A masterful sailor who lived life with integrity and grace


TEWKSBURY — Dean Raymond Gibbons, 76, of Tewksbury, died peacefully and gently in his home, surrounded by love on June 18, 2024.

Born on April 16, 1948, he was the son of the late Raymond T. Gibbons and Pearl (Messenger) Gibbons. He graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1966, enlisted in the Marines and proudly served his country during the Vietnam War. Always a man of curiosity and intellect, he was pulled toward the sea at an early age. He was fascinated by the ocean and became a masterful sailor, quickly earning his USCG captain’s license. A perfectionist at his core, Captain Dean spent two years refinishing his beloved boat the “Rabican,” which he housed in Beverly. When he was on land, he was an electrician at MIT.

In 1976, his quick-wit, charm, and mischievous twinkle in his eye enchanted Marcia Cook, who was a teacher in Reading. They eloped in 1988 and had a secret and private wedding in St. Thomas. Over the past four decades, they continued to sail in the warm seas of the Caribbean, especially fond of Barbados and St. Thomas. Dean loved to share his journeys with friends — as long as they sprayed the bottoms of their shoes with cleaner before coming aboard! Friends remember fun cruises on the Rabican enjoying lobster rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and ice-cold Heinekens, with Leonard Cohen in the background. He loved being outdoors, captivated by nature and its constancy of change. He was an avid reader, especially enjoying nautical and historical fiction. His passion for the sea was only eclipsed by the love for his wife, Marcia, whom he affectionately nicknamed “Sweet Pea.”

Dean was active with the Veterans Group at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Hospital in Bedford. He was a quiet support to many veterans, never forgetting the impact of their service on their mental and physical health. Dean lived his life with integrity and grace. He was a deep thinker and thoughtful, generous friend.

In his final days, Dean followed the stars to guide him safely across the bar.

Dean is survived by his wife of 36 years, Marcia Gibbons of Tewksbury; his sister Nancy (Gibbons) Pearson and her husband David of Bow, N.H.; his sister Cheryl Gibbons and her partner Robert Pondelli of Tewksbury; his brother Dwayne Gibbons and his wife Nancy of Afton Wyoming; his nephews Adan Pearson and his wife Susan of Cornish, N.H. and Nathan Pearson of Lee, N.H.; his brothers-in-law Mitchell Cook and his wife Julee Bolg of Northborough, Clifton Cook of Kingston, N.H.; and the late Jonathan Cook of North Reading; his niece Kasandra Cook Yanakakis and her husband Cory of Kingston, N.H.; his close cousin and sailing companion Rondal Goetz; and dear friends John Adams, Bob Connery, Joe Mondello and Tony Rebelo.

Relatives and friends paid their respects to his family on Monday, July 1 at the Cota Funeral Home, 335 Park St., North Reading. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Lowell Veterans Center, 10 George St., Lowell, MA 01852 with the memo: Dean Gibbons or the DAV, PO Box 148, Reading, MA, 01867.