Jerome F. Gamba (December 15, 1931 — July 10, 2017)
Jerome Francis Gamba passed away on July 10, 2017, at Grand River Hospital in Rifle, Colorado. He was 85. He was born on December 15, 1931, in Osage City, Kansas, to Humbert John Peter Gamba and Francis C. Stoner.
In 1936, when he was 5 years old, Jerry moved to Glenwood Springs with his parents. He attended all of the Glenwood Springs public schools and graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 1950. Growing up in Glenwood Jerry lived on the property that is now the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. At the time, it was owned by his father and operated as the Gamba Mineral Springs.
In his youth, Jerry worked for his dad doing whatever was necessary to operate the bathhouse and the several guest houses they had on the property. When he was a little older, one of Jerry’s most memorable jobs was working as a horse wrangler and trail guide for his aunt Pearl “Tommy” Thompson, who had a world-renowned reputation for operating one of the best summer horseback adventures running trail rides through the Elk Mountains. Growing up Jerry spent almost any free time he had riding his favorite horse “Beauty” up on the Flat Tops, and he often came back with some deer or elk meat to share with friends and family, which was always appreciated during the Great Depression.
In 1951, Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served four years, much of his service was spent as a Boatswain Mate on the U.S.S. Ramsden. He was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in 1954. This chapter of Jerry’s life was filled with tales of high seas adventure, travel and the great honor it was to serve his country.
After his military service, Jerry took advantage of the GI Bill and attended Colorado School of Mines in Golden, where he graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering.
Jerry met the love of his life, Kathryn Louise Heisler, at a Strawberry Days dance held in Glenwood Springs in the building that is now the Balcomb & Greene legal offices on Colorado Avenue. Jerry and Kay were married on May 26, 1957, in Denver and just recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary together.
As a geological engineer, Jerry worked for Ideal Cement Company from 1957 to 1965, living all over the US — from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to San Luis Obispo, California. In 1965, he moved his family back to Glenwood Springs and started Eldorado Engineering, a civil engineering and land surveying company. In 1976, he sold Eldorado Engineering and opted to work as a lone engineering and land surveying consultant. In 1989, he incorporated Gamba & Associates Inc., a local engineering and land surveying firm with his son Michael. Jerry retired from Gamba & Associates in 2001.
In addition to running a business and being a father of four, Jerry also found time to serve his community. He was a Glenwood Springs City Councilman from 1977 to 1981; and the Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 276 for many years.
Being proud of his Italian heritage, Jerry devoted himself to the art and science of making wine — a family tradition that now links five generations of Gambas. Possessed of a generous heart, Jerry was always the first to offer a friend, new acquaintance and even strangers a glass of his hand-crafted Zinfandel or Barbera. He was also one of the founding members of the Italian Picnic, an annual community event that celebrates Italian heritage.
In his retirement Jerry was fortunate to be able to spend his winters in Kino Bay, Mexico, where he and Kay would take daily walks along the beach, welcome visitors, take naps under the covered porch and watch countless sunsets.
Jerry lived a full life, filled with love and blessings. Of all his many accomplishments, his greatest joys were the simplest — spending time or sharing a meal with his family, or “la familia,” as he liked to call his flock. His sudden passing has left a gaping hole in the lives of those he has left behind. It provides consolation to know that Jerry was a man of unwavering faith and has returned home to live in peace for all eternity with the Creator of all that is good.
He is survived by his wife Kathryn, his four children Mark Gamba (Kendra), Terri (Skip) Garcia, Mike (Karin) Gamba and Steve (Kimberly) Gamba, as well as his six grandchildren: Danielle, Anthony, Dominick, Forrest, Grace and Sofia; his three great-grandchildren; and many beloved nieces, nephews and a multitude of honorary family members. Jerry is preceded in death by his sister Loyette Lucille Gamba.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs, on Monday, July 17, 2017, at 10 a.m. with a Rosary service preceding the mass at 9:30 a.m. Father Bert Chilson will officiate. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been setup at Alpine Bank. A reception to reminisce and share stories about Jerry’s life will be held in the parish hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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