The Curry Coastal Pilot

Raymond "Ray" Gamba, 85, of Brookings, passed away Sept. 28, 2011, in Gold Beach.

Ray was born Sept. 7, 1926, in San Francisco, to Louis and Lela (Lasher) Gamba. He grew up and attended school there.

Following high school, Ray attended trade school until his 18th birthday, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the USS Taos Victory as a gunner's mate. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1946, Ray returned to the Bay Area and began working at Standard Oil (now Chevron Oil Company). He worked in various capacities including chauffeur for the president of the company in San Francisco. He then went to work for American Trust Company prior to their being acquired by Wells Fargo Bank. He worked there for 19 years before realizing his dream of owning his own business when he opened Big O Tire locations in Vallejo, Fairfield and Vacaville, all in California.

Ray married Marian Waring, May 2, 1948, in San Leandro, Calif. Following retirement, they moved to Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, where they lived for six years and were members of the Mokuaikaua Church. They then returned to California, where they lived in Paradise and Napa before making their vacation home in Brookings their permanent residence in 2007.

Ray enjoyed fishing the Chetco River for more than 40 years. He loved cars and woodworking and the infrequent casino trip. He and Marian traveled extensively, including a three-week tour of the Holy Land in 1980. Ray was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and will be missed.

Survivors include Marian, his wife of 63 years, of Brookings; daughter Jan McCollister and her husband John, of Brookings; son Gary Gamba and his wife Dotty, of Carson City, Nev.; grandchildren John Buzolich and his wife Jen; Gina Torres and her husband Julio; Ashley Gamba; great-grandson Andrew Buzolich; brother Richard Gamba and his wife Eleanor, of Novato, Calif.

Ray was preceded in death by his sister Lorelei Kennon.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Ray's memory to Trinity Lutheran Church Community Kitchen andndash; which serves a hot weekly meal on Fridays to those in need andndash; 1200 Easy St., Brookings, OR 97415.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, at Redwood Memorial Chapel, 1020 Fifield St. in Brookings. Private interment will be at W. J. Ward Memorial Cemetery.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.