Pullman Porter and Family Patriarch

Pullman Porter and Family Patriarch

Working for Union Pacific Railroad for 38 years enabled Lee Wesley Gibson, now 100, to create his most cherished legacy -- his progeny. (LAT)

“I loved the job because I like to travel … and I like the people,” says Lee W. Gibson of his career working as a railroad porter. For 38 years, the job allowed him to take care of his family and put his daughters through school. Gibson was married to Beatrice, his high school sweetheart, for 76 years, and claims that his greatest joy is his children.

“They love their Daddy,” he says, and remarks by 78-year-old daughter, Gwendolyn, confirm that they feel the same way about him. He’s their “rock,” and all the young men in the large family look up to him. He has three daughters, six grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 13 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.

Although he has outlived most of his friends and sometimes misses them, Gibson is resigned to it. He has a lady friend, a younger woman (who’s 82) that he met at church. “She’s quite a companion,” Gibson says.

This short audio slide show from the Los Angeles Times tells a sweet story about an obviously much-loved man simply, and mostly in his own words. Although Gibson’s claim to fame may be his standing as the last surviving former Pullman porter, it is clear that his greatest achievement is his family. Images of Gibson posed in and around an antique train car are wonderfully composed and lit, and charming photos of Gibson with his adoring daughters and lady friend will warm your heart.

CHANNEL: Los Angeles Times

Length: 2:52

Photography and audio by Mel Melcon

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