In Memory

Mechanicsburg Police Department Honoring Fallen Officer

Officer Homer Reed Gilbert

End of Watch – January 26, 1943

On January 26, 1943, Officer Homer R. Gilbert was on duty at the Mechanicsburg Borough building. He was attending training class for auxiliary police that was being taught by Officer William Martin. Just before 11 PM, a report came in about a disturbance in the street near Hershey’ Restaurant. Officer Gilbert left class to handle the call. One newspaper reported that it was a fight at the ball field at the school, which would have been just two blocks away. After handling the call, he returned to the Borough Officer on Main Street. Officer Gilbert immediately asked for a doctor, saying he was feeling ill. He was treated by Dr. Walter P. Bitner and removed to Seidle Memorial Hospital. At the hospital, Officer Gilbert died of a heart attack. He died less than an hour after returning to the station. He was only 32 years old.

Homer Gilbert attend Shippensburg State Teachers College, the New York Military Academy and Albright College. Homer also played professional football for several years. Using the moniker “Knuckles Boyle,” he played for the New York Giants (NFL) in 1934, the Reading Keys in 1935, and the Pittsburgh Americans (AFL II) in 1936. He used this alias because he could not be enrolled in Albright College (1935-1936) and play professional football at the same time. He used a friends’ name Boyle, but was so tough on the field, he earned the nickname “Knuckles.” He also played baseball in the New York-Pennsylvania League. Homer served as the freshman football coach for Franklin and Marshall College in 1938.

Homer was married to Marie K. Gilbert and they had one daughter, Joan. He was employed part-time by Mechanicsburg Borough as a Police Officer and full-time by the Atlantic Refining Company, Mechanicsburg, PA. He was a firefighter with the Rescue Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company and the manager of the Mechanicsburg Independent Baseball Team of the West Shore Twilight League. They lived at 306 South High Street, Mechanicsburg, PA.

Homer is buried in the Saint John’s Cemetery, Camp Hill, PA. His wife Marie is buried next to him. Homer’s daughter Joan, who was only ten years old when he died, married and had two children, James and Sandy. Joan still resides in the Borough of Mechanicsburg.

Honoring Fallen Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Members

Officer George MartinCarlisle BoroughApril 8, 1893
Officer John L. BeisserPennsylvania RailroadOctober 20, 1916
Officer M. Roy HamlinCamp Hill BoroughMay 23, 1925
Chief James WelchNew Cumberland BoroughFebruary 16, 1928
Chief Elmer R. HollenbaughNewville BoroughJuly 9, 1941
Private Dean N. ZeiglerPennsylvania Motor PoliceOctober 17, 1942
Officer Homer R. GilbertMechanicsburg BoroughJanuary 26, 1943
Private Charles S. StanskiPennsylvania State PoliceJanuary 23, 1958
Special Agent Terry R. AndersonFBI – Harrisburg Field OfficeMay 17, 1966
Officer Harry F. HartmanEast Pennsboro TownshipDecember 21, 1970
Officer Paul J. WaltersSilver Spring TownshipJanuary 19, 1975
Officer Richard S. PhelpsLemoyne BoroughJuly 11, 1989
Officer Willis ColeNew Cumberland BoroughAugust 19, 1994