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Philip "Terry" Gieber

June 21, 1948 - February 25, 2021

Phillip "Terry" Terrance Gieber passed from this life on February 25, 2021. He was born on June 21,1948 to Albert and Edna (Debauche) Gieber in Concordia, Kansas. Terry was a 1966 graduate of Clifton High School in Clifton, Kansas. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Art in 1970 from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. He completed a Master’s Degree of Sculpture in 1971 from Fort Hays. He served in the US Army from June 1971 to July 1974. He was stationed in Worms, Germany where he rediscovered pottery while visiting a ceramics exhibition. More than just making art, Terry enjoyed the chemistry that goes into the clay. His later work was heavily influenced by his childhood in Kansas. He incorporated his awe of nature into every piece he designed. Terry said, “I think of landscape all the time. My work is always about earth. It’s decorating with fire itself”. He returned to Fort Hays State to earn his teaching credentials (74-75) and taught art in Coffeyville, KS (1975-1976). He then taught art from 1976-1980 at Southwest Community College in Creston, Iowa. In 1980 he was accepted to the MA/MFA (Terminal Degree) Program at the University of Iowa. In 1983 he was offered a position as assistant professor of ceramics and art history at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He served as art department chair from 1988 to 2012. For 31 years Terry Gieber tirelessly served as a professor of art in the Gonzaga University Art Department where he built from scratch and led the ceramics program and taught both ceramics and art appreciation courses. During that time he made invaluable contributions to the Art Department as a much respected educator in the region, to Gonzaga University as a long-serving department chair, and to the national and international ceramics community as an artist most famous for his “tornado jars”. Terry maintained an active exhibition schedule as one of the premier ceramic artists in the western United State. In 1994 he was the recipient of the Gonzaga award for scholarship (Great Teachers Program Award for Distinguished Scholarship), which recognized his work in ceramic tile restoration for several historic buildings in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other American cities. His tour de force tornado jars are in many respected collections nationwide. In 2002 Terry was an artist-in-residence at the prestigious Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Art in Helena, Montana. He served for 22 years as the chair of the Gonzaga University Art Dept., one of his many accomplishments that demonstrate his dedication to the arts. He mentored with incredible compassion, wit, and generosity of his time all of the art faculty who were hired after him. He was truly the rock of the department for all of those years. Terry’s impact on the education of literally thousands of college students is immeasurable. But his achievements as a ceramics professor are most clearly evident among the dozens of professional ceramic artists whom he trained and mentored over the years. For the vast majority of his career as a ceramics professor, Terry had at least one former Gonzaga student enrolled in a MFA ceramics program at any given time. He was a gifted teacher whose ceramics courses are remembered well and fondly by a generation of Gonzaga alumni. He applied his talents and knowledge as an artist to benefit both local and international communities. For many years he led the Empty Bowls fundraising project in Spokane Valley held at Jenny’s Café. He and his ceramics assistants and students made 300+ bowls each year for this fundraiser for local charities that was held in early March at Jenny’s Café in Spokane Valley. Terry typically made at least 100 off these ceramic bowls himself. He also contributed his knowledge, time, and expertise to projects led by Engineers without Borders and Potters for Peace, specifically a water purification project at the Songhai Center in Porto Novo, Benin. He displayed the first of his iconic tornado jars, the “Dorothy and Toto Jar” in 1989 at the Washington Centennial exhibit in Tacoma. The piece was 9 feet tall. He had close connections with the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, where he was Artist in Residence in the summer of 2002. His work in the ceramic tile industry led to his assistance with dozens of restoration projects throughout the United States. His work was shown extensively, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Starting in 2007, Terry headed the “Empty Bowls Project”, which each year produces and donates 100 bowls to benefit the fight against cancer in children, childhood hunger and other worthy causes. Beginning in 2005, he worked with “Engineers without Borders” and “Potters for Peace” on water purification projects in Benin, Africa. On May 21, 2014 he retired from Gonzaga as Professor Emeritus. He met the love of his life, Kimberly Bramscher 52 years ago while they were both attending Fort Hays State. They wed on May 30, 1970 in Hays, KS. Terry is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Kimberly of the home and son, Brett Gieber of Seattle, WA, his mother, Edna Rogge of Clay Center, KS, sisters: Lana (Russell) Biladeau of Silver Lake, KS, Annette (Robin) Hood of Concordia, KS, Angela Hayes of Fort Collins, CO., and his brother: Steven (Vicki) Gieber of Abilene, KS. He leaves behind numerous relatives and friends. Terry was preceded in death by his father, Albert Gieber and stepfather, Adolph Rogge. A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday, March 5, 2021, at 2 pm PST at South Pines Cemetery, 13400 E. 32nd Ave., Spokane Valley, Washington, 99206. Father Timothy Clancy will officiate the service. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial gift to Gonzaga University in memory of Terry Gieber, for a Fine Arts Endowed Scholarship. Donations via check can be sent to Gonzaga University, Advancement Office, 502 E. Boone Ave. Spokane, WA 99258-0098 – note “Gieber’s Fine Arts Endowed Scholarship” on the memo line on the check, or online at In the bottom section – indicate that this is a memorial gift for “Gieber’s Fine Arts Endowed Scholarship”, or via phone: 1-800-463-6925


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