Alveta Lorene Rowe Gibboney

Alveta Lorene Rowe Gibboney

My Aunt

Written by Peggy Ann Rowe-Snyder, March 11, 2007

She was a hell raiser, an instigator, a motivator, and gem. Rough, tough, yet could be gentle as a lamb. As a child if you crossed her path you learned responsibility, and learned that a smack with a fly swatter was as good as “I love you.” She was a diamond in the rough that broke all the molds and turned out to be as bright as any one person could shine, maybe even just a tad bit shinier.

Alveta Lorene Rowe Gibboney passed away on March 10, 2007. She would have been 59 on her birthday. Like a shooting star, her life was brilliant and it burned out far too soon. Her lungs quit on her. Knowing that other folks could smoke and live to be 103, hurts, because when push comes to shove—that was probably the worst thing she ever did to herself.

She was wild in her days. Just a few days ago, She told me how she threw her bra onto a sign of a bar along with a collection of other bras in Southern California. She drank, she took a turn working in bars as a bartender and as a bouncer…yes, you read that right, the 5 foot 4 inch (or so) very petite lady was also quite strong you did as she she told you or she thumped you personally. As a niece that sunk in well, I never dreamed to tell her no, or even talk back until I was 40 years old.

She had the colorful mouth, the colorful language, and the tattoos to match–all from the bar era of her life. The woman talked like a sailor… Well, personally, I think she could probably make a sailor blush. And it wasn’t just curse words, the bar life and life with five brothers left her with a mind full of ornery stories, jokes, and other misc. oral paraphernalia.

Alveta Lorene Rowe

She was born April 18th, 1948, the seventh child of Orvin Earl Rowe and Lily Marie McClaskey. She was the baby girl of the family and only one child of the seven is younger than she. Even though, she came later in the order of siblings, she still grew up knowing about life, responsibility and very hard work.

Her own father died while she was a teenager, 17 years old. She lived with brothers who tried to help her get her start in life. She lived with Alfred Lee “Bobo” Rowe for awhile, and she lived with brother, Alvin Cecil “Al” Rowe for a time.

During her journey she worked in canneries, bars, as a book keeper. And—for over twenty years she did hair. She was a beautician who owned, “Alveta’s Hair In the Country,” in Dickey Prairie outside of Molalla, Oregon.

She married three times, but Harold Myers Gibboney was, in her words, her “charm” and they were married 25 years—there is more than ample evidence to say that there was and is such a strong and loyal love in this relationship. The reader need not waste his or her time wondering. Harold gave her what she wanted, and she bragged… she told stories…. but in the end, there was a hug and a kiss… and everyone knew what it was all about. As long as I live, I’ll hear my uncle answer in his gentle, and laid back way to her proclamations, “Is that so…” or “You think so…” He gave her so much.

This Uncle of mine, Harold Gibboney, told a story two days ago. After Alveta and he got together, they decided to throw a party. All of her siblings were invited. She pulled him aside and told him….”There will be a fight, every time my brothers get together in one spot together, there is always a fight….” [ya, gotta know the Rowe’s…even playing got to be bloody!] My uncle said, “no, they respect me enough, there would be no fight.” He was right, there was no fight. But, this is the world she grew up in. She learned that the Gibboney’s let each family member go about their business, and yet were there when they needed each others help. At one time Uncle Harold had to explain to her, that just because they did not fight, did not mean they did not love each other. In our branch of the Rowe/McClaskey Line — Fighting was a normal part of life it still is equivalent to “I Love You.”

Harold Meyers Gibboney & Alveta Lorene Rowe Gibboney

Aunt Alveta was a generous soul….you could have the shirt off her back if you needed it. On the flip side, if you wanted something of hers and it was worth something, if she was willing to give it up, you were going to pay for it. She taught responsibility. About a month ago, someone asked her why she didn’t just “give” a dog to someone. Her answer was quick and concise. “No one ever gave me a break, and I learned what I needed to learn. Hell No, I won’t give away that dog.”

