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A giant of the DeLand business world and an icon of the Downtown community has died.

Leslie “Gus” Gibbs, who owned Gibbs for Men for some four decades, among other commercial properties, died overnight Jan. 30. He was 76.

A friend said Gibbs, who loved the sport of basketball, had attended the Thursday-night Stetson University game in Jacksonville.

In addition to his business endeavors, the DeLand native was heavily involved in the community. Gibbs was a longtime Rotary Club of DeLand member, a supporter of youth athletics, and a member of the DeLand Planning Board.

Gibbs’ parents came to DeLand in 1937 and opened a general mercantile store — later a women’s clothing store — in the same block where he would later open Gibbs for Men.

The 135 N. Woodland Blvd. clothing store was a mainstay of Downtown DeLand until it closed when Gibbs retired at the end of 2018.

From his store’s window, Gibbs witnessed — and helped bring about — the transformation of the city’s moribund central business district in the 1980s into the thriving, award-winning neighborhood Downtown DeLand is today.

Through a company, he and his sister, Marcia Berman, owned several buildings in Downtown DeLand, as well as the plaza where the city’s Walmart Supercenter is located.

Lankford Funeral Home is handling arrangements. A celebration of Gibbs’ life will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Stetson’s Edmunds Center, 143 E. Pennsylvania Ave. in DeLand.

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