Mission mourns loss of former city councilmember Suzie Gibbs, a ‘one of a kind’ civic leader

Suzie Gibbs served three separate stints on the Mission City Council, totaling 26 years. Photo courtesy city of Mission.

The Mission community is mourning the loss of Suzie Gibbs, a beloved and active leader this week.

Gibbs served more than two dozen years on the Mission City Council, volunteered countless hours of her time to various charities and managed her own small business, died Tuesday, April 26.

Suzie Gibbs (third from right) pictured with her family when the city dedicated Legacy Park to her. Photo courtesy city of Mission.

A resident of Mission since 1967 (except for a brief stint in retirement at the Lake of the Ozarks), Suzanne Greenlee Barnhart Gibbs, was born Feb. 22, 1935.

She was preceded in death by her former husband, Scott Barnhart, and is survived by her husband, Jack Gibbs, and his granddaughter, Kelsey Gibbs, among other close family members. Her full obituary is here.

Mission Magazine, a publication Gibbs co-founded, is honoring her with a special page dedicated to her contributions.

The city’s past four mayors all included their reflections about her and her impact on the city.

“When I think of Suzie, I think of a one-of-a-kind person not afraid to get involved and make things happen,” wrote Mayor Ron Appletoft, who served from 2018 to 2021. “She has been a force in Mission for many decades and I will always admire all that she was able to create and accomplish.

“She worked tirelessly to make things better for our residents and for those who needed a helping hand while she was on the City Council, and that work has continued as she’s successfully built the Mission Community Food Pantry, reaching more people than ever before.”

Gibbs’ impact

Gibbs carries a long list of accomplishments and contributions to the local community.

She served on the Mission City Council for 26 years, in three different stints, from 1977-1982, then again from 1990-1994 and then finally from 2001-2018.

She also served as Mission city clerk for six years, from 1982-1988.

In addition she filled a number of civic roles during her life, including as

  • Executive Director of the Mission Area Chamber of Commerce,
  • chairperson for Mission’s 50th Anniversary Celebration,
  • chair of the Northeast Johnson County American Cancer Society Relay for Life,
  • a member of Shawnee Mission School District’s Committee for Excellence,
  • a member on the Shawnee Mission North High School and Rushton Elementary School site councils,
  • president of the Milhaven Homes Association.
  • and co-founder of “Mission Magazine.”

All that, and she is also credited with helping manage Mission’s annual holiday Family Adoption program serving more than 100 families each Thanksgiving and Christmas, bringing a Harvesters mobile food distribution event to northeast Johnson County and founding a permanent weekly food pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church

The next issue of Mission Magazine featuring the special page honoring Gibbs will be released in the next few weeks and sent out to all residents.

The issue will also be available to pick up in various places around town, including at many local businesses in Mission.

A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. Monday, May 2, at Countryside Christian Church, 6101 Nall Ave., Mission.

In lieu of flowers, her family would honor and accept contributions to the Mission Community Food Pantry, c/o Trinity Lutheran Church, 5601 W. 62nd St., Mission, KS 66202 (smiling-hearts.org).