Larry Gibson on Kayford Mountain by scottahb on Flickr.
Environmentalist Larry Gibson remembered fondly
by Suzanne HIggins
September 11, 2012 · West Virginia environmental activist Larry Gibson died following a heart attack Sunday at his home on Kayford Mountain in Raleigh County. The 66-year-old opponent of mountaintop removal founded The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in 2004.
Friends say Larry Gibson will be remembered for his heart, his sense of humor, and his tireless efforts in combating mountain top removal, a practice he saw as destroying the land he loved.
Michael Kline of Elkins met Gibson more than 20 years ago.
“What clearly drove that determination and will power and willingness to submit himself to all kinds of things was this overriding vision of the mountains where he grew up,” said Kline. “This was a place that once had a natural spring that ran at the foot of his home place.”
“The waters of that spring kept generations of his family healthy for years.”
When Gibson returned to West Virginia in the 1990’s after years in Ohio, he took up the environment cause, spreading the campaign and gathering supporters nationwide.
Kline’s wife, Carrie, says that is Gibson’s lasting legacy.
“Larry was many things, but I think he should be remembered as a strategist,” she said. “He’s taught a lot of people who came here and are from here, and have a lot of ideas of their own.”
“I think we’re going to save these mountains together.”
The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation website states a private funeral will be held and a public memorial service will be announced later.