If you were six years old and able bodied you could fill the wood bin by the fireplace as good as anyone could…. she was picking strawberries in the fields around Silverton, Oregon from a very young age herself. Hard work never hurt anyone.

The writer, me— niece, Peggy Ann Rowe Snyder.. am trying to stand apart from this sad moment, in order to give an impartial, and truthful glimpse into the life of an adored person– a personality with a kick. I am not able to do her justice, she was far more than I’ll be able to put down in words.

She was my Aunt Alveta, and she was there from my beginning and stayed until her end. She came to visit us, she rode our pony with us, collected teddy bears with us, played real rough with us, made us cry (Just like daddy), sent us birthday cards.. and I can tell you she never missed one year of my childhood.

For daddy (Alvin C. Rowe), who loved to pay his guitar.

When my father died I was 21 years old. My aunt got a bouquet of flowers in my sisters and my name. She took care of us, looked over us, taught us, and set a wonderful example for us. We could watch her and learn what the proper things to do were.

For every bit of 20 years she cared for her mother in her later years and until she passed. For the same amount of time she watched over and cared for her older epileptic sister, providing shelter, care, support and love.

Two years ago when I got my pacemaker, she was the only family member to offer to help me. She was sick by then. It was debatable who took care of whom. But, she drove from Oregon to California to take care of her niece, and she filled my home with flowers and other colorful and smelly things… and when we talked, I told her how afraid to die I was, and how I didn’t want to be alone, and she promised me that if she outlived me, I would not die alone.

When I heard she was dieing, I drove four hours to be with her, to make sure she would not be alone. I should have known she’d never be alone… every niece and nephew she had she’d participated in the raising started coming in. I was first on the scene from my side of the family, but no where near the last. It was a blessing and honor to stand back and watch the outpouring of love from the family members as they all said their good-byes.

Aunt Alveta could not have children of her own. A horse accident insured that. She has one adoptive daughter, Jessica Lorene Celina Lynn Gibboney. She has a young woman who was a foreign exchange student who considered her a mother. She has Uncle Harold’s children, grand children and great grandchildren to call her own. The nephews and nieces that she was second mother or father too surrounded her–she helped to raise many of us, we were her children. Her room was filled with folks who all loved her, and didn’t want her to go.

When I got there Friday, through a mask forcing air into her body she opened her eyes and saw me there. She said my name, and she said, “It’s time to go now. I’ve done my tour and it was a good one. I’ve said my prayers and I am not afraid to die. I’ve been talking to Grandma, and your dad, and Bo and Grandpa. It’s time. It can be ten minutes or three days, but it’s time.” I held her hand and asked her not to talk. My mind was still working on healing her so she could go home, I wanted her to rest. I wanted her to accept the love from me that she had given so freely to me over the years. “Don’t talk Aunt Alveta, let me just love you…. Rest….”

She is resting AND at home now, with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the rest of her family that preceded her. She has left a legacy of love, and strength that very few people could come close to.

Thank God, she lived long enough to leave the mark on my life. Thank God she was around to help me learn who my father was and why he was. My life has been made so much more peaceful from having her insight, her love, her support. When no one else was there, this lady was ALWAYS there, no matter what.

If I am able to lend the support to the folks I love they need to know, that a good portion of how I learned, a good portion of me, came from her… I’m not quite as colorful. I’m not nearly as tough. I’m not at all even close to being that diamond in the rough. But, a good deal of who I am is because of the fact, that she loved me.

