A Letter to SIBA's friends from Wanda Jewell, Executive Director
I am heartbroken. As is Matt Bibb’s family. Matt Bibb passed away on Thanksgiving morning. He had apparently been ill with what was thought to be a flu, but it turned out to be more serious than that. Since I learned, I have been thanking my lucky stars to have known this fellow. Matt and I were an unlikely but dynamic duo.
I believe I first met Matt in 2002. The SIBA show was to be held in Atlanta and I trained a dozen Chapter Eleven booksellers to work that show’s registration over the weekend. One stood out, and that was Matt. You couldn’t help but notice him. Well over six feet tall, a bear of a guy with a long dark ponytail and a beard to match. And he stood out in other ways as well. He could not have been more amenable and hard-working and he has been behind the registration desk at every SIBA since. I’m so glad he was at the New Orleans show. Matt had an affinity for New Orleans. It was his kind of town. I cannot imagine a SIBA Show without him.
He is the only person who called me “boss”, and he used it like it was my name, and I loved it. He has met and won the heart of each member of my family and actually stopped by our house for an afternoon last July and we had a long visit, and then we had our regular time in New Orleans. Matt always brought me a gift when he came to the SIBA show and this year was no different. I have three horseshoes he brought this year, and from previous years, I have a brass book necklace, little toys that I think are from anima?? (Matt loved sci-fi and fantasy), and a pair of house shoes that look like some octopus type creature and so many funny little items that are scattered across my home. I never see them without remembering him. He was a voracious reader and a gifted storyteller.
Matt was living on his mom’s farm. He shared many stories about the chickens and the cows, and the dogs, and the people that resided and visited there. Matt texted me some time back would I be offended if he named one of his cows after me as she had my eyes. I was delighted and even more so now that there is a cow called Wanda. Here is what Matt’s mom shared with me yesterday about Wanda the cow:
“I have to tell you that your cow is a pain in the butt, she wanders in and out of the fence at will, stops the school bus in the road because she won't move. Just kinda does as she pleases and we all just have to adjust.”
He loved us well. I felt as though Matt would do anything I asked. I will miss him more than I can say.
Here is what I know:
Anne Bibb Ruble is Matt’s mom. Her number is 770 316 9044. She is only up for texts right now but would love to hear from folks who knew and loved Matt. Her snail mail is 2173 Foster Sprouse Rd., Thomson, GA 30824. Her facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/anne.bibbruble and Matt’s facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/matthew.bibb.3?fref=ts
Matt hated funerals. His mom has asked his friends to get together and have a few drinks and tell Matt stories. I am asking that you share your Matt stories on one of their facebook pages or at SIBA’s: https://www.facebook.com/SouthernIndependentBooksellersAlliance
I want Matt’s mom to enjoy and see our stories and if we share on facebook she will be able to see them.
And finally, Matt’s mom wanted yall to know:
“Matt lived for SIBA. It’s what made the whole year worthwhile. Please let them know Matt has died and he truly loved all of them.”