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Charles T. GamblePrinterCharles T. Gamble, a retired...


Charles T. Gamble


Charles T. Gamble, a retired printer who was a member of Maryland's oldest private club for African-Americans, died Saturday of complications of liver disease at Sandtown-Winchester Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was 83.

Mr. Gamble, formerly a resident of Pennsylvania Avenue, retired in 1972 after a 36-year career with the Falconer Co., a stationery manufacturer.

During the Depression, he was employed by the Works Progress Administration. In the late 1920s, he was a semiprofessional boxer and fought under the name Kid Puddin.

In 1932, Mr. Gamble joined the Arch Social Club, an organization founded in 1912 that provided health and burial insurance for blacks.

"In those days, it was often very difficult for blacks to obtain health and burial insurance, and by forming such clubs, they were able to take care and offer mutual help to their members who were sick by providing benefits," said Donna T. Hollie, a longtime friend and assistant manager of the Dunbar Center of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services.

Mr. Gamble held the longest membership in the club's history and chaired the board of trustees for 18 years.

"He was proud of the club's longevity and its adherence to the principles of brotherhood, community service and charitable outreach, which had been established by the club's founders," Ms. Hollie said.

"The club was his life," said his son, Melvin N. Gamble of Woodlawn.

His father's recollections of the club and of local black civic, religious and social life during the 1920s and 1930s were published in the 1986 issue of Flower of the Forest, a locally published black history and genealogy journal. The elder Mr. Gamble was also a frequent guest on Morgan State University's radio station, WEAA-FM, where he discussed African-American history.

"He was so proud to have the opportunity to lecture on a college radio station because he only had a sixth-grade education. He was forced to leave school to help support his family," Ms. Hollie said.

His son said, "He was just an easygoing guy, who was always willing to a share a little of his knowledge. He always found a point in the past that let us go forward. He found parables in many things." Ms. Hollie described Mr. Gamble as "a gentleman who was courtly, impeccably dressed and who enjoyed going out of his way to help people."

He was born and raised in West Baltimore and attended schools there.

His first wife, the former Edna Dixon, whom he married in 1928, is deceased. In 1954, he married Violet Davenport, who died in 1972.

Services for Mr. Gamble are scheduled for 7 p.m. today at New Shiloh Baptist Church, 2100 N. Monroe St., where he was a lifelong member.

He also is survived by a sister, Marie Drumwright of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Monday at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, Calvert and Madison streets, for the Rev. Anthony John Zeits, S.J., retired treasurer of the Jesuit Province of Maryland and former president of Loyola High School, who died May 24.

The Most Rev. William D. Borders, retired archbishop of the Baltimore archdiocese, will be the celebrant.

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