Austin M. Gibbons passed away on Monday, December 18, 2017; he was in his ninety sixth year. He is survived by his two sons, John P. Gibbons of Somers Point NJ and Jeffrey Gibbons and his wife Martha of Hollis NH, three grandsons, John Gibbons, Gregory Gibbons and Brendan Gibbons also by four great grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife, Harriet, his brother, Jack, his grandson, Matthew and his daughter in law Maryann.
Austin Gibbons was of second generation Irish descent, the son of immigrant parents having their roots in County Mayo Ireland. Austin served with the US Army in WWII, following discharge in 1946 he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department where he served for twenty seven years.
Following his retirement, he and his wife Harriet relocated to Fort Lauderdale Florida. Austin and Harriet lived in Fort Lauderdale for twelve years when they decided to return north to be closer to friends and family. They eventually settled in Ocean City NJ where they spent the remainder of their days.
Austin Gibbons can best be remembered for his dedication to the members of the Philadelphia Fire Department where he served as a union official with Local 22, Philadelphia Firefighters. In addition to his duties as a Firefighter he served in a number of roles as an advocate and participant in the mission of Local 22. His tenure in serving Local 22 included the following achievements: he developed and expanded the membership and services of Philadelphia Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. He expanded and improved health care services for the membership by negotiating and establishing independent and expanded services with the city administration; he assisted in designing and directed construction of the first modern and independent health care facility serving the members and families. His dedication and foresight have left their lasting mark on the firefighters serving the city of Philadelphia.
During his service in the Fire Department he received a Heroism Award for a dangerous rescue. During a one day assignment in the Fireboats on the Delaware River he saw a boy drowning in the river near the docks.
Austin ran down a boat ramp next to the Fireboats and jumped into the river. He grabbed the boy in deep water and they both returned to the dock. He admitted later that he really did not know how to swim but that a drive to rescue the boy made him act.
No mention of Austin Gibbons can be made without acknowledging his love for the game of golf which provided many hours of friendship, spirited competition and appreciation of the beautiful greens and fairways found in Southern New Jersey.
A Memorial Mass will be offered Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 10 o’clock from Our Lady of Grace, 225 Bellevue Avenue, Penndel, PA. Interment will follow in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery, Langhorne, PA.
For condolences to the family, visit www.godfreyfuneralhome.com.