Obituary — Rose Campbell Gibson


Rose Campbell Gibson, a research scientist and gerontologist who served on the faculty of the School of Social Work, died Aug. 11 after a brief illness. She was 98.

Her “contributions to the field of gerontology remain as relevant today as they were in the 1980s and 1990s, when she conducted her pioneering research on minority aging,” according to a 2007 profile of her on the SSW’s website. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

A photo of Rose Campbell Gibson
Rose Campbell Gibson

Gibson retired in 1997, and two years later she and her husband, Ralph Gibson, moved to East Hampton, New York, to be near their son Ralph Gibson Jr., a physician.

Born in Detroit on May 30, 1925, to John Henry Campbell and the former Lela Long, she grew up in Ann Arbor, where she excelled at math and science in school. Planning to pursue a career in medicine, she enrolled at U-M.

She and Ralph Gibson, a clinical psychologist who would go on to be an assistant dean at the Medical School, married on New Year’s Eve in 1947. She put her studies on hold to raise their two sons, but after nearly 20 years returned to the university as a graduate student in what is now the Marsal Family School of Education, where courses in statistics and research “kindled in me a love of quantitative research methods,” she said in the 2007 profile.

Gibson earned a distinguished dissertation award in 1977 and became a lecturer at the school. During two postdoctoral fellowships in aging research methods, she “explored the relationships between age and health and various socioeconomic factors over the lifespan, comparing White and Black populations,” according to the university’s profile.

She joined the SSW faculty in 1985. “Gibson came to the school to build a program in aging, and the program’s strength is part of her legacy,” Robin Adelson Little wrote in her profile of Gibson.

In 1986, she published “Blacks in an Aging Society,” and in 1994 co-authored another book, “Worlds of Difference: Inequality in the Aging Experience,” with Eleanor Stoller. From 1992-96 she was editor-in-chief of The Gerontologist, a multidisciplinary research journal on aging.

“Gibson was also a frequent consultant on minority aging research at local, state, national, and international levels, as well as a visiting professor at several universities,” according to the U-M profile.

Gibson is survived by her sons, Ralph Gibson Jr. of East Hampton, New York, and John Gibson of Newport Beach, California, and by four grandchildren. Her husband died in 2001.

Her family has suggested memorial contributions be sent to East End Hospice at P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, New York, 11978.

Submitted by the Gibson family


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