In Memory

Elizabeth A. Gibilisco

2/8/70 - 12/28/2016

Lisa passed away unexpectedly on December 28th after a brief illness with the flu. She had taught the past 20 years with the Omaha Public Schools, and had been currently teaching at King Science Center. The importance of reading was the goal she instilled to her students, although she had little time to sit down and read herself. Lisa treated her students as if they were her own children, and was blessed in finding her calling so early in life. She will be missed greatly by her family and friends.

Preceded in death by her father Ron; and grandparents. Survived by mother JoAnn Gibilisco; brother Bob Gibilisco; sisters, Peggy Kusy, and Ann (Mike) Perl; beloved nieces and nephews, Jon, Erik, Hayden, and Morgan Kusy, and Matt and Alex Perl; and great-nephew Cole Kusy.

VISITATION at St. Bernadette Catholic Church (7600 S. 42nd) on Thursday beginning at 4:30pm, with VIGIL SERVICE at 6:30pm, all at the Church.

MASS of CHRISTIAN BURIAL will be Friday at 11am at the Church. Interment in St. John Cemetery.

Memorials requested to: St. Bernadette Church or Gross Catholic High School.

BETHANY FUNERAL HOME 82nd & Harrison 402-593-6100

Veteran OPS teacher Lisa Gibilisco, who died unexpectedly at 46, 'was very good at listening and offering a ray of hope'

By Erin Duffy / World-Herald staff writer


Friends and family described Lisa Gibilisco as a caring but no-nonsense veteran teacher in the Omaha Public Schools.  Gibilisco, 46, died unexpectedly last week at home after falling ill with bronchitis. Doctors think she died of the flu, said her mother, Joann Gibilisco.  The Sarpy County Coroner’s Office has not released a final autopsy report yet.

An Omaha native, Gibilisco attended St. Bernadette Catholic School and Gross Catholic High School. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and taught in OPS for 20 years.  She taught math at Kellom Elementary for years before moving to King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School, where she taught seventh-grade reading.

Joann Gibilisco said her daughter was tough and had high expectations for students but was well-liked by students and colleagues. She coached volleyball and swimming and would bring in candy as a reward for students’ good behavior.  “She was strict, but she was nice and had fun with them,” Joann Gibilisco said. “They didn’t push her around.”  Many current and former students wrote tributes to Gibilisco on social media.  She was used to being approached by former students while out running errands, her mother said. They often had a hug for her and gave excited updates about their lives.  Kids knew they could confide in her, said Diane Hoffmann, a friend and eighth-grade teacher at King Science.  “She was very good at listening and offering a ray of hope or a positive, kind word,” she said. “She was a real, true, good teacher. She’s going to be really missed.”

A robocall went home informing families of Gibilisco’s death, and her students received personalized calls home, King Science Principal Maria Buckner said.  Counselors will be available when students return to school next week, and students will be able to fill a box with their favorite memories of her.  “It’s going to be a huge impact on them,” Buckner said.  Buckner said Gibilisco was known to take younger teachers under her wing and always had extra supplies on hand for needy students.  “Every morning you’d find her in the hallway, interacting with students, interacting with peers,” she said.

Outside of work, Gibilisco enjoyed playing cards, often frequenting local casinos, and going to Creighton University basketball games and the College World Series, her mother said.  She and her family took annual vacations together, and she took great pride in the accomplishments of her nieces and nephews, Hoffmann said.  Her unexpected death has been difficult for the family to grasp, Joann Gibilisco said. Her daughter survived ovarian cancer years ago, only to seemingly succumb to the flu.

Her funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Bernadette Catholic Church. Internment will follow at St. John Cemetery.