The Northern Westchester Examiner

Former Peekskill Mayor Fran Gibbs Dies at 93

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Frances S. Gibbs, the first woman elected mayor of the City of Peekskill, died Wednesday at her home. She was 93.

A lifelong resident of Peekskill, she graduated from NYU where she was the University’s first woman to hold the position of Class President and was also editor of the school paper. She has been acknowledged for her dynamic leadership role with an outstanding legacy of public service paired with her experience as a small business owner, educator and participant in a wide range of community activities. A featured speaker at seminars and for panels on economic development, she was the recipient of numerous civic awards both locally and nationally.

After enjoying years teaching in the Peekskill schools, she served for eight years on the Peekskill City Council. She was elected as Peekskill’s first woman mayor, serving for three terms (1994-1999). Her administration received state, national and international recognition for its vision, development and expansion of the Artists District including the construction of Art Lofts and Westchester Community College Digital Arts Center locating in downtown Peekskill. Important community quality of life enhancements included creating Charles Point Pier Park and the Peekskill Landing concept as an expansion of the Riverfront Green Park by working with Scenic Hudson and the NYS Greenway plan.

Other accomplishments of her administration included establishing the Business Improvement District (BID), Peekskill Youth Bureau, historic restoration of Drum Hill School as a senior assisted living facility, the Park Street Flats Historic affordable housing and so much more. As charter board members, she and her late husband Ed played an instrumental role in the development of the Paramount Center for the Arts and its impressive restoration. Together, they also operated Mill Run Summer Day Camp in Shrub Oak from 1950-1987. Throughout the years, she continued to be an active member of the Peekskill Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and was appointed to other important governmental agencies.

She is remembered with love and affection by her sons Donald, Stuart and Peter; daughters-in-law Kathleen and Lisa; grandchildren Rachel, Ellery and Brandon; her brother Norton and sister-in-law Eve Schneps; and sister-in-law Lucia Schneps. She was predeceased by her devoted husband of more than 50 years, the Honorable Edward M. Gibbs, and her brother Jacob “Jack” Schneps.

She was the daughter of Elias and Rose Schneps, who operated the Top Notch Bakery after moving to New York from Debica, Poland in the early part of the 20th century.

The family will receive friends at the Curry & Giordano Funeral Home, 312 North James St in Peekskill, on Saturday, November 2 from 1 to 5 p.m. A private graveside service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Frances S. Gibbs may be made to Friends of the Field Library in Peekskill or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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