Larry Gibson

Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains  (1946-2012)

Compelling Reasons Why The Larry Gibson Biography Project is So Important

1. Larry Gibson asked that his biography be written.
2. His life story is inspiring. He grew up poor,
uneducated, short-in-stature, shamed and taunted.
Yet Larry became an admired and effectual leader in
the struggle to protect mountain homelands.
3. Larry’s personal integrity, courage, and passion
for justice are charisms to be passed on to future
generations. This biography will focus on shining his
character traits into readers’ hearts.
4. Larry’s family members are enthusiastic, as are also
his friends.
5. Larry’s message, told in his indomitable and engaging
style, will educate readers about battleground issues
between exploiters of lands and communities versus
those who value and protect their homelands. He had
the soul-force to deeply impact hearts.
6. Larry Gibson often said to his listeners when
discussing mountaintop removal, “If I don’t make you
mad, I’m not doing my job.” Yet Larry was incredibly
warm and humorous among friends and strangers. His
biography will move readers off the fence of neutrality,
apathy, and fear and into action. His motto about
mountains was, “Love them or leave them, just don’t
destroy them.”


Marybeth LorbieckiIntroducing Marybeth Lorbiecki As Larry’s Biographer

We are pleased to introduce Marybeth Lorbiecki as our writer for Larry Gibson’s biography. Marybeth is a talented, accomplished author whose published books include the award-winning biography, A Fierce Green
Fire: Also Leopold’s Life and Legacy. Additional works include Following St. Francis: John Paul II’s Call for Ecological Action, and numerous illustrated children’s books.
Website is Marybeth Lorbiecki author .
Marybeth lives in Hudson, Wisconsin, and is married to David Mataya and have grown children. She spent several months interning in eastern Kentucky (Floyd County).

Marybeth is a fervent advocate for environmental and social justice, diligent organized worker, creative thinker, thorough researcher, and a warm, outgoing, perceptive woman. Her personality resonates with that of
Larry Gibson. Among her other pursuits is that she is founder of Interfaith Oceans.

Why Larry Gibson’s Biography

On several occasions in 2012, the last year of his life, Larry Gibson asked Christians For The Mountains for help in writing his biography. We promised him.

Since then, we have conducted numerous interviews, gathered lots of information, and developed outlines, strategies, and goals.

Finally we were able to land a skilled, experienced biographer with a heart that would resonate with Larry Gibson’s.

In October 2018, Marybeth Lorbiecki eagerly agreed to further research and then write Larry’s biography. She is a long-time friend to CFTM, trustworthy, a dedicated Christian, and passionate for justice (including environmental justice). Among her numerous published books is her acclaimed biography on the influential conservationist, Aldo Leopold. She has actively engaged with the project through her research, her ability to genuinely understand her interviewees, and her writing skill.

The heart of the narrative is Larry Gibson’s passionate, courageous, and motivational efforts to resist mountaintop removal.The writing style is to motivate readers to emulate and draw from Larry Gibson’s character and action so as to inspire and equip them to act for justice in their own contexts. Historical background, family upbringing, anecdotal stories, quotations, news stories, and cultural context will be tools toward telling this story. Importantly, the biography also highlights the valiant efforts and achievements of numerous people who are also heroes in their own right.

Research began to uncover troubling yet insightful information on his childhood and early adulthood that is a story in itself. Larry’s story is one of hardship, struggle, and redemption that propelled his indomitable courage, persistence, and love of land and people. Melding this complex inspiring person into a readable, motivational book is our work and prayer.

About the Writing Progress

The draft writing of the biography was completed in May 2022. Several people are reviewing it for accuracy. The research included interviews of approximately 100 people, averaging 2 hours each. The draft biography is over 1000 pages, documented in footnotes, and written in a novelistic narrative style that is true to factual history while reading as a lively page-turner.

The large volume will be made available. However, ​this will be separated into two book files for publishing proposals, a longer book on the movement (Appalachia Uprising: How Larry Gibson & Friends Took on King Coal, Dirty Politics & Climate Change, and a short personal book with photos on Larry (The Biggest Man on the Mountain: Larry Gibson’s Life & Legacy.