Ray Gibson Story
Request for Information:
Wanted to know what we could find about her Grandfather
Family did not talk about him much
Married twice, first wife is her grandmother
2nd wife liked nice things
Might have operated a whorehouse
What could we find out about him?
Federal Census Records
Social Security Death Index
Kearney Daily Hub Newspaper
In Archives –
Kearney Cemetery Records
Kearney City Directories
Kearney Police Court records – 1928-1929
Buffalo County Court records – 1928-1933
Also checked marriage licenses – no information there
Mother – Ida Mae (last name unknown but probably Gibson) born
Feb. 12, 1894 (not quite 18) – gave
birth to a son - named Ray Gibson.
His father was listed as unknown in
January 1900 – Ida Mae married Barney Rainwater
Lived in Des Moines, Iowa until 1906
when they moved to Nebraska
1910 – Rainwater family living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Barney was working as a roofer.
Ray Gibson, now 16, was not living
with them. Probably living elsewhere and working
Sometime after 1910 – Rainwater family moved to Kearney.
Oct. 23, 1918 – Ida Mae Rainwater died on age 43. Buried
in Kearney Cemetery
June 22, 1924 – Barney Rainwater drowned in a gravel pit on south 9th
Avenue in Kearney.
He was 48 years old. Buried
beside Ida Mae in Kearney Cemetery
Married Edith in about 1913 or 1914
Donald Ray, two daughters – Edith and Betty
Started a roofing business
Ran an ad during the first week in
July 1920 advertising the Kearney Roofing Co
Operated this business for the rest
of his life
Family Life & Finances – court records show:
(1928) – not a good year
February - Edith - at Ruter’s wrote
$15 on the Kearney Roofing business account
returned because of insufficient funds
June - Ray and Edith divorced.
September - Lost two lots of property
[home & business headquarters] in a sheriff’s sale
(1929) – not much better
3 Bad check charges –
For work and
labor services. (no show, guilty and ordered to pay)
rent. That case was dismissed.
“necessaries of life.” Guilty, ordered to pay the bill with interest.
Brought to court for Non-payment of
February and March, 1929 @ $50/month
Alcohol Related Incidents
This was the prohibition period. Ray managed to acquire liquor but
apparently he did not handle it very well.
(1929) – besides the bad check charges &
non-payment of child support
Ray and friend arrested following a
police chase through southeast Kearney.
Police found about a pint of liquor in the car.
They were officially charged
1) with being in a state of intoxication
2) with “having one pint and more of hootch commonly known as moonshine,
at his dwelling.”
Ray pled guilty to the first charge
and was fined $10 plus court costs
The second charge was dismissed.
Ray and another friend were charged
with of intoxication.
2nd offense for each - given 30 day sentences by the Kearney police
Ray was again charged with
intoxication and speeding
Pleaded not guilty
Judge found him guilty based on evidence of four witnesses and was fined
At least one incident per year for the next 3 years
(1930) Ray and friend convicted of receiving seven automobile tires
Stolen from the Union Pacific freight
car by another man
The tires were valued at $50.
Ray pleaded guilty but claimed they were worth only $30.
Each fined $50 and court costs
Man who stole the tires received a two year sentence.
(1931) Ray again charged with nonpayment
of alimony since last August
Now reduced to $40 per month
Arrested in September 1931.
He pleaded not guilty
Judge ruled there was probable cause that Ray was guilty.
He was to remain in jail until his appearance before the District
Unfortunately that record was not found.
(1933) January - Ray and a lady friend
were arrested for chicken stealing.
Accused of stealing four chickens,
one fountain pen, knives and other items
totaling $8.60 from a man on November 27, 1932
(Could this have been for
Charges were dropped and the case was dismissed.
(1944) Feb – Ray - Charged with driving
an automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
Fined $5 & costs & his driver’s license suspended for 60 days for
May – Firemen were called
to his home at, 1228 12th Avenue
davenport caught fire from a cigarette and smoke filled the house.
Ray’s 2nd marriage
Kearney City Directory - lists Ray Gibson, wife, Leone, son, Donald living
July 20, 1940 - Kearney Hub news from Franklin, NE –
Marriage license issued to Mrs. Leone Mae Bruson & Ray Gibson, of Kearney.
Leone became the office manager for Kearney Roofing.
March 1929 - Donald, now 14, and two
friends caught stealing gas.
Committed to the State Industrial
School until he turned 21 (Oct 1935)
Lived briefly in Omaha about 1935 [after release?] and then moved back
Joined his father in the roofing business where he worked for the rest
of his life
Lived with his father until he
married in late 1939 or early 1940
Ray and Donald operated Kearney Roofing through the 1940’s and 1950’s
Roofing business expanded to include
1966 – Ray retired
Donald began operating the
company by himself under the name Gibson Co.
Advertised “residential, commercial, built-up roofing, tar and gravel, [and]
aluminum roof coating”
Ray died on January 14, 1972. He was 76 years old.
Donald died on October 8, 1975 at age 60.
Both died of heart attacks.
Edith and children lived in Kearney.
Worked for Dr. Wallace Rose, who specialized in children’s diseases.
Lived in several different places in
the Central Avenue area.
Betty attended Kearney High School
Spent a year at the St. Ursula academy in York, Nebraska
Graduated in spring 1939
Had gained recognition in typing
Had also joined the Catholic church.
1940 - Working part time as a stenographer at the Kearney Post Office
Edith married Percy Ronan in June 1935.
He was from Aurora
Working for Central Power Company of
Shelton, living in Kearney for 15 years.
Marriage lasted 6 years.
Percy moved back to Aurora
Marriage dissolved in July 1941 on
grounds of cruelty.