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Two orange and blue seats from Shea Stadium, numbered 4 and 3, sat empty outside Maspeth’s Gibbons’ Home bar Sunday, one day after owner George Gibbons Jr. was killed in a senseless auto accident.
“He was my brother and my best friend,” uttered a tearful Eamon Gibbons, who said he last saw his brother, who lived in Middle Village, Friday night as the two closed up the bar on 69th Street.
According to police, Gibbons was riding in the back of a Lincoln livery car just before 7 a.m. Saturday morning, traveling eastbound on the Long Island Expressway service road just blocks from the bar, when a Chrysler Sebring moving in the wrong direction struck the car head-on.
Gibbons was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said. He was 37.
Both the livery driver and the Sebring’s passenger, 44-year-old Andre McKanney of Jamaica, were also taken to the hospital, said the NYPD.
Police said McKanney was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and they were still searching for the driver of the Sebring, who fled the scene.
Friends and family members — Gibbons had many of both — tried to console each other and come to terms with the loss of the man they said spent his entire life thinking of others.
“It was miraculous what he did here at Gibbons’ Home,” said Timmy Carolan, who considered Gibbons his best friend since they were students together at the old Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, which is now the Notre Dame Catholic Academy in Ridgewood.
“You see those love seats and couches?” he said pointing to the back of the bar. “That’s what George was about. He wanted people to be comfortable.”
Gibbons was also the “most devoted Mets fan,” Carolan said as he stood among the bar’s many pieces of memorabilia.
For five years Gibbons volunteered and coached the wheelchair-bound disabled adults of the New York Mets softball team.
“He was a good friend and he was always there for everyone. He put others before himself,” said John Hamre, president of the Maspeth-based Wheelchair Sports Federation.
“There aren’t many people you run into who are like George,” he said.
Eamon Gibbons said one of his brother’s passions was DJ-ing. Known as DJ George, he had performed in local clubs such as Molly Bloom’s on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside and Manhattan nightclubs such as The Palladium and Limelight.
“Between DJ-ing and bartending, he was known by a lot of people,” he said.
Gibbons, the son of George Gibbons Sr., was the eldest of his six siblings: Siobhon, Brenda, Eamon, Maureen and Bernadette.
“He was the oldest and I was the youngest,” said Bernadette. “Even though there was a 13-year age gap, we were like twins. I was the female version of George.”
Bernadette said she and her brother had become extremely close over the last year working in the bar together.
“He showed me what it means to make somebody laugh just by the power of giving them a smile,” she said. “He was like a big brother to everyone and anyone.”
A funeral director at the Hess-Miller Funeral Home in Middle Village said the family is requesting that donations to the George T. Gibbons Jr. Foundation, checks for which can be made payable to George T. Gibbons Sr.
Wakes were planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, and a funeral was planned for Thursday morning.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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