Stuart A. Kibbe, Jr.March 3, 1933 ~ October 11, 2017 (age 84)
On October 11th, 2017, the Gates of Heaven opened to Stuart Allen Kibbe, Jr. “Big Stu” was born on March 3, 1933 to Stuart and Stella Kibbe. He grew up in Agawam and graduated from Agawam High School in 1952. Stu was a gifted athlete, playing football, basketball and track. At 6’2, 220 pounds, he excelled at football as a fullback. He played 3 years of varsity football under the leadership of the late Harmon Smith. In his senior year, his prolific scoring led the Agawam Brownies to the Western Massachusetts football championship and on to the Peanut Bowl in Georgia on New Year’s Day, 1952. He fumbled the opening kickoff but redeemed himself to score the winning touchdown as the Agawam Brownies went on to beat the previously undefeated boys of Richmond Academy 20-12. Stu and his teammates were inducted into the Agawam High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Shortly after he graduated from High School, Big Stu found himself lifeguarding at the former Joyland Beach (Loon Pond) on Pasco Road in Springfield. On the third day on the job, he was called upon to rescue a 12 year old boy who had attempted to swim across the pond on a dare. Stu swam out to the spot where he saw the boy go under, and he later explained, “I got lucky, I looked down and he was laying on the bottom of the pond in about twelve feet of water, I dove down and pulled him up by the shorts.” Big Stu was incredibly humble and rarely told anyone about his heroism that day.
Upon graduating from Agawam High School, Stu was awarded a Football Scholarship to Wake Forest University. In less than a week, Stu missed his family back in Agawam, so he packed his bags and hitchhiked home to Agawam. On October 24, 1953, he married the love of his life, Shirley Ann Carr (Caracciolo). He shipped off to Korea shortly after their wedding, serving his country in the United States Army.
Stu and Shirley built an incredibly happy life together in their beloved Agawam where they raised five children. Stu spent 36 years at Hamilton Standard in the Sea and Space Division. He received numerous awards from NASA for his work on the Apollo and Challenger space programs.
For all of his accomplishments in life, nothing gave him greater joy than being a devoted husband to Shirley and a loving father to his children. He leaves to cherish his memory: his loving wife of 64 years, Shirley Ann Kibbe (Carr), his daughters, Linda Ross (Gary) of Unity, NH, Laura Moran (Michael) of Feeding Hills, Lisa Patnode (Jim) of East Longmeadow, Looloo Kibbe (Gary Dawson) of Agawam and his son Stuart A. Kibbe, III (Diane) of Southwick. He also leaves his adored grandchildren, Allison Gouvin (Brian), Brian, Kevin, Ryan and Stephen Daley, Erin Francis, Zachary and Eric Patnode, and Luke and Madison Kibbe. He also leaves his much-loved great grandchildren, Vivian and Wyatt Gouvin and Auryn Daley. Stu is survived by his two sisters, Ginny Hazard of Delmar, NY and Nancy Wessale of Sacramento, CA, his sister-in-law Virginia Kibbe of Southwick, his two brother-in-laws Donald (Barbara) and Daniel Carr (Tonya). He also leaves many nieces and nephews who fondly recall “Uncle Stuie”. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Stuart A. Kibbe Sr. and Stella Kibbe (Kidder) his brother, Clifford P. Kibbe and his son-in law, Brian Blackburn.
Stu and Shirl spent much of their retirement years at their camper at Holly Tree Campground in Ashaway, RI, and at the Rhode Island shore a few miles away. They loved putting their boat on Quonochontaug Pond, spending time fishing, digging for clams and lounging on the beach.
Stu was happiest when he was home in Agawam where he enjoyed gardening, working in his yard, tinkering and watching sports, especially football. “Big Stu” was big in many ways- a big man, with a big appetite and most of all – a big heart. His family was his first priority all his life- first as a son to his parents and then as a husband and father. He was kind and generous, always willing to help out his family and friends. He will be dearly missed by so many whose lives he enriched. His family would like thank his care givers Eileen Sheehan, James Gordon and Michael Puckering for their love and dedication. They would also like to thank the staff at Holyoke Soldiers Home for their compassion and care. Dad, you were the BEST and we will miss you forever.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Monday, October 16, 2017 from 3-7 PM at Colonial Forastiere Funeral Home, 985 Main Street, Agawam, MA. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 beginning at 8:45 AM at the funeral home followed by a service at 10 AM in the Agawam Congregational Church where Stu was a longtime member. Burial with military honors will be in Agawam Center Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01105 or Holyoke Soldiers Home Rec Dept. 110 Cherry Street Holyoke, MA 01040. For more information, please visit www.forastiere.com