Carolyn Gibbs

Carolyn Margaret Gibbs, 72, of Portola Valley, CA, passed away peacefully in her home with her loving family by her side on Sunday, November 29, 2020. She was an incredible fighter who did not let her cancer diagnosis define her or stop her daily life.  To the end she continued to counsel and support others also battling addiction in their lives.

Carolyn was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, to parents Mary and Edward McMahon on Nov 12, 1948. She attended St. Charles Borromeo high school in Woburn, MA and went on to earn a BA from Emmanuel College in Boston and the MHSA degree from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health. After graduate school, she worked in the health care management arena, starting and directing a community HMO in East Hartford CT in 1981.  In 1985 she was the first non-MD hired by AETNA Insurance Co. to develop their emerging alternative health care management insurance programs, leading development of AETNA PPOs throughout southeastern US. In 1992, she moved with her husband to California, where she worked for Stanford University and later for Blue Shield of California in the alternative health care management program areas, until her retirement in 1998.  She then became a certified counselor for those suffering from addiction and spent many years supporting and helping others in this area.

Carolyn is survived by her loving husband of 49 years, Lawrence Gibbs, of Portola Valley; her son Christian Gibbs, his wife Jessica Gibbs and grandchildren Ellyson, Greyson and Memphis Gibbs, of Wilmington, NC; her daughter Felice Ajlouny, her husband Eric Ajlouny and grandchild Nathaniel Ajlouny of Dublin, CA; and, three brothers, Thomas McMahon of Morris, CT, Timothy McMahon of Woburn, MA, and Mark McMahon of Manchester, NH.  She is preceded in death by her mother, Mary (Rooney) McMahon and her father, Edward McMahon.  

Carolyn was a most generous, supportive, spiritual and caring person.  She will be missed by her family and all who knew her, especially the many individuals with whom she shared her many challenges and victories in life.  Although she has passed from this world, she lives on in the hearts of the many people she has touched in this life.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to Rita Ramirez for her loving home care support, and to Mission Hospice staff for the care in her final hours. 

Memorial donations may be made to Mission Hospice, 1670 South Amphlett Blvd. Suite 300, San Mateo, CA 94402 (  or Bay Area Cancer Connections in Palo Alto, 2335 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California 94306 (   

A private family service will be held in Los Altos, CA  and can be viewed at with passcode 273-104.

On Wednesday, Dec 9th, a visitation will be available at 9:30 am followed by the funeral mass for Carolyn at 10:30 am in St. Joseph Church in Bellevue, IA, followed by burial in St. Joseph Cemetery.