club. Nita’s other passions and pursuits included serving as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church, taking care of her many beloved dogs, any athletic event at Penn State College (especially tailgating and football games), taking care of grandchildren, family reunions and beach vacations with her family.
In 2013 Nita moved to Hermitage, Pennsylvania to join her daughters and their families and in 2014 decided to become a resident at Countryside, a nearby assisted living facility. Once again Nita’s enthusiasm for life prevailed! She attended New Virginia Methodist Church, made new friends, enjoyed her grandchildren’s special events, movies, shopping, dining out, walks in the park and holiday celebrations. She also became fully involved in the many activities Countryside had to offer, especially Bingo (she was a frequent winner!) arts and craft projects, Bible study and church services, the weekly Friday fish fry outing and most of all, visits from her cherished dog, Chloe. The staff at Countryside found her to be quite a Live Wire!!
Perhaps the best way to describe Nita’s life is with the following words from a dear friend: “I’ve loved her for so many reasons. She was the women I looked up to and loved because she was the person I wanted to be when I got to be her age and I got to that age and she continued to be that woman! She was amazing and always will be in my heart.”
Nita passed peacefully on Saturday, February 24 and we imagine that her first words upon entering Heaven were, “What time is choir practice?”
Arrangements are being handled by J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home.