Frankly, Cibula

Franklin Cibula died Tuesday.

He was 66, dead of a gun shot to the chest.

Cibula was an old-Redding staple. He was a brow-furrowing, feather-ruffling, liberal-thinking, underdog-defending old-school attorney.

Franklin Cibula served his words whole, not minced. My memory prompt for his name was "Frankly" Cibula.

Over the years, he sometimes called to chat about columns I'd written, or Redding changes, or local politics, or new restaurants or good food. 

The last time I met him for lunch was maybe two years ago, at what he insisted was one of Redding's "best" restaurants, which turned out to be Shasta College's student-run bistro.

Professionally, he was best known for his legal work, often to represent poor people, sometimes in controversial cases.

Personally, Cibula never shook the legendary north-state tale of the death-defying crash he survived after his car sailed off a curvy Lake Tahoe-area road. That crash still serves a cautionary tale for at least one local driving school, complete with a poster-sized photo that contains a tiny circle that identifies Cibula's car, far, far down the face of that massive, steep hillside.

His gait was unsteady after that crash. Some said he was never the same. I can't say one way or another. I only met him post-crash, so that's the only Cibula I knew.

Frankly - Franklin - Frank.

Some years back I wrote a newspaper story that involved a serious physical confrontation between Cibula and some Redding police officers. Cibula's version and the cops' versions were about as far apart as the top of that Lake Tahoe asphalt and the bottom of the ravine.

We may never know what really happened.

And we may never know what really happened Tuesday to cause Cibula's death.

Condolences to the Cibula family and friends for their loss. 

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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3 Responses

  1. Andrew Nuss says:

    From my family to your's Mark, please know that "Dad" was one of the most influential men in my life. He had the ability to see and listen to people with his heart. Through his caring discernment I've been afforded an opportunity to live a life in recovery and have a relationship with my children restored. He's been "a little piece of God" in my life and I'm proud to have known him.

    My heart remembers him,


  2. Miss Information says:

    Thank you, Doni. This is the perfect piece for this sad day. I appreciate the re-cap of Frank Cibula's Tahoe crash, as I haven't lived here long enough to recall that one…. I never met Frank, but I've known Mark since I moved to Redding. This is a tragic loss for the Cibula clan, and my prayers are with them today and in the weeks and months ahead.

    Thank you again, Doni.

  3. dana bidou says:

    the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

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