Emily, who is 29, says her parents yearned for children, but could not have them. Then, a lawyer friend got an unexpected visit from a pregnant woman seeking adoptive parents.
Baby Emily abruptly entered their lives. Several years later, after running an ad in a newspaper, they found their second baby, a son. Emily, who was 4, still remembers the gleam in her mother’s eyes when she took the phone call about Jeff.
The young family followed Henry’s career to Norcross in 1985, where Mrs. Gibb devoted herself to domestic life. She was by the roadside when the school bus collected the children in the morning, and she was there when it returned. She served dinner nearly every night around 6 and volunteered for fund-raisers.
“We were kind of a stereotypical 1950s family,” Jeff said. “My mom was super-involved in about everything I did.”
When he was 8, she took the advice of a music teacher and drove him to audition for the Atlanta Boy Choir. He won a spot and, at 25, is now a professional opera singer.
She spent countless hours waiting for him in the parking lot and eventually became a fund-raiser for the group, leaving only when Jeff did.
“My mom was always there,” said Jeff, who still lives in Norcross.
When Emily reached high school, Mrs. Gibb took the part-time nursing job there. She was still a nurse there when Jeff arrived with his cohort of art students. She left the job only after he graduated.
Mrs. Gibb withdrew from the world after her husband died three years ago, said Emily, who lives in Wiesbaden, Germany. “She didn’t know what to do without him.”
Mrs. Gibb, 60, of Norcross, died at home Monday of gastrointestinal bleeding, Emily said. Jeff said he and members of his opera company will sing at her funeral.
The ceremony is at 10 a.m. Monday at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody. A graveside service follows at 1 p.m. at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. Mrs. Gibb is survived by her two children and one brother, Michael E. Rowan of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.