Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Stephen Gibbs J.D. ’83 retired Resident of San Jose Died September 20, 2011, in his Naglee Park home. He was 56 years old. Judge Gibbs was born on April 3, 1955 in San Francisco, California to Joan Nellis and Robert Gibbs. He attended Port Jefferson High School in Port Jefferson, New York. He continued his education at the State University of New Paltz in New Paltz, New York, graduating in 1977 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Geography. (On October 13, 1978, he was in a car accident and became a quadriplegic.(Realizing that his degree in geography would not support the financial needs of a quadriplegic, he packed up his van and drove out to California to attend Law School at the University of Santa Clara. As he was fond of saying, he made good use of his geography degree by making sure he moved to the kind of climate that would best suit his physical condition. He graduated cum laude from Santa Clara in three years and was an Articles Editor on the Law Review. He has had two articles published in the Santa Clara Law Review. Despite his achievements, he was unable to find a law firm willing to hire a quadriplegic, so he worked as a solo practitioner for 18 years. After receiving the top score on the written and oral examinations for a position as an Administrative Law Judge, Mr. Gibbs became Judge Gibbs when he was made an Administrative Law Judge with the California Unemployment Board of Appeals in 2001. Judge Gibbs retired from that position in 2008. As a lawyer, judge and ordinary citizen, Judge Gibbs always worked passionately to make sure that people who were disadvantaged did not suffer adverse consequences because of their disadvantage, whether the disadvantage stemmed from disability, economic condition, gender, race, color, religion or age. At the same time, he encouraged everyone he met to meet life’s challenges head on but to always meet those challenges with their sense of humor intact. He has left behind many friends, loved ones and admirers. Judge Gibbs is survived by his loving partner of 22 years, Elizabeth Johnson; his mother Joan Fox; his Fox brothers Tom, Andrew, Jerry, Kevin, Michael and Steve and his sister, Bernadette Christie, along with many nieces and nephews. One brother, Dan Fox, predeceased him.