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Fundraiser for family of man who died in wreck on 222

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Jun 28 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 28 2013 10:21:31 PM CDT

A month ago, a 50-year-old Berks County man was driving home when he fell asleep at the wheel, hit a truck and then died.

WYOMISSING, Pa. -

A month ago, a 50-year-old Berks County man was driving home when he fell asleep at the wheel, hit a truck and then died. His family is still picking up the pieces and Friday night they had some help.

Leon Gibbs' widow Paula remembers how they started dating 15 years ago.

"'Just a date,' that's what he kept saying, 'just one date, just one date,'" said Paula Winters-Gibbs, "I said, 'just one and that's it.' And it lasted longer than that."

Gibbs kept his vow until death on May 21, 2013. He was driving home on Route 222 from his overnight shift at the Amazon warehouse in Lehigh County when he fell asleep at the wheel and weaved into the oncoming lane right into a tractor trailer.

"He usually came home by a certain time when he didn't come home I just felt there was something wrong," said Winters-Gibbs.

And then the coroner came to her office. She said the family is coping.

"It's one thing to lose a husband but he was a father as well," said Winters-Gibbs, "It's like a double whammy."

Gibbs had a step-daughter, Portlin and a son, Clayton. And he was Clayton's coach.

"That's what he loved. He loved the sports, the coaching. He loved the kids," said Winters-Gibbs.

Paula said the fundraiser at the Crowne-Plaza was for adults only. But ten days ago there was another event at Gordan Hoodak Stadium where their son Clayton spoke.

"My son tried to read a speech but that didn't go very well," said Winters-Gibbs.

And she was nervous about the fundraiser to support the family.

"Which is very overwhelming, it's very nice. It's very comforting," said Winters-Gibbs, "It's very overwhelming sometimes too."

In their relationship, Leon was the outgoing one.

"Just a very big personality, we could go out of town and he would either know someone or he'd make a friend in no time," said Winters-Gibbs.

She lost her best friend and her partner who was working three jobs.

"I learned a lot of lessons in a short amount of time," Winters-Gibbs.

She said Leon didn't have life insurance. The event at the Crowne Plaza will help, as will the account at First Niagara bank -- the Leon Gibbs Junior Family Fund.