William L. Gamble

William L. Gamble, 72, of Geneseo, NY died of cancer-related complications on February 27, 2015 at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. That morning sixty-three Genesee Valley Region alumni and guests were gathered together at Hunt Hollow for the Annual Region Alumni Day and Bill was not among us for the first time in many years as he had been hospitalized the night before. We received a phone call mid-day informing us that Bill had died during the morning and our lunch gathering served as an impromptu memorial at which we all decided to line up at the top of the hill and ski a last run down Main Street in Bill’s memory.

Bill was a lifetime NSP alumnus who followed his distinguished career as a Patroller from 1977 to 1990 with even more distinguished contributions as an alumnus after he was called back into the service of both the Genesee Valley Region and the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol in 1999. What made Bill’s accomplishments even more remarkable is that, while his later efforts would have been considered extraordinary for an active Patroller, Bill as a patrol alumnus continued to contribute more to his region and division than most active patrollers do.

Bill was born February 4, 1943 in Manhattan, N.Y., the son of Millard G. and Doris Reed Gamble II, graduated from Trinity School New York City in 1961, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1965, and spent his career as an engineer at the DuPont Chemical Corporation in Rochester NY and other locations around the country.

Bill joined the Hunt Hollow Ski Patrol in 1977, became a Senior Patroller and a Region Senior OEC TE, and patrolled for 11 years at Hunt Hollow until DuPont transferred him to New Jersey where he patrolled at Great Gorge for another two years. Upon retiring from DuPont, he moved back to the Rochester area, retired from NSP, and became a member of the Hunt Hollow Ski Club.

Bill took over the nascent Genesee Valley Region website in 1999 when NSP was beginning to explore having a web presence. Our region was one of the first in the country to come online with significant functionality for the Region Patrollers, including a calendar, OEC course and refresher instructions, and program information pages. Shortly thereafter, the Eastern Division Director asked Bill to rescue the floundering Eastern Division effort to establish a website and he took over and brought the division into cyberspace with a very competent approach to establishing functionality on the web for the division. He then proceeded to coordinate all of the 15 regions in the division into an integrated set of linked pages with a homogenized structure so that Patrollers all across the division could access information from any region in a consistent format. The Genesee Valley Region website originally designed by Bill served as the model for the development of the other websites within the division and Bill was instrumental in helping other regions develop their cyberspace programs.

Bill was more than just a webmaster, he was the Member Communications Advisor for both the region and the division. He edited the region newsletter, Valley Views, from 1999 until his death and coordinated the development of an internet edition of the newsletter. He started with email delivery to Patrollers who were online at the time to reduce paper versions and mailing cost. He then morphed the newsletter into a webpage archive for delivery of PDF versions to Region Patrollers, thus greatly reducing production and mailing costs to effect a significant savings for the region. He also worked with the division newsletter editor to provide a supplemental PDF version of the division newsletter, Trailsweep, to the mailed paper version and eventually that replaced the hardcopy version at a great cost saving to the division.

Bill also took on the role of region photographer and attended many region events, including refreshers, examinations, meetings, and classes to document these activities for both the website events pages and the newsletter. When Bill couldn’t get there, he arranged for another Patroller who was attending to photograph the event and processed those pictures for posting on the region website.

Despite his busy schedule as Member Communications Advisor for the region, Bill accepted the role of Region Alumni Advisor on an “interim” basis when the position fell vacant and his “interim” job lasted for several years. He coordinated the region alumni roster with the division supervisor, processed the dues income from national, and ran the annual Alumni Day. He finally got a well-deserved respite when the region found a candidate for the alumni job. Had Bill not been there the pick up the dropped alumni ball a few years ago, the region would not have an alumni program today.

Bill’s NSP peers recognized his distinguished contributions to ski patrolling with the presentation of significant region, division, and national awards. He received the Dick Doyle Award for his distinguished contributions to the Genesee Valley Region in 2010. The Eastern Division awarded him the prestigious “990” award for establishing the Division website, a National Meritorious Service Award in 2004 for his years of service as Member Communications Advisor, and the 2008 “Patroller for Patrollers” award for his significant service to the Division. The highest recognition for Bill came when he was presented the National Ski Patrol’s Distinguished Service Award for his dedicated service in 2011.

In addition to his patrol activities, Bill was the mainstay of a number of organizations that he belonged to and served as a board member, webmaster, and photographer. As a musician, he was an active contributor to the Golden Link Folk Singing Society, a rhythm guitarist and folk singer in the Hootin’ Hollerin’ Hot Shots, and a benefactor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Bill was a supporter of the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, NY and was a pilot whose aerial photographs were useful to many organizations. On a foggy morning in the fall of 2000, a chance encounter between Bill, who was photographing the new Hunt Hollow snowmaking equipment, and Bob Andre, Master and Huntsman of the Hopper Hills Hunt, led to Bill’s becoming the photographer for a number of equestrian events in the region, including the Hopper Hills Hunt, the Stuart Horse Trials, the Genesee Valley Hunt, and the Roscommon Foot Beagles. Bill religiously attended each meet and produced remarkable photographs of foxhunting in both the Hopper Hills and Genesee Valley Hunt Country. Each year he published a photo calendar that was appreciated by all. Bill had a knack for positioning himself unobtrusively to catch the best photo opportunities and his photographs appeared on many websites (e.g., http://www.gvhphotos.com and http://hopperhillshunt.tripod.com) and in many publications.

Written by Bob Andre, Hunt Hollow Ski Patrol and Nick Schiavetti, Swain Ski Patrol Alumnus