Robert Gambera, age 86, resident of Navarre Florida, died of natural causes on Monday morning November 4th in Gulf Breeze Florida. He was born on May 19, 1933 in the Bronx, New York. He grew up in an Italian section of the Bronx and was a Yankee fan from a young age as he played stickball in the streets of New York. He attended High School in New Rochelle and ran track. He was good enough to achieve a track scholarship to attend Fordham University. He graduated in 1955 and joined the Air Force as a logistics officer. His first assignment was Osan Korea. After his overseas tour, his next assignment took him to Sacramento California to McClellan AFB. While he was stationed there, he met Glenna Coughran Gambera, and they were married in 1959. His son Robert Gambera Jr. was born in 1960, and his daughter Elaina Gambera Bentley was born in 1961. Robert left active military service in 1964 and joined the Air Force reserves until he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1982. He was a stockbroker and a financial analyst until he retired in the late 1980s. Family was important to him and he traveled extensively. He moved to Florida and lived with his son and “favorite daughter in law”, Terri Gambera, (his only daughter law, he would remind her). He had a great sense of humor, and was always quick wit a joke, or a favorite story. One of his favorite stories was his brush with death on a street outside Yankee Stadium. As a young adolescent watching a World Series game between the NY Yankees and the hated Brooklyn Dodgers, young Robert enjoyed a Yankee victory seated with the “bleacher bums” in the outfield. His joy spilled out to the streets outside the stadium after the game. He and his pals recognized the Dodger pitcher who lost the game, Sal Maglie, heading home. After a collective chorus of heckling, He delivered the final blow with, “Hey Sal, welcome to the Major League! This isn’t the minor leagues”. At that, he said Sal turned toward the kids and took one step toward him. He said that was last thing he saw as he ran 3 blocks before he dared to look back!
He was predeceased by his father, Alghesio Gambera, his mother Mary Roach Gambera, and his sister, Claire Gambera Marchetto. His is survived by his son Robert Gambera, and his wife Terri, grandson Kyle, and granddaughter Gianna, and his Daughter Elaina Gambera Bentley, and her children, Grandsons Eric and Robert, and grand Daughters Christina and Rachael.
The Catholic Funeral mass will be held at Saint Sylvester Catholic Church on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 12:00pm, with Father John Kelley officiating. After the funeral mass, a vehicle procession will commute to Pensacola NAS. A graveside, full military honors memorial ceremony, will be held at Fort Barrancas military National Cemetery at 2:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Vincent de Paul Society.