Bio for John Ellis Gibson – Hero of the Industry for the AFPC

John was born in Bartow Florida on September 7th, 1935, the last child of William V. and Mary L. Gibson.  He grew up in Bartow and attended school there graduating from Summerlin Institute in 1952. He attended the University of Florida and received an Associates of Arts Degree then transferred to Florida Southern to graduate with a degree in science.  While attending Florida Southern he started to work for IMCC at the Bonnie Chemical Plant as a full time employee on the third shift.  He was drafted into the US Army as soon as he graduated and took a military leave of absence for two years.  On his return from the service he was promoted to shift chemist at the Bonnie Chemical Plant.  That year 1960 he also met Ruth Anne Plaxico, a home economics teacher at S. I.  They were married December 1991 and lived in Bartow.  He was promoted to Shift Foreman and then transferred to the IMCC Noralyn Mine Laboratory.  After a short while he was promoted to Assistant Chief Chemist of the Minerals Laboratories, reporting to W. W. Harwood, Chief Chemist.  Two years later a reorganization of the Laboratories moved him to be Chief Chemist for all the Mineral Operations.

In his personal life he became the Father of three children John E., Timothy Lee, and Mary Cathrine.  He attended the ARP Church of Bartow.  He was active in the Kiwanis Club of Bartow and served as President, and became a Scout Master of Troop 615 for fifteen years (Both boys became Eagle Scouts).

As The Chief Chemist of all Minerals he helped start up a Laboratory at Port Sutton, then one at the Kingsford Plant with the merger of then IMC Global and W. R. Grace.   He had the responsibilities of Four Corners Laboratory.  As Chief Chemist I was responsible to certify all Minerals Shipments to customers, knowing the specifications of all products and customer demands.  The Laboratory’s were an integral part of Plant Operations providing timely analyses for control of the flotation plants.  He dealt with State Chemist throughout the nation concerning complaints about both minerals and chemical concerning phosphate analysis.  He was in charge of the IMC Phosphate Rock Check Sample Program and the maintaining the standards for the whole industry.  The program consisted of 75 laboratories participating worldwide.  The best chemistry and statistical analyses was developed by the Association of Florida Phosphate Check Sample Program. (Now the Association of Fertilizer and Phosphate Chemists)  This was done on the IMC Global dime, with the cooperation of all member Laboratories.

The thirty nine years at IMC were great since he had freedom to do or to get done most any job that came up.  He retired from IMC Global and moved to Flat Rock North Carolina where he presently lives.  His hobbies are playing golf and wood working.   He is an Elder in his Church, Kiwanis Club activities and visiting his seven Grandchildren keep him busy. 


John Gibson was the person responsible for the creation of Check Rock 22.  I asked him recently to describe the process of creating the phosphate rock check sample for the AFPC.  In John’s own words the creation of Check Rock 22 for the AFPC Check Sample Program.  John – Thanks for this long lasting works before your retirement.