May 01, 2008 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Local radio personality and actress Barbara Gibbons dies at 65:
We’ll never forget that voice.
Barbara Gibbons spoke in low and sultry tones, making her every theatrical role a tour de force and every newscast a drama.
The local radio personality died over the weekend at age 65.
Gibbons was well known in Syracuse, having worked for radio stations such as WNDR, WFBL, WNTQ and WSYR.
“She was the least self-conscious performer with whom I have ever worked,” said Syracuse actor Dan Stevens. “I still remember her voice which sounded like a warm breeze blowing through an empty beer can.”
Actress Maureen “Moe” Harrington once worked with Gibbons on a production of “The Owl and The Pussycat.”
“As a young actress it was such a thrill to have seen Barbie onstage, but then to work with her and then have that after-show cocktail listening to her theater stories in that voice,” Harrington recalled. “I always found her to be one of the most fascinating women in any room.”
Born in Carbondale, Pa., Gibons attended Syracuse University before becoming active in the local theater scene and on radio. Over the last 15 years she taught public speaking at Onondaga Community College.
“She was such a gifted actress she could squeeze a laugh out of any audience,” Harrington remembered. “Watching her was a joy, but then to know her that was the icing on a cake that I eagerly devoured. She was a great broad.”
“She was also a great radio newswoman,” added Frank Malfitano, founder of the Syracuse Jazz Fest.
WNTQ-FM 93Q morning personality Amy Robbins said Gibbons gave Robbins her first job in radio.
“Barbara was kind of like me when I was 20 years old, you know?” Robbins said. “She was in her 40s and kind of took me under her wing, and so I’m forever grateful.”
Calling hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday May 1, and funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday May 2, both are at Whelan Bros. Funeral Home, 3700 W. Genesee St., Syracuse.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Barbara’s name to the SPCA, 5878 E. Molloy Road, Mattydale, NY 13211.