A terrible loss for Dawn Farm and the field

644154_4046299231979_1957479813_nLast night (Wednesday), Pat Gibbons, Dawn Farm’s Medical Director and psychiatrist died suddenly. We’re stunned. He was just at Spera on Tuesday night seeing clients. It’s a terrible loss for Dawn Farm and our community.

Any words I can come up with feel entirely inadequate, but here goes.

He was a model of the power of recovery. He paid his debt forward as much as anyone I’ve ever seen.

  • He was a mentor and source of support for hundreds of recovering men.
  • He volunteered for Dawn Farm in several capacities over the years. His contributions were always quiet, but always important.
  • He provided free and inexpensive medical and psychiatric care to countless clients.
  • He helped establish and disseminate a protocol that helped benzodiazepine and alcohol dependent patients safely detox in non-medical settings.

Gibbons1-300x279Pat established himself as the most respected addiction psychiatrist in the region and served at University of Michigan, the Veterans Administration, Community Support and Treatment Services, the Health Professional Recovery Program, Pain Recovery Solutions and Dawn Farm.

Pat interacted with ALL of his patients in a manner that conveyed hope, many of whom had been discarded and neglected by other systems.

Facebook is being flooded with comments from friends, former patients and colleagues remembering his kindness, intelligence, wisdom, compassion, humility, sense of humor, patience and gratitude. People are giving him credit for their recovery, their careers and much more.

In the midst of all this, he was a proud father of six children.

We are grateful to have had him as part of our family. His death is going to be a terrible loss for the community. I can’t think of anyone who has done as much to improve medical and psychiatric care for our most vulnerable community members. We will miss him terribly. He was a very good man.


28 thoughts on “A terrible loss for Dawn Farm and the field

  1. What an amazingly caring and insightful mentor he was….the primary force behind my completion of the 12 steps initially and a large part of my continued sobriety. He will forever hold a place in my heart! His compassion for those of us that are broken was unsurpassed. I thank God for Pat’s presence in my life yesterday, today and in every tomorrow as I recall his words of guidance and wisdom often. My prayers are with his family in their time of loss.

  2. Jason, a great article about a great man. One thing I wanted to mention. From the comments to this post and the shares on Facebook it appears he was also a mentor and support to many women. The article only mentions men.

    It’s obvious that Pat had a positive influence on and was helpful to many women in recovery. Shouldn’t that be recognized? I’m sure this is just an oversight, but I would amend this article to say he was a mentor and source of support for hundreds of men and women in recovery. It just seems more accurate and true 🙂

    1. Very true, anytime I had a question involving a pregnant woman, you could tell his full attention was given instantly. I knew it was something he was passionate about.

    2. So true Derek! I saw Dr. Gibbons at the Pain Recovery Solutions location last year where I am being treated for chronic pain. He not only helped me to cope with my pain, but also brilliantly taught me in a very sensitive way how to understand the personality, actions and reactions of loved ones who have been affected by the disease of addiction.
      I remember getting frustrated once by the length of time I had waited to see him. One of the staff members responded to me by saying, ” Dr. Gibbons is in such great demand. We feel so fortunate to have him for this “sliver” of time.” My long waits no longer matter, because she was so correct! He was well worth with the wait. Our world lost one of the very best. My heartfelt sympathy not only to his family and friends but also to his staff and many patients.


      1. That was one of the GREAT things about Pat, he gave full attention and time to each person/family. Time on the clock did NOT take precedence
        over the NEED. Joe.Novetske, Charlotte, Mi.

  3. Thank you Jason, for expressing the sense of sadness and loss that so many are feeling.

  4. Stunned and sad. What a great guy and friend…from early recovery, being part of the Zingerman’s team, transitional house managers, and giving back at every opportunity. What a wonderful example of service and humility. He will be missed, but forever in my heart.

  5. Wow…so sudden, shockingly surreal!!!…..Thank God for his service and example, & the thousands he helped in this life. Prayers being lifted to his family, friends and community for comfort in grieving this incomprehensible loss…

  6. My Deepest Condolences to Family and Friends. Pat will be Dearly missed by many. In our Prayers always Love ~John D.

  7. I am so sorry the news of Dr. Pat’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of him.

  8. Thanks Jason for the great words of remembrance for Pat. He was indeed a model, mentor, friend and so much more. He will indeed be greatly missed by all of us.

  9. He will be missed at Hope Medical Clinic too. God Bless him in his journey in life and Bless his soul with God. My prayers are with the family and friends. May they find grace, peace,strength and remember the joy they had with him. Kathy Horak

  10. A true “gentle” man. I have known Pat since the 80′s when we worked at Huron Oaks. He never changed, always helpful and humble. I will miss him as my friend and support

  11. Pat was definitely a man of many talents who wore many hats. I am honored to have known such a great man. He will be dearly missed and my prayers are with his family and the community.

  12. I used to work overnight weeknights at Dawn Farm Downtown and Pat often came over searching for food and updating client medications as he was managing the 3/4 house next door. During those nights I got a chance to talk with him and gain an understanding of how incredibly gifted and talented he was and how selflessly he applied those gifts to helping others. Pat was and is an inspiration and the type of person who gives me faith in humanity.

  13. He was a such a positive, and bright light for me when I was a newcomer. He helped so many people.

  14. A dynamic person. I had the privilege of working with pat during my training at the University of Michigan. He cared deeply for his patients, and they knew it. May the healing and joy he brought to many who suffered bring peace to those who knew and loved him. Condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and patients.

  15. What a gift he shared to all. Thank You Pat. God Bless your Wife and family, my they always carry the message you have shared so lovingly and freely. Dr. Gibbons you have left a beautiful impact on so many lives. Thank you and Peace.

  16. When my wife and I were struggling with our sons addictions and other professionals were diagnosing schizophrenia and more drugs God brought Pat Gibbons into our lives. Pat gave us hope and direction through Dawn Farms and his counseling. We always felt we could take what Pat told us to to the “BANK”, We knew because he had been there.personally himself. be We will always thank God for him. Joe Novetske, Charlotte, Mi.

  17. I just heard about the passing of Dr. Gibbons and wanted to express my sincere condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends. He was a truly remarkable man with an inspirational story and so many good works that will continue on in the community. He will be sorely missed my many, including myself. Thank you for everything Dr. Gibbons – shane

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