Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1994 Volume 32 Number 2, Pages 75–77

The Gibb Family: Its Contributions to Berwyn and Trinity Presbyterian Church

Barbara Fry

Page 75

With the death of Kitty Gibb on March 6, 1994, it is appropriate to look back at the Gibb family with recollections of the love and support they gave to Trinity Prebyterian Church in Berwyn. Kitty Gibb was quiet and gracious; Charlie Gibb was flamboyant and energetic. Both were people of their time who worked with continual devotion to their church and to their community.

Kitty Gibb was born in Berwyn in 1907, living her earliest years in a house that used to stand near to the Langs, on Berwyn Avenue. Her parents were Michael and Hattie Tarlbert Wolf, who came to Berwyn in 1904. Mr. Wolf worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1914 the Wolfs moved to their newly built home at First and Woodside avenues. An older sister, Florence Wolf (Barnes) was also well loved at Trinity. (She was also an active member of the Tredyffrin Easttown History Club.)

Kitty Wolf came to Trinity as a toddler. In an interview she recalled bringing home a hyacinth from Sunday School when she was about five years old. She attended the Easttown public schools, graduating from the joint high school in 1916. In the next few years she commuted to Philadelphia to work in an office of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Page 76

Always recognized for her hand work, young Kitty Wolf began knitting for the Red Cross during World War I. She recalled for us the great number of home economics classes in the Easttown schools when she was a student.

In 1923, the Berywn Bank sent representatives to Goldey Beacom Business College in Delaware to find help. There they found and hired young Charles E. Gibb, who would spend the rest of his life in Berwyn. Kitty Wolf and Charlie Gibb were married in 1928. He early on became a worker for the church and the community. He became Superintendent of the Sunday School, and coached a basketball team. He was elected to the Session, and served as Clerk of Session for many years and worked with the Trustees. But although he held all of the great offices of the church, no detail of the workings of the church was too minor for his attention.

The young Gibb couple also joined Trinity's Young Married Group. During the Second World War, this group earned great acclaim for their minstrel shows, under the direction of Dot Buzzell. They entertained the wounded soldiers at Valley Forge Military Hospital and the World War I veterans at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital, and performed other shows to earn money for the church and community. Kitty Gibb helped stage the dances; Charlie Gibb performed skits on his own.

Trinity was bursting its seams as the war ended. Studies, excavations, and architectural advice all led to the conclusion that what was needed was a substantial addition to the building which had served since 1892. Thus the Fellowship Hall was conceived, and Charlie Gibb was a moving force in the project. The result was the construction of the Fellowship Hall, kitchen, and office wing, completed in 1953.

Charlie Gibb also moved to more and more prominence in the community. He ultimately became the executive vice president of the National Bank of Berwyn. He was treasurer of the committee to celebrate Berwyn's 75th anniversary in 1952. He served as secretary-treasurer of the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors. He served on the Fire Company's board. He was elected to the Easttown School Board.

In the meantime, Kitty Gibb was raising the two Gibb children, Barbara and Teddy. She taught Sunday School. She had worked with the women's organizations since her early years in the King's Daughters. Now she helped with the church suppers and craft fairs, and served on the Women's Board as treasurer.

Eventually the Gibbs moved into the old Wolf home on Woodside Avenue.

Charlie Gibb also collected antiques and worked with the Men's Garden Club of Berwyn, and shared it all with us. He brought the Garden Club's flower shows into Fellowship Hall. And Kitty Gibb was always known for her fine hand work.

They both contributed creatively to the church. And it was Charlie Gibb who put the church Archives in order.

Page 77

Their daughter, Barbara Gibb Webster, continued the gift. Her truly fine paintings that hang in the choir loft during important church seasons were completed while she was a student. Her children's murals give warmth to the nursery and to the children and youth rooms throughout the church. She has helped to preserve church history with her artistic drawings from valuable old church pictures.

The Gibb's only son, Teddy, was killed in a tragic accident on Route 30 in Devon when he was home from college. The church and community mourned his loss along with the family.

Charlie Gibb was here to help and advise us again in the construction of the Educational Building in the 70s. He died in 1976.

His widow stayed in her home for a while, but her last years were spent with her daughter, Barbara Webster. The four Webster children, Nancy, Tom, Michelle, and John, have a proud heritage in their grandparents.

Trinity Presbyterian Church owes much of what it is today to Charlie and Kitty Gibb.

Education Building Trinity Presbyterian Church drawing by Barbara Gibb Webster

This article was originally written, at the request of Joyce Hoy, for "The Belfry", published by the Trinity Presbyterian Church. It is included here, with some minor revision, by permission.


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