Family mourns loss of "incredible heart"
Jessica Gomes was in a good mood Friday afternoon when she left her job at the Mirastar Gas Station at Wal-Mart to head back to her Gardnerville home.
Gomes, 45, was one of three people who died in a car crash about 3:30 p.m. Friday on Highway 395 and Mica Drive.
She was “Jess” to family and friends and mother to her 14-year-old twin son and daughter.
“She was happy and excited,” said her husband, David, of the last conversation he had with her. “Our daughter had a dance to go to and Jess said, ‘I’m going to get her all dolled up!’ She was positive, and excited about that — then she just never returned home.”
Also killed were Michelle Campbell, 39, of Gardnerville, and John Veader, 26, of Mound House.
Preliminary reports indicate Veader’s northbound truck crossed the center divider into the southbound lanes on Highway 395 and struck the left side of the Audi sedan driven by Campbell.
The truck then was struck by Gomes’ 1999 Buick sedan.
“She had a heart that was just incredible. If she liked you and you were fair with her she’d give you the shirt off her back, literally,” David Gomes said of the woman he’d been married to for 16 years. “But she also was capable of being kind of hard on people that weren’t doing what they said they would do.”
Gomes was a woman with strong convictions.
In 1997, as an employee with Bentley Nevada, Gomes along with co-worker Carlene O’Neill, refused to sign for a UPS delivery while the delivery service workers were on strike.
“I felt like (UPS workers) or any other American citizen had the right to voice their opinion. I respected that right and would not cross a picket line or sign for package deliveries,” Jessica Gomes said in an interview with the Sparks Tribune then. Two days later the women were fired for their refusal to sign.
Eventually, the women were reinstated with Bentley, but Jessica Gomes left the company shortly after, her husband said.
“She chose to leave Bentley employment after she was rehired because she felt it was just a matter of time before they found a reason to move her out,” he said.
Since Friday, David Gomes said the entire family is in a “fog.”
“I’m pretty zombied out right now. I don’t expect her to call. I don’t expect her to show up, but every time I see a red car, I find myself looking for her,” he said. “She’s the love of my life.”
Twins Raymond and Anastazia are “coping,” he said.
“My daughter is especially upset, like something will click,” he said noting Anastazia had a realization yesterday when she said, “Mommy won’t be here to pick out my prom dresses with me.”
And when someone sent over a platter of deviled eggs, Raymond cried out in mid-bite because he realized he’d never have deviled eggs made by his mother’s hands again.
The father said he has scheduled counseling for the children.
“Jess was such a big part of my life and the kids’ life and she’s just not here anymore,” he said. “I’m not sure what the future brings.”
Jessica Gomes is survived by her husband and children, father Don Hale and his wife Pat Sevier, brother Jesse Hale and sister-in-law Sherry and step-sister Sandy Hayes. She was preceded in death by her mother, Pat Sevier, in 1987.
A memorial service will be held at the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Department at a later date.