After a long shift of cleaning brass instrument spit, coffee spills and lost sheet music, there’s nothing that Ronald Gibbs, facilities manager of the lower music department, loves more than a nice cigar. The humble man is often seen—or smelled—on his lunch break with a crisp brown cigar in hand; he is fixated on the horizon, deep in thought. Working the night shift at the GCPA, his lunch break is a lot later than most. Regardless, he still loves what he does.
Gibbs was born in Greencastle and has spent most of his life in the community. Being married to Melanie Gibbs/Long, the daughter of Marvin’s restaurant's founder, he has some interesting ties to the community. The DePauw sat down with Gibbs to find out a little more about him. Here’s what he had to say:
The DePauw (TDP): After graduating high school in Greencastle, what did you do?
Ronald Gibbs (RB): I went to the air force. I was in the fire department rescue for four years in Kincheloe, in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
TDP: After your military service, what did you do?
RB: I came back to Greencastle and worked at Oxford Automotive, which was Greencastle Manufacturing before it moved to Oxford Automotive.
TDP: What brought you back to the Greencastle community?
RB: People and family. I have three brothers and three sisters. Greencastle is a great community. There’s a lot here.
TDP: You seem to speak very highly of your family and the people you’ve met in Greencastle. Tell us about your wife and when you met her.
RB: I met my wife as I worked at Oxford. I met her at a hog roast. and she was a student at Purdue. Then she transferred to DePauw, because her mother, Katherine Long, worked in administration.
TDP: Was it love at first sight?
RB: I think.
TDP: Your wife is the daughter of Marvin’s founder, Marvin K. Long. When you found out she was involved in the garlic cheeseburger business, what did you think?
RB: When I found out she was related to Marvin, it wasn’t a big thing.
TDP: What were your honest thoughts of the garlic cheeseburger before you two got together?
RB: [Marvin] had a great idea. ‘This is a seller.’ The cheese fries—mmm.
TDP: What was old man Marvin like?
RB: He was an intelligent man. Well dressed. He had time for everybody. He would stop in the middle of a busy day to talk to a student. If anybody had a problem, he was already trying to help.
Anytime the football team came back late at night, he would have the grill closed, but then he'd open everything back up for them. He did the same for basketball too. He was a real sweet guy.
He also really liked to travel.
TDP: Does your wife like to travel?
RB: *rolls eyes* She travels. We're going to Florida next week. I have plenty to do. Florida is the last place I want. Miami...
TDP: So you really love Greencastle. Tell me what you've enjoyed the most while working for here for DePauw?
RB: The students and faculty. There's always somebody wanting to say ‘hi.’ It makes you feel good when you come here. And the politeness...there's always a ‘thank you’ from the students. I appreciate that.
TDP: Do you have plans to retire?
RB: I haven’t announced it, but I plan on retiring in March. I have a little ten acre place west of here.
TDP: Do you have any hobbies or good books you plan to pick up once your retire?
RB: Hard lemonade and cigars.
TDP: Favorite cigar?
RB: Leaf-wrapped cigar.