Howard Marion Gamse, a former vice president of Gamse Lithographing Co., died Aug. 11 of cancer in his North Baltimore home. He was 89.
Mr. Gamse was the son of Herman Gamse, co-founder of Gamse Lithographing Co., and Lily Gamse, a schoolteacher, and grew up the fourth of five children in Windsor Hills. Originally, the company operated on Lombard Street before moving to its current location on Pulaski Highway. The family sold the company in 1983.
A graduate of City College, Mr. Gamse served in the Air Force as a radio operator before going to Kutztown State Teachers College where he trained to become an art teacher. He opted to go into the family business instead of teaching in the classroom.
Mr. Gamse was introduced met his future wife, Alice Schloss, on a blind date arranged by his younger brother David.
His brother predicted a permanent match.
"'You will marry this girl,' he said," said Mrs. Gamse.
She added that her husband told people: "I didn't want to make my brother a liar."
Mrs. Gamse was instantly taken. "I fell in love at first sight when I opened the door and he had a corsage under his arm and a smile on his face," she said.
The day after their first date, Mr. Gamse gave her the Thomas Wolfe novel "You Can't Go Home Again."
"That cinched it for me," she said. "We shared the same values that the book showed. What touched him, touched me."
Mrs. Gamse said that their lives were filled with lots of love and a fair amount of adventure.
The two traveled across the country by van. They also participated in house swaps that took them as far away as Europe. The two also led bus tours for Baltimoreans to visit nearby cities such as Washington and Philadelphia. The "Have A Fling Tours" lasted a couple of years, according to Mrs. Gamse. Her husband used his artistic background to design and print fliers for the tours, she said.
The two crafted hand-made jewelry for a number of years through their company, Alice Creations. The two traveled to various museums and boutiques throughout the country selling their jewelry.
"He was just made for me. And I was made for him," she said. "He was just a wonderful man and I adored him. We just had a wonderful time together."
Mr. Gamse enjoyed cooking, according to his wife. An avid reader, Mr. Gamse read The New York Times each morning. He was part of a Saturday morning men's coffee group at the Winthrop House, where he and his wife lived for 12 years. Mr. Gamse was also a member of the book club at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church. A member of the Sierra Club, he loved nature and exercise.
"He was my darling," Mrs. Gamse said. "He was patient. He was multifaceted. He had an uncanny sense of people and situations. He loved his three sons and me."
Mr. Gamse's son, Jon Gamse of Mount Washington, remembered his father's refined tastes.
"He loved movies—especially French movies," he said. "He had a sophisticated taste in the arts. He loved the Orioles and the Ravens. But he had artistic interests. He led by example. He was a stand-up kind of guy. He was always there. He was a good listener."
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Gamse is survived by two other sons, Henry Gamse of Monroe, Conn., and Robert Gamse of Ellicott City; and six grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the Winthrop House, Apt. 105, 4100 N. Charles St.