I will always love you, Aunt Alveta. Peg

Memorial page @

4 Responses to Alveta Lorene Rowe Gibboney

  1. Cordelia Packard (Rowe) says:

    I miss my Aunt Alveta, so much… We use to send cards that were for daughters/mothers.. She was my other Mother… She lived with us 2 or 3 times when i was a child…. I lived with her 3 times after high school… The moment my son’s Dad died she was packed and up here in Wa… In 3 hrs… To be by my side… She convinced me to come live with her and Uncle Harold and attend beauty school.. She would babysit my 3yr old son while i did it.. They supported us the majority for that yr… I was there.. Then i moved home to Wa.. I wouldn’t be in the occupation and a business owner without her kick in the butt… And massive persuasion but i did it.. I know she was proud of me.. But a little mad also…. She wanted me to stay in Oregon and work with her… She wanted to get a shop in downtown Molalla… Then when she moved to LaPine she bought a ranch with a horse arena and said come down now and move here so you can take care of me when i get old… There’s a barbershop in town… She wanted me to try and get a job there.. Live near her. If only it would of been that easy… Would of been fun.. But she didn’t get much time to enjoy that home… My husband is self employed painting contractor… Its not easy to jump and move so far away from a business you have developed…. Start all over with no connections… I wish i could of spent the time with her… I love and miss her so much.. I miss our late night conversations…. Dropping my problems on her ears… When i made it down there at 3 am in the morning… ( Nobody told me for a couple days she was sick…) We had our conversation…. She tickled my tummy…(life has caught up now i have the Rowe paunch, small one…. At 18 i teased her… She said your time will come… When you get my age…) She giggled… She told me it was her time to go… She was fine with it… She had gotten everything she wanted and more.. She had a good life…. A real good man… Uncle Harold had made her a very happy Woman!!!!! I told her i loved her and what was i going to do without her…. She said i had to be the strong one now…. She said I love you, I always have and I always will….Forever!!! She came up here and took over the preparations for my wedding… I was proud to wear her dress… She made me all my flowers. Bought my guest book and pen set and photo album… took the pictures and video… Bought booze and food…. And table decorations… She loved being in charge.. She helped alot of people get married… She always said you can’t have the milk for free…. I picked berries with her, brocolli, worked at Smuckers with her when i was 18. I lived with her when i was 18,21,25….She always teased the kids… Drove me crazy she was always stealing Dion’s blanky…. She liked to play onery with the dogs… Get them to growl and teeth… We rode horses together.. She had all of us in parades…. To go to the carnivals every summer… We had to ride one scary ride with her… For her to pay our way… She was a briber!!! yes my son was packing firewood in the house at 3 1/2 yrs old. Kevin… He packed the dirty towels out of her beauty shop to laundry room for 25 cents a day… For him to earn money and save it for his account… She had a savings account for every niece nephew and grandchild of Uncle Harold’s… A binder full. When you graduated you got what she put in there… What you earned yourself and put in and what your parents put in if they did…. Kevin’s started with 25.00 at birth from her 20.00 from Grandma… When Kevin’s dad died i put 350.00 in from his savings account… Kevin Jay worked for Aunt Alveta and he put some of his own money in it… Deal was when you graduate you get your money…. He had 1,000. at graduation….. Some of us didn’t get that cause it was something she started later in life. If you didn’t graduate it was to go to your first born child…. I think a couple grandkids that happened to… I miss our shopping spree’s at the malls…. Bead hunting… She loved her beads… She scared me while living with her… I never wanted a Costco card of my own… Cause everytime we went she spent over 500.00 I thought i can’t afford that… I taught her to make marshmellow popcorn balls… She went overboard and me and her and her foreign exchange daugther Sandra made them all the time. She bought huge bags of marshmellows , and popcorn… We never did use it all up… I know she believed in spirits… Cause she told me of the anniversary of her brother Alvin’s death that he came and sat on the foot of her bed and they talked…..So when she was off her life support,,, and she wasn’t leaving this earth cause there was over 30 of us in her room as she was taking her last breath…. I looked above her head… (my father had died 2yrs before) I said Dad come get her hand and take her to the family.. But time still lingered on and she wasn’t leaving us… So finally i took the nurse aside and i said my Aunt believes in spirits and with all of us in her room she isn’t going to leave…. To much energy holding her back… You’ve got to clear everyone out… So in a short