June 19, 1938 - March 9, 2022
Ernest Cary Hibble Jr, CHS-56, brother of Martha Jane Hibble Ozment CHS-55 of Fork Union, VA, died on the afternoon of March 9th in Cradock. Ernie was predeceased by his parents Mr and Mrs Ernest C Hibble and his younger sister, Margaret Susan Hibble, CHS-61. Ernie had lived his entire life in Cradock.. He was born June 19, 1938 and died on Wednesday at age 83.
If you had lived in Cradock in the last half century you probably knew Ernie Hibble as a friend or knew of him from seeing him walking or biking in the Cradock neighborhood, especially in Afton Square. He was a fixture traveling to and from his lifelong home at 53 Channing Avenue, to the grocery store or the Junior High School on Prospect Parkway, or to Cradock Memorial Stadium. He also frequented the basketball court at James Hurst Elementary for a lifetime addiction to pickup basketball games. Ernie Hibble was everyone’s friend.
In High School, Ernie, then known as “Cary” was Valedictorian of the Cradock Class of 1956; He was on the National Honor Society for two tears; he was named to All State Band as a Senior in 1956 and to All State Workshop Band as a Junior. He was an accomplished flautist. He was on the Golf Team for two years and he kept official score at Cradock Basketball Games for three of his four years in high school.
He was an accomplished Contract Bridge player and won the designation “Life Master” from earning ‘Master Points’.
After Cradock High graduation, Ernie was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Virginia, Where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics in 1960 and was awarded designation as a “Phi Eta Sigma” the nation’s oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students and has remained a lifetime member of the Society. It recognizes students who achieved a 3.5 on a 4.0 Scale in their freshman year.
After a short stint with the federal government, in management, Cary returned to Cradock where he remained until his death of renal failure last Wednesday afternoon.
For many years Ernie was a substitute teacher at Cradock Junior High School and was well known by the faculty and staff because he was always reliable and available to fill in for them, on call, whenever needed. Whenever he served as a substitute for a Physical Education Teacher, he enjoyed his time in the gym with the youngsters where he could teach the elements of basketball.
One of his favorite pastimes and hangouts in Cradock was the small Portsmouth Public library located on Afton Square. He spent many hours in that tiny Library and was always welcomed there by the staff. Ernest Hibble was a well-loved Cradock character. He had no enemies because of his sweet disposition, and willingness to help others, especially his hundreds of young basketball proteges.
Since his retirement he established a reputation with the young basketball ballplayers within the Cradock Community and as a helpmate to many neighbors. He was widely known and respected by many generations of Cradock students because it seems he was always available, even into his senior years…past sixty…for a pickup game of basketball on the James Hurst Courts just a few blocks from his home at 53 Channing Avenue.
Ernie also kept official scorecards for hundreds of Church-League and Youth League Softball games at Cradock Memorial Stadium located behind the Junior High School. He worked on special contract with the Portsmouth Recreation Department to act as official scorekeeper for Recreation department games. His last official scorekeeping job was as the Official Scorekeeper for the Portsmouth Invitational Basketball Tournament for many years.
Given all these mundane truths about Ernie Hibble, there is one thing never to be forgotten. He was a man of great spirit, integrity, and charity. He gave of himself to his community. He worked without praise in simple tasks of life and cared deeply about his neighbors’ successes.
A songster writes:
The song is ended
But the melody lingers on
You and the song are gone
But the melody lingers on
And so, it is for those who loved Ernie Hibble…the melody lingers on.
Nearly four centuries have passed since, the renowned English poet and Christian minister, John Donne, wrote poetic lines about life’s transition to death (Devotions…published 1624)—His poem begins with the phrase: “No man is an island unto himself” ends with the unforgettable…”Do not send to know for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for thee”
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