Lester Leon Gibson was born on May 28, 1949, to the parents of Olester and Blossie Marie Gibson in Teague, Texas. He was the only child born into this union.
He spent his early years balancing time between Teague and Fairfield, Texas where he learned the value of education and the importance of family. Lester had a close relationship with his fraternal and paternal grandparents. (Garrett and Gibson) Although he was an only child, he had many cousins who affectionately called him “Lester” or simply “Leon.”
Lester Leon Gibson began his formal education in the Teague Independent School District. He attended Booker T. Washington Middle School, and completed his freshmen year at Booker T. Washington High School, in Teague, Texas. In 1964, his mother accepted a teaching position in Waco. He and his mother relocated to Waco, Texas where he attended and graduated from A.J. Moore High School in 1967. After graduation, he continued his post-secondary education at Prairie View A&M University.
Following a brief stint at Prairie View, he returned to Waco before enlisting in the United States Navy and serving in the Vietnam War. He often talked about his time spent on the U.S.S. Tolovana. After honorably serving his country, he returned to Waco, Texas, and was united in holy matrimony to his soulmate, and the love of his life, Coque Johnson Gibson, on Christmas eve, 1969. To this union, four children were born, three sons and one daughter. This union was witnessed by their families and Blessed by GOD for fifty-three years. He graduated from Baylor University in 1974, earning his Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Sociology.
Lester Leon Gibson planted his feet, set his shoulders, and became an advocate for change in his beloved community of East Waco, aiming to make it a better place. He became the voice of the people, encouraging the recognition, understanding, and resolution of social injustices that were taking place in his community. He was not satisfied with the local leadership in the community, so he got involved in local politics to invoke meaningful change.
Commissioner Lester L. Gibson was a dedicated servant for the Waco, McLennan County, Texas community. He devoted his life to uplifting and advancement of the underprivileged and has led a rewarding life in the field of Public Administration. Commissioner Gibson retired from McLennan County on December 31, 2018, after serving the citizens of the County for twenty-eight years. He was the first African American to be elected to the McLennan County Commissioners Court, and he was the longest-serving county commissioner in the history of McLennan County. Commissioner Lester L. Gibson will be long remembered for his work with the youth of the community, the expansion of economic development, equity, inclusion, and his unconditional love for the advancement of his community.
Commissioner Gibson was one of the founders of the Texas Organization of Black County Commissioners, having served as the organization's President from 1998-2001, and 2011-2013. In August of 1992, Commissioner Lester Gibson, along with a dedicated group of community activist, organized a Leadership Luncheon. In 1996, the luncheon was renamed to the Fred D. Batts Jr. Leadership Luncheon. The luncheon was dedicated to its mission statement, “Networking to Make a Difference.” Commissioner Gibson, always the visionary, created and as editor circulated two community newspapers, The Grass Roots News, and The Bottom Line News. He served as the President of the Grassroots Progressive School Board. Commissioner Gibson served as the McLennan County representative to the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition, Founder and organizer of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil, Waco MLK, Jr. Park; Past President of Eastern Little League, Past chairman of the Heart of Texas Legal Services, Tejas Camp Fire, Past Director of Habitat for Humanity, Former Member Board of Directors YMCA Central Texas.
Commissioner Gibson was the recipient of many awards. His many accolades include, but are not limited to, the following: Award of Recognition & Outstanding Contributions by the Texas Organization of Black County Commissioners, Political Achievement Award from the Texas Association of Minority Business Enterprises, The McLennan County NAACP Vanguard Award, The African-American Male Image Award presented by the Waco Save Our Sons, The Family of the Year Award presented by Conference of Christians and Jews, The Man of the Year Award presented by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Citizen of the Year Award presented by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Omicron Upsilon Chapter, The Community Service Award presented by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Delta Upsilon Zeta Chapter, The Community Service Award presented by the McLennan County Branch of the NAACP, Leadership Award presented by the Regular Fellows Club of Waco, The Outstanding Achiever Award from the A.J. Moore High School Alumni Association, The Outstanding Service Award presented by G.L. Wiley Middle School, Award of Appreciation presented by the Board of Directors of the Economic Opportunities Advancement Corporation, the Service & Leadership Award presented by the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, and 2008 Citizen of the Year Award presented by the Cent-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce. Commissioner Gibson hosted a weekly Saturday morning radio show on our local Hip Hop Station, 94.5 FM “The Beat” and is a perfect example of his own philosophy and the show’s title, “If We Only Knew, What We Could Do.”
Commissioner Gibson is preceded in death by his parents, Olester Gibson, Blossie Marie Jackson, and Stepfather, Travis Jackson.
Commissioner Gibson’s remarkable life will forever be cherished by his Wife, Coque Johnson Gibson, Children (4), Mayor Travis Gibson (Launda), Umoja Adeyemi Gibson Sr. (Nicole), Izegbe Omolara Ramla Gibson Lee (James), and Ajamu Kitwana Gibson (Sheala). Grandchildren (12) Michael Smith, Ayorinde Jelani Gibson, Ramses Diallo Lee (Jaycelyn), Umoja Adeyemi Gibson Jr, Amani Kwaate Gibson, Malaika Adeleke Lee, Myemione Ayana Bell Gibson, Amari Adjatay Ajene Gibson, Malik Desha Lee, Amir Adeyemi Gibson, Ananda Sharee Gibson, Idrees Lorenzo Lee, Great Grandchildren (7) Noah Hasley, Josiah Thompson, Judah Thompson, Amari Gibson Jr, Anaya Eve Lee, Jaleah Omolara Thompson, and Dior McHenry and a host of loving nieces, nephews, and cousins that he loved.