Greg Gibson (#1208)
Born in 1950, Greg has been a life-long Michigan resident. He met his wife Karen while attending a community dance at a ski lodge in Holly in 1968. They may have met earlier since they both lived in Flint and were zoned for the same high school, but Karen’s family moved to Fenton in 1964. They married in 1970 and have a son, daughter, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. The couple initially lived in Flint, settling in Fenton in 1986 where they live today.
After several years working odd jobs typical to the era post high school, in 1972 Greg went to work at General Motors, retiring in 2002 after a 30-year career in the automobile manufacturing industry. He picked up a degree in communications and minor in history from the University of Michigan on GM’s dime. Being older than many of his peer students, they would look to him for insight and his life experience, and he enjoyed interacting with them. He was often amused by the fact that he knew answers because he had lived through that time in history.
Concurrent to his time at GM, Greg ran a successful DJ business, Flint’s Original Music Source. Being a DJ was both fun and profitable for him. He enjoyed doing private parties on weekends for many years, deciding to close the business shortly before retiring from GM due to the logistics of hauling all the equipment around while getting older.
Greg has always had a passion for history, which was the driving force behind his collecting interests from comics, to coins, to war relics, and to license plates. He is a born collector and loves to gain knowledge and be able to share it with others. He once thought he would be an art or history teacher, but GM paid more.
He started collecting plates in 1970 when discovering a couple of plates in a scrapyard while scrounging for parts to keep the family car running early in his marriage. One of the plates found was a rusty 47 truck plate. Discovering the paint under the surface rust ignited a passion to experiment with methods to clean plates, an art he mastered over the years and espouses today.
Early in his marriage Greg maintained Gibby’s Battle Shop, a German war relics shop, in their house. He traveled to gun shows with a friend in a green camo painted Corvair van with the shop name on the side. Greg met Dale Blewett at one of those shows in early 1971 when Dale stopped to check out a 1910 license plate sitting on his table that he was surprised to see at such a venue. Dale told Greg about ALPCA, and he joined immediately.
Greg’s first regional meet was in Xenia, Ohio, where he and Karen camped in the battle van in Willie Stahl’s back yard. He attended his first convention in Enid, Oklahoma in 1974. He missed the 1975 convention but has been a fixture ever since. Early on the trips were funded by spare change collected throughout the year.
During his fifty years as a member, Greg has made a profound impact on ALPCA that few can match. Elected to the ALPCA Board of Directors in 2008, he has served in every elected position over a twelve-year period until stepping down in 2020 to focus more on enjoying the hobby and his family. During his five years as the President, he guided ALPCA through the most difficult financial turmoil the club has ever experienced that put its very existence at risk. Through his leadership the club was made whole financially, emerging from that crisis stronger than ever. While many hobby clubs have seen a steady decline in membership, ALPCA grew under his watch.
Very early on he began participating in the Michigan club, fostering a generation of collectors where he is on his second stint as President. He has also served several terms as a board member and editor, one of which was as ‘temporary editor’ that lasted for 18 years. No one seems to know exactly how long he has been President for this current term.
Greg promotes ALPCA every time the opportunity presents itself. He was one of the first members to put the ALPCA logo in his eBay auctions to promote club growth and hobby awareness. His grading standards are legendarily strict. Those who have traded with him know that a "Gibby very good" plate is often nicer than what many collectors grade as excellent. He will downgrade the condition if the plate gathers too much dust.
While Greg takes the hobby and his club service seriously, he occasionally exhibits a dry sense of humor as evidenced when as President he showed up to the business meeting during the 2014 Rochester convention in a tuxedo, while most attendees were in jeans and T-shirts.
A prime example Greg’s dedication to the hobby was exhibited while enroute to the 1970 convention in Colorado. While driving in a torrential rainstorm about 50 miles outside of Denver, the Gibsons were in a car accident where their van was hit by a semi that resulted in the van coming to a rest in the valley median after rolling over multiple times. After being treated and released from a local ER, the trucking company put them up for the night in a hotel and arranged for a rental car the next day. Greg retrieved his stuff from his totaled van and still made it to the convention. Once home, his doctor discovered he had broken 3 ribs from the accident.
It is with distinct pleasure that the ALPCA Hall of Fame bestows the honor of acceptance to one of the most knowledgeable and impactful collectors in a generation, Greg Gibson.