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Michael "Mike" Gibbons

Michael "Mike" Gibbons

There are extremely few who have given so much effort, support, and guidance to croquet as Mike Gibbons. Both Mike and Cynthia leapt into the croquet scene in New York City where they became keen players. As with so many other aspects of Mike's life he became an ardent supporter of the USCA and The Croquet Foundation of America. His history of guidance and support is very distinguished. This is no surprise, when you get to know both Mike and Cynthia.

Michael Gibbons is executive vice-president and general manager of the Fashion Group of Estee Lauder companies and has been with Estee Lauder for thirty-two years. Both Mike and Cynthia's charitable endeavors are legend. Most recently they were named Family of Man Honorees awarded by Family Counseling Services. Mike has served as president and chairman of The International Center of New York, a private, not-for-profit center established to welcome new immigrants and refugees to America. Mike has been an innovative leader in the philanthropic endeavors of the cosmetics industry. In 1976 he was cofounder and first chairman of the popular Beauty Ball which now raises over one million dollars annually for the March of Dimes. Additionally he helped found the Dream Ball which raises over one million dollars annually for The American Cancer Society.

More recently, having undergone open heart surgery, Mike has devoted his considerable fund-raising skills to The American Heart Association.

Mike's philanthropic dedication and effort extended deeply into croquet. Beyond his significant sponsorship in the USCA and CFA, he has been advertiser and underwriter of countless croquet publications, tournaments, events and fund-raisers.

For ten years, Mike served as USCA vice-president under the presidencies of Jack Osborn, Foxy Carter and Bill Berne as well as vice-president of the CFA for several years. He served as chairman of several committees including the Grievance Committee, Tournament Committee and National Croquet Gallery and Archives Committee.

With their usual enthusiasm, Mike and Cynthia embarked upon their croquet odyssey in New York City and their travels took them nationwide. Both honed their skills at USCA instructional schools and through the years found winning success in various invitational tournaments and particularly club events near their homes in New York City, Palm Beach, and Westhampton, L.I.

Beyond some excellent top finishes in the Nationals, he managed to win two Mid-Atlantic Regional Doubles Championships with his partner and fellow member of the Hall of Fame, John Young. In 1990, Mike won the inaugural National Seniors Singles Championship sponsored by Gieves and Hawkes then contested among players 50 years and older. Mike was also selected to play on several President's Cup Teams. More than this, Mike lent his full support to the USCA with unbridled enthusiasm.

Mike and Cynthia still reside in New York City and have four grown children, Laura, Jeff, Jenny, and son Mike who is a formidable player as well. And while their sport interests have turned more to golf and tennis, Mike and Cynthia occasionally appear at the odd croquet venue or gathering.

When asked for a quote about croquet, Mike responded:

"It's a great game, you make friends. In foursomes (golf or tennis) you hit some balls and that's it. But in croquet, you make friends it's terrific. And you have to remember, I met a lot of those people when I was chairman of the Grievance Committee so I have a little different …"

And Mike lets out a loud laugh.

Perhaps that is what it is about Mike, he likes people, cares about them, and IS a great friend. No matter where life takes him, he remembers you and with his broad smile, warm greeting and infectious sense of' humor makes you feel so comfortable and special. Actually it is Mike who is so special to the croquet world and everyone around him.

Mike, we most heartily welcome you to the United States Croquet Hall of Fame.

Michael "Mike" Gibbons was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1999.

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