WESTFORD -- Jackie M. Gribbons, of Westford, passed away, Jan. 10, 2014, in the Vermont Respite House in Williston.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 29, 1932, the daughter of Minnie (Krall) and John L. Gribbons, who predeceased her. She earned her bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and Master of Arts degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She began her exemplary career in education as an elementary physical education consultant in Grand Rapids, Mich., followed by four years as a junior high school physical education teacher in Willoughby, Ohio. She returned to her undergraduate institution as Assistant Dean of Women.
Jackie came to Vermont in 1966 when she assumed the position of Dean of Women at the University of Vermont, a position she held until 1975 when she was appointed Assistant to the Executive Vice President. In the years that followed, she held nine additional administrative and faculty positions including Coordinator of Title IX, Assistant to the Vice President for Administration, Student Grievance Coordinator, Senior Associate to the Senior Vice President, Director of Staff Professional Development, and Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Development.
In 1970, she co-founded the nationally acclaimed graduate master's program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration and for 35 years served as Assistant Professor and Professor Emerita, Coordinator of graduate student practicum internships, and Acting Program Chair from 1973-75. She retired twice, finally in 2007, when she received her greatest honor, a rare Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Vermont.
A national leader in higher education, Jackie dedicated her professional life to the advancement of women in higher education. She was elected the President of the National Association for Women in Education and also held executive positions as Vice President of Association Advancement, Vice President for Professional Relations, Trust trustee, and numerous task forces and commissions. She also was a founding member and State Coordinator of the Vermont Women in Higher Education, affiliated with the American Council of Education, which annually bestows the "Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership Award" in her honor.
Her outstanding contributions were recognized with other awards in her name including the Panhellenic award at Bowling Green State University and the Outstanding Practica Supervisor award, Exceptional Service award in the College of Education and Social Services, and the "Jackie M. Gribbons Gift Fund" at the University of Vermont. She was also the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and distinguished service presented by the National Association for Women in Education and the American College Personnel Association. Her portfolio included expertise in career development, leadership, women's issues, training, and planning, and she was a noted speaker and presenter locally, regionally and nationally.
Jackie was the consummate independent woman who felled trees, maintained park-like lawns and gardens, and used every tool in her box to make repairs and maintain her home. One of her greatest joys was to live with her bird and wildlife friends, who seemed to communicate as well as she did with them; all were great comrades and playmates throughout her life. A gifted athlete and avid sports fan, she especially cheered the Indians, Browns, and UVM women's and men's basketball teams.
A person who told it as it was, she strove to be accepting, understanding, supportive, and fair… all tempered with her infectious laugh, constant sense of humor, and energy for and love of life, the environment, and all living things. Most of all, she prided her quest of honor, integrity and compassion.
She is survived by her sister, Lynn and husband, Mike Gerl, of Leroy Township, Ohio; niece, Christine and husband, Todd Mcmanaman, and their children, Colin, Daniel, and Kelly, of Westlake, Ohio; nephew, Michael of University Heights, Ohio; and several cousins.
Services will be private and at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are in care of Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Service: www.gregorycremation.com.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Jackie's honor to the charity of one's choice; the graduate program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration at the University of Vermont; or the Vermont Respite House.