Lexington councilman whose district included areas around UK campus dies unexpectedly


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Emily Girard

Lexington councilman Jake Gibbs, whose district encompassed the University of Kentucky campus, died unexpectedly today. He was 66.

Gibbs represented Council District 3, which encompasses UK, downtown Lexington, and several neighborhoods adjacent to East Main Street, South Broadway and Nicholasville Road. He became District 3’s councilman in 2014 and was reelected twice.

He advocated for the protection of  the city’s farms, forests and historic neighborhoods, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said in a statement.

“Jake was a real warrior for his district,” said Gorton in a statement. “We will miss his steady hand and his unshakable community spirit.”

“Our prayers are with his family … his wife, Anita, and his daughters,” Gorton said.

UK President Eli Capilouto said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the news of Gibbs’ death.

“Councilman Gibbs was a steadfast supporter of the University of Kentucky and worked diligently to balance the needs of the 3rd district with the needs of our students and the campus,” Capilouto said. “He was also an ardent enthusiast of our sustainability efforts on campus, including initiatives to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access – initiatives that benefited UK and the entire community. Councilman Gibbs was an outstanding public servant and partner for both UK and BCTCS. He will be sorely missed.”

Gibbs received master’s degrees in history and library science from UK, his city website stated.

In addition to his duties as councilman, Gibbs taught history and logic at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. He also served as BCTC’s ombudsman. He was known for walking to his various jobs, and he advocated for installing more crosswalks and bike lanes in Lexington.

Gibbs’ cause of death is currently unknown.