Island sister moved by love to help others with speech
Pat Gee / Pgee@staradvertiser.com
Sister M. Olivia Gibson, of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities and a retired speech teacher in Hawaii schools, has died. She was 90.
A news release from the Sisters of St. Francis said Gibson, who celebrated seven decades with the Neumann Communities in 2013, was a longtime speech pathologist, enabling “many nonspeakers and poor speakers … to speak with clarity and confidence.” It continued, “By her own admission, the secret to her success was love.”
Gibson died March 19 at Saint Francis Convent.
Her efforts and dedication served as inspiration for a movie produced by Universal Pictures, “Change of Habit” (1969), which starred Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore.
Born in Harrison, N.J., Gibson entered the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1942.
She received a bachelor’s degree in humanities (English) from LeMoyne College in Syracuse and a master’s degree in speech pathology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Gibson served as the moderator of the drama department of The Convent School and Maria Regina College in Syracuse.
During visits to California and various other places, she met Hollywood actors Olivia de Havilland, Irene Dunne, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Brian Keith, Angela Lansbury and Ruth Warrick, the release said.
As a speech teacher, she worked in schools in New York, New Jersey and Florida. In Hawaii, Gibson worked at Saint Joseph School in Hilo, Sacred Heart School in Lahaina and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City.
From 1994 to 2009, Gibson served as office manager in the Spiritual Services Department at Saint Francis Medical Center in Honolulu. In recent years, she served as a community and prayer minister at Saint Francis Convent.
Gibson is survived by nephews Glen and Wayne Wallace; niece Elisa Latkovich; and cousins Rana Keane, Donald Keane, Stephen Keane and Marie Elbert..
Services will be held Monday at Saint Francis Convent, 2715 Pamoa Road. Visitation is set for 9 to 11 a.m., with the liturgy of the Resurrection at 11 a.m. and inurnment at Diamond Head Memorial Park at 2:15 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Retirement Fund of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, St. Francis Convent, 2715 Pamoa Road, Honolulu 96822-1885.