Laura Cynthia Sutherland Gibian (“Peg”)
(October 11, 1917 – February 3, 2020)
Laura Cynthia Sutherland Gibian, age 102, died on Monday, February 3, 2020 in her apartment at Friends House in Sandy Spring, Maryland, with her four children nearby.
Known by her childhood nickname, Peg was born in Avella, a small coal-mining town in southwest Pennsylvania. She was the oldest of William Wallace Sutherland and Luella Wiegmann Sutherland’s five children. Her father ran a hardwood lumber business, and her mother was a nurse. Her parents inspired in her a love of family that was boundless, contagious and perpetual. Peg was particularly close to her father, who she said was one of the wisest people she had ever known. Throughout her life, Peg cherished trips “home” to Avella for the August Sutherland-family reunion.
After High School and secretarial training, Peg kept books for her father and worked a number of jobs to help the family during the Great Depression and WWII. Peg was majoring in Social Work, a new field of study at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1948 when she met Tom Gibian, who was completing a Doctorate in Chemistry. Married soon after, Peg and Tom spent their first two years of life together in Philadelphia, where two daughters were born. In 1951, they moved to Lexington, Massachusetts, where twin sons were born, and Peg made deep, long-lasting friendships. Then, in 1963, Tom’s work brought the family to Sandy Spring MD, and an old farmhouse named Pen-y-Bryn.
Over time, Peg put down deep roots in the Sandy Spring community, making Pen-y-Bryn an enduring home for her children and grandchildren, friends and relations. She led the family to join the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Peg was active in the Quaker meeting and the wider Sandy Spring community in many ways, including the League of Women Voters, Great Expectations Investment Club, Mutual Improvement Association, Neighbors, and was a regular volunteer at the Montgomery General Hospital Thrift Shop. Peg and Tom shared a keen curiosity about the world. They enjoyed traveling, exploring new places, and visiting relations far and near. Peg and Tom moved to a cottage at Friends House in 2006. After Peg’s eyesight failed due to macular degeneration, Peg continued to feed her curiosity thorough her ears, listening to the radio and to recorded books.
Peg was honest as the day is long, tough as hickory, generous and kind to all, and strict and loving to her children, who were indelibly shaped by the combination of her high expectations and ardent love. Her children remember Peg’s devotion to her relatives, both Sutherlands and Gibians, and the great respect given and received.
Peg’s marriage to Tom spanned 66 years, and thousands of miles, until Tom’s death in 2015. Peg leaves her four children: Barbara Gibian, Janet Gibian Hough (John Hough), Tom Gibian (Tina Grady) and Dave Gibian (Christine), 11 grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and many other close family members and friends.
A memorial service in celebration of Peg’s life will be held on Saturday, April 4 at 2:00 pm at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting, 17715 Meeting House Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860.
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