Neighbors of Ladder 35 on Amsterdam Avenue and 66th Street in Manhattan grew to count on seeing the Paul Bunyanesque figure in the firehouse doorway with his baseball cap, bushy mustache and always, a friendly smile.
They did not know him by name, but just as the one who would hoist their would-be firefighter toddlers into the rig, or lean down and with his oversized hands help adjust the handlebars of a bicycle.
To his colleagues, Jim Giberson was the one who organized and cooked for all their annual parties over the last 20 years. But as much as Mr. Giberson, 43, seemed so comfortable in that traditionally all-male environment, it was a different story at home.
He told his wife Susan when they became engaged that he wanted three daughters, and she obliged. The only reason he ever missed firefighter events was to go to his daughters' swim meets, no matter how far, where he cheered them on as they became champions, or as he liked to say, future Olympic contenders.
"I used to kid him, "You'll never be able to get into the bathroom with all those women,' " said Mike Kutula, a fellow firefighter. "But he was happy with his three girls."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 30, 2001.