Olympic Boxer Toby Gibson, 51, In California Of Graves Disease
SPOKANE - Toby Gibson, a former Olympic boxer who became a prosecutor and later went to prison after an armed robbery, is dead at the age of 51.
Mr. Gibson died at his Oakland, Calif., home Wednesday from complications of Graves disease.
Mr. Gibson scored 12 straight knockouts en route to a berth on the 1964 boxing team after winning the national Amateur Athletic Union title at 156 pounds.
With teammate Joe Frazier, Mr. Gibson was considered a top U.S. hope for a gold medal. He knocked out his first opponent, but lost his chance at a medal when he lost a decision to a Ghanian boxer.
Mr. Gibson turned pro after the Olympics, but fought only five fights before giving up the ring to go college and pursue a law degree.
"I remember he said he realized there was more to life than boxing and he wanted to do something more with his life," said retired Eastern Washington University history Professor Ray Schults. "He said he was going to law school."
Mr. Gibson earned a sociology degree and later worked as an assistant admissions director to put himself through law school.
Mr. Gibson became the first black to be appointed a deputy Spokane County prosecutor, but was later fired when he ran unsuccessfully for a Superior Court judgeship.
Mr. Gibson left Spokane in 1976 and opened a practice in Seattle.
He was disbarred by the Washington-state Supreme Court in 1978 for misappropriating more than $25,000 from clients' trust funds.
In 1980, he was convicted in Alameda County, Calif., of extortion, false imprisonment and robbery stemming from the armed robbery of an Oakland law firm. He spent nearly seven years in prison.
"It's a sad ending to a kind of sad life," said Spokane attorney Carl Maxey, a friend. "Toby had many, many beautiful qualities. He made a mistake and paid dearly for it."
Mr. Gibson is survived by his wife, Anna, three sons, a brother and stepmother.
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