Above, Shane Hamblin (L) of Zion Bank says goodby to his colleague, friend, and mentor  Lee Gibbs after Lee’s final Idaho District Export Council monthly meeting in October of 2023.

The IDEC Says Goodbye to "International Kung Fu Master" Lee Gibbs

Another pillar of Idaho’s export community road off into the sunset during the October IDEC meeting. Lee Gibbs announced his retirement from Zion Bank after 41 years of helping businesses wrangle international business issues.  Lee’s departure follows that of Amy Benson, Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Idaho for nearly 20 years, who left Boise for South Africa in September to become the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg.

Lee’s colleague and mentee at Zion Bank and fellow IDEC member Shane Hamblin affectionately calls Lee the “International Kung Fu Master.” Shane noted that Lee made a tremendous impact on everyone he met during his successful career in banking and international trade. “Everyone instantly loves Lee, who has a work ethic that is matched by his amiable character,” said Shane. He added that Lee was tireless in helping his clients solve knotty problems and improve processes.

Lee saw many adventures during his long international career. One of the most memorable was having his horse shot out from underneath him while wrangling collateral cattle.

"On behalf of the IDEC I want to thank Lee for all his contributions as part of the IDEC,” said IDEC Chairman, Gerd Uitdewilligen. Lee even commuted from Moscow to Boise to attend our IDEC meetings. With his vast knowledge of international trade finance, he supported many Idaho Exporters in his role at Zion’s and SBA. We want to thank Lee for all his support for Idaho exporters."
Gerd Uitdewilligen
IDEC Chairman

Lee’s immediate plans include a return to the family ranch in Montana, where he and his wife Rhua married 50 years ago. On the ranch, he plans to help his parents get some rest and relaxation the Lee Gibbs way by branding cattle and wrestling bears. Lee is also considering a trip to South Africa, including a visit with Amy Benson. Lee sums up his retirement as “downsizing, travel, and service.”