while the nurse asked us all to leave… It was less than 10 minutes and she was gone…. I believe Uncle Harold and maybe his daughter Kim were the only ones left in there.. While the rest of us went to the waiting room.. And those that had been there a couple days went to go shower… They didn’t even get a chance to get in the shower. She was our rock… She held the family together.. In a tragedy she was always first there… And notified everyone in the family… When Uncle Marvin had his motorcycle wreck i was living with her…. She had her mustang pegged to the floor to get to Salem to the hospital… I was so scared that we wouldn’t make it… When my father was going to have open heart surgery she came up to see him before it…She had to go back home…. Then when he had the surgery and everything was failing she turned around and came back to Washington,,, her heart was flip flopping she stopped in Portland at the hospital but then left and got right here and make it before he died.. Just barely… She was so close to him… After losing Grandma and my Dad i could see the big changes in her… Uncle Alvin devasted her to… But she lost her rocks like we lost ours…. The glue that held us all together…. But everytime i see a cousin or talk or internet talk….. I feel no matter how many years its been… That we love each other, care and can pick up and be the best together…. That’s how the Rowe’s roll…. It’s like we never been apart… I have had dreams of her she’s happy…. The last dream i had a week or so ago…. She was wearing a denim jacket her hair all done… SHe had eyelashes and eyebrows…… (she lost her eyelashes, i didn’t know she shaved her brows and then drew them on).. I think the lashes might of fallen out cause she use to glue fake ones on… Hers probably just didn’t grow back, I miss her so much….. She was just in our lives…. She never forgot a one of us… She made trips to N. Carolina, to California, to Washington…. She made great efforts to see her family…. She and Uncle Harold,took her Mom and Sister across the United States. She took her Aunt Wanda to Kansas… They drove. I went to Hawaii with her with Grandma , Aunt Maurita and Uncle Marvin… Her and Uncle Harold gave us one of their condo’s in Mexico… And her And Uncle Harold, Uncle Marvin went on my honeymoon with me… Ha ha ha… It was all good and fun… They had 2 condo’s.. They stayed in the best and we went to theirs during the day…. And went on lots of fun outings and dinners… And got time to ourselves to… Got to see stuff and have a guided tour….. Hoot hoot… Lots of memories with her… Carnivals, 4th July parades… When i was younger camping in the mountains with Uncle Derick and his daughter Laurie (Sis). While he was logging in the woods. We rode with a log truck driver to town to get candy… She would spoil your kid rotten or you… But on the other hand she taught you how to work… Forced it on you…. Made you try any food you didn’t like…. Cram it down your throat if you argued with her about it…. I was in beauty school and went out on a date and got drunk (YES),, had a hangover and we had to put up a fence in the front yard…. With Uncle Harold’s old fashioned post hole digger… That you had to turn in circles not like the new kind….. Well i got dizzy and ill feeling trying to walk that stupid thing around in circles….. Punishment!!!! That’s what you get for doing that when you know there was fence to build….. She liked paybacks… But you know… It made you mad at the time… Pissed you off… But in the end you learned a valuable lesson,, we know how to work , save, and not torture our kids…. Ha ha ha… We loved her all of us…. We miss her terribly… She wanted us to be independent… Take care of ourselves our kids, work for a living… Not be lazy and to be clean and eat well. Take care of your family…. keep it together… Make time for reunions… Commitment and conversation….That was her… I wish there would of been something they could of done to save her…. I miss her so dang much… All the time…. I’m not afraid to die, cause i know when its time she will be the first one there like always…. But it is a bitch to be the old generation now…. We only have 3 uncles left… And i still have my Mom… For awhile… Then i’m the old one on this side… Yuk!!! Ha ha ha… I have to have the Holiday dinners now….. Even though i don’t see any of you like i should… I love each and everyone of you with all my heart and soul…..I wish she was still here cause that was our gathering home….. Like the 4th July reunion one yr and all the other times…. We all camped out at her house… Glad they had a huge house… And property… Love to you all!!!! Cordie… AKA Cordelia Jane Rowe (Packard)

  2. Rick Rollins says:

    Do you mind if I copy your family memorials to my tree, crediting you? It is a private tree, but I do have 12 people who have guest access to it, at the moment.

    This is a great story, and I’d like to keep a copy. Knowing that websites do tend to come and go over the years, it would be a shame if something this well written became lost to me.

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