Mortimer “Mort” Williams Gamble V, 68, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, died at Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk, Virginia, on January 29, 2020.
Born in Cumberland, Maryland on September 21, 1951, Dr. Gamble was the elder son of the late Mortimer “Bunkie” Williams Gamble IV and the late Elaine Cole Gamble of Moorefield, West Virginia.
He was a graduate from West Virginia University with a Bachelor and Master of Arts in English, and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership.
He was the Senior Vice President at Virginia Wesleyan University. Previously Gamble had been Executive Assistant to the President at Bethany College, Bethany WV; Director of Donor Relations for The George Washington University, Washington D.C.; Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Hood College, Frederick MD; Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Director of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. at Fairmont State College (now University), Fairmont WV; Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Waynesburg College (now University), Waynesburg PA; and Director of College Relations for West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon WV, also serving previously there as a member of the English and Humanities faculty.
Always close to his academic roots, he was a regular presenter at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association joint conferences, and was the author of book reviews, articles, essays, chapters and features on various topics for regional and national publications including Goldenseal, published by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
Although making a living in academe, Gamble’s life-long passion was the circus. He specifically loved to research and present about the history of the American Circus. He has authored in the United States book chapters, short stories and numerous monographs about the circus. Gamble and his coauthor, Maureen Brunsdale, were completing their book on Arthur Concello (a colorful figure in the history of the Ringling Brothers Circus) at the time of his death. While in college, Gamble toured for two summers with Circus Kirk which employed high school and college students as performers and staff. He also assembled a large model circus called the Mort Gamble--Cole Brothers Circus, beginning this hobby at an early age.
Gamble is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth “M. E.” Yancosek. Mort is also survived by his only brother, David Cole Gamble, his Aunt, Carmen Gamble Silliman and several cousins. Gamble was known as a true gentleman by all who knew him.
Given that Gamble lived in various areas, there will be several opportunities for visitation. Friends will be received on February 6, 2020, at 4:30 pm at the Monumental Chapel on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University, Virginia Beach VA. Additionally, there will be a memorial service at the Moorefield Presbyterian Church, 109 S Main Street, Moorefield, WV on February 8, at 11:00 am with Pastor Jim Yao officiant and a celebration of his life at the West Virginia University Alumni Center, Miller Room, Morgantown WV, also on February 8 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
Memorial donations are suggested to be made to any of the institutions where Dr. Gamble had the privilege to serve.