Wednesday, March 27, 2019

From Highway Patrol Cop To Crime Beat Reporter, Thomas J. Gibbons Was An Ace


I first met Thomas J. Gibbons Jr briefly at a crime conference some years ago. He was covering the conference for the Philadelphia Inquirer and I was covering the event for a South Philadelphia weekly newspaper. I saw him again later a couple of times after I became a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

He was, as Stu Bykofsky (seen in the bottom photo) describes him in his Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News column, unfailingly friendly. 

Stu Bykofsky offers a good column on the late Thomas J. Gibbons Jr, (seen in the above and middle photo), who went from a Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer to a crime reporter..

Duty first.

A ceremony scheduled for Tuesday at which a gleaming, loaded Harley-Davidson was to be presented to the Philadelphia Highway Patrol was postponed when the elite unit was reassigned to escort the funeral procession for firefighter Michael Bernstein, who died last Wednesday while on duty.

The motorcycle was to have been presented in memory of Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., who served four years in Highway Patrol until he was critically wounded in a 1970 ambush.

Physically unable to return to active duty, in 1972 Tommy went to the Evening Bulletin as a police reporter. The Inquirer lured him away in November 1981, two months before the Bulletin folded.

By the time Tommy retired in 2005, he was one of the most popular journalists in the city, loved by colleagues and competitors alike. He was unfailingly friendly to everyone, and dressed better than anyone.

He enjoyed his career as a reporter, but nothing meant more to him than his years in the Highway Patrol, says his widow, Carol. They had been married 47 years when Tommy died of brain cancer a year ago. 

You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

https://www.philly.com/opinion/stu-bykofsky-tommy-gibbons-police-highway-patrol-maureen-rush-sylvester-johnson-inquirer-temple-university-20190326.html



You can also read Thomas Gibbons Philadelphia Inquirer obituary via the below link:

https://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/thomas-j-gibbons-jr-73-elite-highway-patrolman-and-later-a-crime-reporter-for-the-inquirer-20180316.html 


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