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Wildwood News Archives
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John Kenneth Gamble 1924-2009
Kenneth and his wife Jean.
Kenneth and his cousin Dave Fredrickson at an
archaeology site Dave was working at.
L to R: Dave, Jean, Kenneth, Nancy, and Dan.
As far as I can tell, L to R: Jean, ?, Annie, Allen,
Caroline, Tim, and Casey Clarke,?, Nancy and Kenneth.
Gamble Family Reunion in 1981 in Merced, not far from
where Kenneth grew up on the farm.
Kenneth in a horseshoe competition at Wildwood.
Dennis, Dave and Kenneth after a hard days work on
Kenneth and his mother Dorothy at a BBQ at Wildwood July
Yet another project at Wildwood.
Foundation work on the "Shop." All dug
by hand, as I recall.
More digging for the Shop.
Tools, saw and lumber. Not much more needed for a
Snow at Wildwood 1989.
Kenneth and Dennis cutting wood.
And loading the wood into the dump truck.
Kenneth and Dan working on the splitter.
Kenneth and Pa at Tammy and Greg's wedding.
Kenneth loved the kids, since he didn't get any
grandkids. At the many BBQ get-togethers he'd spend hours holding
the kids. Here he is with Matthew.
And some time spent with Jessica as well.
Kenneth loved projects. When DA started building
this remodeled Dormitory house at Wildwood, he was right there.
This was in 2000.
How many old guys does it take to build a house?
A tree to cut down? Kenneth's there for you.
Kenneth spent many of his retirement years fixing up the
rental houses we had. Also fixing roads for the community, fixing
water pipes, and being good friends to all the neighbors.
And here's how everyone seems to remember him, with his
signature red suspenders. I wish I could say more, his life was
pretty big for us who knew him.
Here he is with Uncle Dave again, this time enjoying
some cowboy songs at one of our BBQs. He and Dave worked together
on the farm during summer months, with a host of other relatives.
Another picture at Wildwood.
Most of these photos are courtesy of Clif. Kenneth
had some very festive suspenders for special occasions. This was a
July 4th BBQ.
Another BBQ, again listening to Dave sing cowboy songs.
Clif supplied these pictures of tearing down some small
houses at Mount Hermon.
More demolition work at Mount Hermon. Coffee
Here he is at his daughter Nancy's wedding in April of
At the reception a little later.
And this one while he was greeting friends and family
before the event.
e-mail me: TJFredrick@aol.com
Contributed by Sari,
"Memories of Kenneth,
Kenneth had always been so much of a Wildwood presence! His big,
booming voice, his strong opinions, strong sense of community and his
many building projects defined him.
Kenneth always had advice or a word for everyone. He teased in the
Gamble/Fredrickson fashion, which I bet has been passed on throughout
the many generations. He gave a nickname to everyone and many of them
have stuck: TJ, Nomes, DA and so on. He also took a serious interest in
our neighbors and our community, helping out others whenever he
I remember being so very upset after getting stuck in traffic and
missing most of his eulogy that he gave at Aunt Grace's funeral many
years ago, and the kind words he said to me at that time. It was just a
few short years ago that, in typical fashion, he did what he could to
give support to our neighbors Jim and Dorothy Hansen, after Dorothy was
diagnosed with lung cancer. He appreciated a return in neighborly help
and expressed his appreciation often.
My Dad told me that he stayed with Kenneth's family in the
summertime. He would help out at the farm and they shared a lot of
memories together. Kenneth would fondly remember these past times and
liked to talk to me about those days. My Dad recently told me about the
times when he would wrestle Kenneth out on the lawn at the farm, and
everyone would come out and watch. Even though my Dad was smaller and
less muscular than Kenneth, he was an expert wrestler and could beat
him. At Thanksgiving, Kenneth and my Dad would weigh themselves before
dinner, eat as much as they could and weigh again right after dinner...I
can't exactly recall the weight gain, but I think it was something like
Our whole family, including my mother and father, are sad to hear of
Kenneth's death. Wildwood is not the same without Kenneth, a one of a
kind individual. He will be missed."
Contributed by Clif,
"Oh my, where to begin...My first
memory of the big guy was when I was in first grade in San Jose.
Everyone in our class had to go to the auditorium to listen to a man
talk about getting us to join in an after school group called
"Indian Guides." The guy was "uncle" Kenneth! I
didn't join the group, and I must have known of him before to
recognize him, but that is my earliest memory.
Later, when we moved to
the Cupertino house, he would make our place the last stop on his milk
delivery route. Pulling up in that green Edelweiss truck and dropping
off what seemed to be 10 gallons of milk a week. We had to have a
second refrigerator out in the garage to hold it all.
him tear down buildings at Mt. Hermon, going to the Santa Cruz
Boardwalk on those 25 cent nights and riding the bumper cars, and pinochle
parties at the Freddie house with his Dr. Skipper and rabbit
loved sports and I was big into the Giants and Niners back in the
80's.When we got together we would talk about the players and teams. In
1989 I had an extra ticket and took him to the Giants vs. Cubs
playoff game at Candlestick Park.
But most of my memories of Kenneth
happened at Wildwood. Setting up the net and watering down the
driveway in front of his house, readying it for VOLLEYBALL! The time a
dead tree he was cutting down fell on his shoulder, just missing his
head. Then having to drive him all the way to Kaiser in Santa Clara
only to wait 3 hours in the emergency room for him to be treated.
Building, building, building. He seemed to be either putting something
up or taking something down. If he wasn't building a deck he was
cutting down a tree. At Wildwood he always had several projects going
on at once. Starting them was easy. Finishing them.....well. And you
could always tell where Kenneth was around Wildwood, all you had to do
was listen. Either talking real loud, singing way off key to some tune
only he knew the lyrics to, or belching like it was an art form he
made his presence known to all."
Contributed by Tammy,
"Some thoughts on Kenneth:
I can't imagine Wildwood without him. He has been a part of it for
so many years - as far back as I can recall, I have memories of
Kenneth at Wildwood. I remember him always having a nice thing to
say or a some good treats when he would deliver milk twice a week to
Portal Ave. He always had a kind word, or a saying, and an
inflection to his voice that made me smile.
playing pinochle and him saying, "bid it up" and encouraging
us to be part of the "680 club"! He had so many phrases
that became part of Wildwood lingo - Frank Howards, Big D, TJ, Tammy
Jr., A Freddie at every window, Prince Valiant, Sure is fun at
Wildwood--more than I can even recall.
He liked to tease but never
in a mean-spirited way. He would work on projects
nonstop-watering trees , painting, digging, hauling, fixing,
building. He felt it was extremely important after Dennis passed
away to make some sort of permanent memory to him. That's when we
made the engraved plaque. He was such a part of Wildwood--I
will miss him!!!"
Contributed by Paul,
"Many years ago, I was invited to Wildwood to help
cut down a tree. Never cut down a tree before. I was given an ax and
some basic instructions. I was hacking away at the tree when this old
guy strolls up with one of those folding chairs in one hand and a drink
in the other. He sits himself down and watches me chop this tree down. I
guess that was the Wildwood's version of "Funniest Home
Video". The tree did not fall on me and that was the first time I
Rest in Peace Kenneth."