Thom Gibb, a former member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, died of AIDS-related illnesses Feb. 2 at his home in Columbia Heights. He was 60.
He died at home in his sleep, according to his friend and housemate of almost 30 years, Larry Rosen, who said Gibb was in relatively good health until his last month and “was still making jokes and laughing.”
Gibb spent his entire career with the American Red Cross as did his parents. He began as a volunteer in his native Pittsburgh. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Westminster College in Pennsylvania and went on to serve the Red Cross in several eastern states and Germany before transferring to the DC area in the late 1970s. He retired in 2008 and immediately became a volunteer again.
Gibb was a lifelong music lover, especially of opera and musical theater. He was an ardent devotee of Maria Callas, Stephen Sondheim and drag shows, and often bragged about having seen Katharine Hepburn in “Coco.” He joined the Gay Men’s Chorus in 1990 where he sang baritone. He was on the Chorus board and served one year as vice chairman. He was a member of the Circle of Excellence (1999) and a recipient of the “You Are the Light” Crystal Award. His last concert with the Chorus was in June 2005.
Rosen called Gibb a “kind, generous and caring man.” He was an early volunteer with Whitman-Walker’s AIDS services group and managed other volunteer caseworkers. He enjoyed food, cooking and dinner parties.
“He was best known for his ready sense of humor and distinctive laugh,” Gibb said. “He was always easy to find in a crowd just by listening for the sound of his laughter.”
Gibb is survived by David Buntin, Marc Fallow and Larry Rosen of Washington and J.R. Yeager of Oakland, Calif. He was cremated. A memorial service is scheduled for April 23 at 11:30 a.m., in the Hall of Service at the headquarters of the American Red Cross, 1730 E Street, N.W. Donations in memory of Gibb may be made to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, 2000 P Street, NW, Suite 730, Washington, DC 20036, or to the charity of your choice.