37-year-old killed in Long Island car smash
THE son of a well-known Mayo man was killed in a head-on collision in New York on Saturday night last. Queens bar owner Georgie Gibbons (37) died on a service road near Exit 19 off the Long Island Expressway after a car going the wrong way struck the taxi in which he was a backseat passenger. His death comes just weeks after the death of his uncle Eddie Gibbons who owned the Potcheen Still in Woodside, Queens in former times.
News of the tragic death of Georgie has stunned family relatives and friends back home. He was a nephew of Dorrie Murphy, Carnalecka, Ballinrobe and Alice O’Sullivan, Corr na Mona. His first cousin Eddie Gibbons wore the Mayo jersey on several occasions in the past (winning an All Ireland U-21 medal) while another cousin, Art Ó Suilleabhain (father of Aoibhinn, the former Rose of Tralee) is widely known around Mayo.
Police in New York are trying to locate the driver of the 2002 Chrysler Sebring, who fled on foot, while its passenger was treated at the scene for head injuries and later charged with possession of marijuana. Shocked friends and relatives also made a pilgrimage to the crash scene.
The victim’s brother, NYPD Officer Brendan Gibbons, told The New York Post that his sibling loved owning his own business.
“It was his pride and joy. He doesn’t drive, so he always takes these cabs. You’d think he’d be safer.”
Mr Gibbons’ sister, Bernadette Gibbons, 24, said her George “always made everyone laugh” and “always had a smile on his face.”
Construction worker Gerard Murphy, 36, called George a neighborhood fixture who worked for years as a bartender and had saved to open his own place.
“Everyone loves him. Everyone looks at him with respect,” Murphy said. “He does a lot for people in the neighborhood. There’s not a mean bone in his body. This neighborhood won’t be the same now that he’s gone.”
For over a year, Georgie had operated The Gibbons’ Home bar in Queens and he was so proud of how the business had expanded during that time. He had a hearty welcome for all callers and contributed much to the local neighbourhood. Family and friends gathered there over the last two days and nights to share stories and celebrate his life.
The Gibbons family home is in Cong and a number of the brothers emigrated to New York in times gone by. They were closely associated with the music and band scene in the city back through the years.
George Snr, a daily listener to Mid West Radio on the internet, is said to be devastated by the tragic death of Georgie, the eldest of a family of six. “They were a very close family and this is so sad. Georgie did not drive and always booked a taxi to take him home at the end of the night. Coming so soon after the death of Eddie, it is another huge blow for the family,” said a close relation yesterday (Monday).
Georgie, who was predeceased by his mother Mary (a native of Scotstown, Co Monaghan) five years ago, is survived by his father George, sisters Siobhan, Maureen and Bernadette, brothers Brendan and Eamon, relatives and many friends.