Ken Gamble:
In Memoriam

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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 projects.

Kenneth and his mother Dorothy at a BBQ at Wildwood July 4th 1983.

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 good day.

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?  About 3.  

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 Break!

Here he is at his daughter Nancy's wedding in April of 2007.

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 could. 

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 10 pounds! 

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."

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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. 

Memories? Helping 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 food. 

He 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."


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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.  

I remember 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!!!"


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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 met Kenneth.

Rest in Peace Kenneth."