Every Sunday, Marshall “Jack” Gibson visits patients at the Maine Medical Center cancer treatment facility that’s named for his first wife, Susan, who died of lung cancer in 1989.

He stops and chats and hands out packages of Scottish shortbread, which she showed him how to make back in 1953 from an old family recipe.

It’s one of the smaller, but important, things that the South Portland businessman and philanthropist does regularly for people across Maine.

“If I meet a patient lacking in family visitors — sometimes they come from Aroostook County and it’s a hardship to get here — I’ll go back Wednesday and visit them again,” Gibson said. “I have a fairly good sense of humor, and I like to help people feel better a little bit.”

Eleven years ago, he donated $2 million to establish the 44-bed Gibson Pavilion. More recently, he set up a charitable program with his second wife, Ruth-Anne, that will give $10,000 to a different Maine municipality each month for the next five years to help meet citizens’ needs. Mapleton officials planned to buy playground equipment. Norway gave property-tax discounts to low-income seniors.

The desire to help others is something Gibson picked up from his parents.


“They shared what they had, even though it was during the Depression and they didn’t have much,” he said.

To learn where his money will be most useful, the 82-year-old grandfather counts on contacts he made as owner of Commercial Paving & Recycling Co. for nearly 60 years.

He sold the company in 2004, but continues to work daily as a commercial real estate developer and property owner in South Portland and Scarborough.

“I couldn’t retire,” Gibson said. “I just can’t sit still.”


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