Amoz Everett Gibson was born in Washington
D.C. to Deborah and William Gibson on August 3, 1918. His father had trained
for the ministry at Howard University and became a Christian Science healer.
In 1912, while attending a spiritualist meeting, was directed to a Bahá'í meeting
that was being held in the same building. After hearing Mr. Harlan Ober speak
for five minutes, Mr. Gibson embraced the Faith. That same evening, his mother
also accepted that Bahá’u’lláh was the return of Christ. *
Amoz often attended children's classes and
went to Feast with his father. Because of few youth activities, he didn't enroll
in the Faith until 1944. He received his education in the Washington public
schools and in 1940, graduated from Miner Teachers College (now the University
of the District of Columbia) with a B.Sc. in education, majoring in social studies.
He married a schoolmate, Mary Elizabeth Lane in 1941. While being employed at
the Washington Navy Yard, he was inducted into the United States Army in 1944.
He served his military duties in Europe and in the Pacific on Okinawa.
Returning home in 1946, he became an active
member of the Washington D.C. Bahá'í Community. He was elected to the Local Spiritual
Assembly of Washington D.C. and served as treasurer and later as chairman. He
was also on regional committees and was elected as national convention delegate.
He traveled to Mexico with his family, falling
in love with its people; two years latter, with the aid of veterans education
and rental income, earned a Master's Degree, summa cum laude, in geography from
Mexico City College (now the University of the Americas). He continued to work
in the education field as a teacher, first at Browne Junior High School, then
later as head teacher at Blow School Annex to Browne; eventually, he became a
teacher of geography at Miner Teachers College.
In 1952 he and his wife resigned from their
jobs and along with their three children, William, Kenneth and Donald, packed
up their belongings and pioneered to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona
and New Mexico. Having no jobs, they stayed with James Stone, a pioneer to Gallup,
New Mexico. Amoz washed cars for a living. One day one of his customers, having
learned of his situation, immediately arranged an interview for him with the director
of the Gallup office of the Bureau of Indian Affaires. Within a week, he arrived
with his family in Pinon, Arizona, near the center of the Navajo Reservation and
close to the Hopi Reservation; it was an ideal pioneering location.
First, he made friends and adjusted to educating
older children who had never had any formal education before, most of them speaking
very little English. A visit by Meherangiz Munsiff and her daughter, Jyoti set
the stage for the first Bahá'í study class. The first Navajo tribe member to
become a Bahá'í was Sadye Joe, in 1957.
Amoz was a member of the American Indian Service
Committee and encouraged others to come to the reservations and pioneer. The
physical conditions were primitive, the roads were bad, the weather was often
difficult, encouraging a strong sense of unity and cooperation among the Bahá'ís
and their neighbors. His fourth child, Nancy was born.
In 1960, Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum visited
the reservation, arousing the interests of its citizens; they became aware that
the Bahá'i Faith was of international importance. Others soon entered the Bahá'í
Faith, notably Chester and Franklin Kahn and their families. Their desire to
share the message of Bahá'u'lláh lead to a large gathering of Indians at Pine
Springs. Several thousand Indians met with the Hand of the Cause of God Dhikru'lláh
Khadem, who with his loving spirit brought everyone close to Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings;
in just two days, over 100 declared.
During 1959, Amoz was appointed to the Auxiliary
Board for protection; and in 1960, he was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly
of the United States. He traveled extensively and even represented the United
States during the dedication of the Bahá'i Temple in Uganda in 1961, taking the
opportunity to teach the Faith in villages near Kampala, making lasting friends
among the African believers.** He served on several different committees and
also traveled to Jamaica and Haiti.
Amoz took a job in Wingate, New Mexico to teach
English, residing in Gallup. In 1960, he was appointed the new principal of Bread
Springs Day School.
In 1963, Amoz attended the first International
Convention in Haifa, and was elected to the first membership of the Universal
House of Justice. His family was at that time, under the instructions of Ruhíyyih
Khánum, making plans to pioneer to Africa. Thus, the transition was already underway,
and leaving their beloved Navajo Indians was not a difficult move. Amoz took
up his duties and was appointed convener of the Department of Holy Places, he
eagerly pursued his duties.
Inspired by the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, he
used his vacations to travel-teach and stimulated the friends in Holland, France,
Italy, Mexico and the United States, particularly in the southern states and on
In 1978, he traveled to the Cradle of the Faith,
Iran, visiting Shiraz, Tehran, Isfahan, and Tabriz; he even viewed from outside,
Fort Tabarsi. He continued his travels that same summer in the United States,
taxing his strength to the utmost.***
"He urged the friends to concentrate
their efforts, to select one person to pray for and to teach, to shower with love
and gifts. He volunteered to take back to the Holy Land the names of those people
and pray for them in the Shrines. He pleaded for pioneers, named the countries
where they were needed and entreated the friends to seize the bounty of assisting
Amoz became ill while
visiting San Francisco in August 1980, and upon returning to Haifa, his illness
was diagnosed as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
treatment, he underwent a year of complete remission; he often showered the medical
staff at the clinic where he was being treated with love, gifts, and brought them
flowers. When his leukemia reactivated, he knew that the end was near. He decided
to make one last visit to each of his children who by then were pioneering in
different parts of the world. He was able to visit the Mother Temple of Australia
at Antipodes. He then went on to New Zealand for Nancy and her husband, Jonathan,
then to the United States, and in Oakland, California, visited Kenneth and Chehreh.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, he visited Cheryl, Don, Lanya and Marla. In Washington
D.C. he was joined by Bill. This was all accomplished by his will and determination,
assisted by prayers.
He was no longer able to fulfill
his duties and resigned from the Universal House of Justice after faithfully serving
it for nineteen years. His wife described
his last days: "It seemed he had little desire to remain on this plane of existence.
Despite this, out of compassion for those around him, he compelled his spirit
to shine brightly and gladly till the very end." 
Amoz Gibson passed away on
May 14, 1982 in Haifa, just after having the bounty of praying in the three Holy
Shrines with his wife, four children, one of his daughters-in-law and two of his
* See Bahá'í Teaching Deepening Series,
Louis G. Gregory.
** See Bahá'í Teaching Deepening Series,
*** Amoz Gibson visited Reno, Nevada on June 12, 1978, presenting
a talk at the Holiday Inn, 1000 E. 6th Street. The author met Amoz Gibson at the
Reno-Tahoe International Airport and with Frank Esposito and Allen Almo,
had lunch at Lyons on South Virginia Street.
**** Frank Esposito and his wife Barbara pioneered to Bermuda
in 1981 where he became one of the first elected members of the National Spiritual
Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Bermuda.
1. The author personally gave Amoz Gibson several names of family
members and acquaintances for payer requests at the Holy Shines, including those
of Catherine Hammit- Thomas of Carpenteriea, California, presently pioneering
in Uruguay; Thomas Grant, now pioneering in Japan: Naomi Fine of Santa Cruz, California,
Dr. Christie Bonds of Reno, Nevada (then working at the Bahá'í World Center),
Valentine and Elsie Francis ( grandparents, now deceased) of Chico, California,
and parents Norman and Lois Francis of Quincy, California.
2. The quotation was taken from The Bahá'í
World, vol. XVIII, p. 666. In Memoriam