Catherine Lenore Gibbens

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Catherine Lenore Gibbens (Bourus)

Birthplace: Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee, United States
Death: August 20, 2018 (75)
New Iberia, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of George Jesse Bourus, Sr. and Elizabeth Anne Bourus
Wife of Private
Mother of Lou Gibbens III; Private; Private and Private
Sister of Private; Private; Private; Private; Private and 4 others

Occupation: Teacher
Managed by: Lou Gibbens III
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Catherine Lenore Gibbens

Catherine Lenore Bourus Gibbens, Ms. Cathi, an unforgettable and unique woman, passed away in her home surrounded by her family on August 20, 2018.

Loving Wife & Mother, Gifted Teacher and Storyteller

Born in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on January 19, 1943—in the middle of World War II—Catherine Lenore, then called “Cathi Lee” for short—was brought home to the military base where her father was stationed. As a little one, some of her first words came from the marching songs of soldiers she heard outside the window, near where her mom placed her crib.

The oldest of 10 children, Cathi had much experience shepherding those younger than she toward greater goals. She led her siblings at mealtime, getting settled and comforting them through the tough transitions of moving away from friends and adapting to new climates. She graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Penn. in 1960 and from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore in 1964.

Cathi Gibbens was married to Julian Louis Gibbens of Louisiana on October 10, 1964 in Decatur, Ga. They were married for 54 years and have four children: Elizabeth Pennington, Julian Louis III (Cristie Lee Gautreaux), Catherine Lenore Gibbens (Gregory William Tucker), and Patrick Sinclair.

For much of her adult life, Ms. Gibbens was a teacher, sharing with students her rich experience as a military child growing up all over the U.S. Students learned readily, even hungrily, when dazzled by Ms. Gibbens’ charm. Some wondered about her accent—a rich combination of her experience living on both the east and west coasts and in the midwest. Others just ate up the stories she told as she taught them Shakespeare and Dickens, Hemingway and Washington Irving, or lessons about American citizenship and the obligations entailed by it.

An avid reader her entire life, Cathi taught herself to cook and learned how to sew on her own. But it wasn’t until she moved to Louisiana with her husband that she learned how to cook. She often spoke of the time he asked her to make biscuits, when she had no idea where to start. But reading cookbooks and talking to neighbors and her husband’s family gave her all the wherewithal she needed to make biscuits that no one else could replicate today. She was always available for a phone call if someone wanted to know whether their roux was dark enough or what they should cook for a special occasion.

She had the voice of an angel, performing at weddings, funerals, Christmas concerts and other occasions. She taught music and played the piano, often practicing Beethoven’s Fur Elise in the afternoons after school.

In South Louisiana, from first settling in New Orleans, she drank in the Mediterranean joie de vivre and never turned back. Volunteering with the Friends of the Cabildo in the Crescent City gave her the idea later to help found the Shadows Service League, a volunteer group supporting the antebellum plantation museum, the Shadows-on-the-Teche. The Service League started a gift shop for tourists, catalogued the pre-Civil War clothing in the Shadows, and compiled cookbooks featuring some of the most scrumptious recipes from New Iberia’s finest families. Editing the cookbooks was one of her proudest accomplishments, and her adult children rely on its crawfish etouffée, Blitz Torte and bread pudding recipes to this day.

Her survivors also include her six dear grandchildren: Anna Catherine, James Harvey III and William Henry Gibbens and Olivia Grace, Emma Cathleen and William Gibbens Tucker. She has nine surviving siblings: Mary Victoria, Theresa Anne, George Jesse Jr., Valerie Frances, William Carrol, Jackson Christopher, Anthony Joseph, Elizabeth Marie and Domenica Ellen Bourus.

She was preceded in death by her parents George Jesse Bourus Sr. and Elizabeth Ann (Jackson) Bourus and her paternal grandparents, Joseph Marcellaine Bourus Sr. and Lenore Charlotte (Sinclair) Bourus, and her maternal grandparents, Maurice Francis Jackson Sr. and Katherine Margaret (Welch) Jackson.

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Catherine Lenore Gibbens's Timeline

January 19, 1943
Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee, United States
August 20, 2018
Age 75
New Iberia, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States