Larry Gibson, long-time environmental activist, died of a heart attack Sunday, September 10, while working on Kayford Mountain, the family home in Raleigh County which he spent the last decades of his life protecting from the coal mining practice known as mountaintop removal.
Kayford was the site of Larry’s birth, the final resting place of 300 ancestors stretching back to the 18th century, and the site of Larry’s annual 4th of July festival celebrating life in the mountains. As part of his effort to preserve the mountains, Larry traveled across the country, to schools, churches and a wide range of public gatherings where he spread his simple gospel about the mountains: “Love em or leave em; just don’t destroy em.”
A private funeral is planned, and Larry’s family has requested that persons wishing to express condolences make donations to Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, which Larry founded in 2004 to support mountain communities. A public memorial service will be announced at a later time. Larry is survived by his wife, Carol, two sons Cameron and Larry, Jr. and his daughter, Victoria. He was sixty-six years old.