Obituary: Father William Gamber

Father William “Bill” Keith Gamber, 91, died Oct. 24 at Woodland Lodge, Fergus Falls. A walk-through visitation will be held from 2:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Our Lady of Victory Church in Fergus Falls. The rosary will be prayed at 6 p.m., followed by a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Both will be livestreamed. (Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a limit of 100 people during the prayer service.) 

The Mass of Christian Burial will be a private family service at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, and will be livestreamed. (View the livestreams at olsonfuneralhome.com. Select Father Gamber’s obituary and click on “View Webcast” in the Webcast Video section.) Interment will at St. Otto’s Cemetery in Fergus Falls. Fergus Falls VFW Post 612 and American Legion Post 30 will provide military participation.

William was born April 16, 1929, to Charles LeRoy and Margaret Helen (Adamson) Gamber. He attended Jefferson Grade School and graduated from the Washington Senior High School in 1947. He attended college at Crosier Seminary for two years and then enlisted in the United States Navy, spending four years at Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Hawaii. In 1955, he enrolled at St. Thomas College in St. Paul, graduating in 1958. During his tenure at St. Thomas, he worked in the manuscript department of the Minnesota State Historical Society. Upon graduation from St. Thomas, he was named Curator of the Minnesota State Historical Society Museum. In 1959, he entered St. Paul Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Feb. 22, 1964, at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Father Gamber ministered at the Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Therese, and St. Vincent, all in St. Paul, and at St. John the Baptist in Hugo, Minnesota. He served as chaplain at the Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Minneapolis, and as a chaplain in military status at the Minneapolis Veteran’s Hospital for 17 years.  

With permission of Archbishop Harry Flynn, he retired from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and returned to Fergus Falls to take care of his aging mother, who died in 2002. During retirement Father Gamber remained active in sacramental ministries, concelebrating at Mass and funerals at Our Lady of Victory Church, hearing confession, administering the sacrament of the sick and providing outreach to the hospital. He was also a benefactor of the ministry of Father Lucho Palomino of Chimbote, Peru.

His avocation was the rescue and restoration of several historic homes — an interest in preserving our national heritage. Father Gamber and sculptor Ian Dudley erected the bronze statue of Joseph Whitford, founder of Fergus Falls, on the corner of Summit Ave. and Whitford St., in 2005.

Father Gamber was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Charles “Bugs” (Jane); sister, Marieloise “Duffy” (M. Richard) Brimhall; and his niece, Nancy Leonard. He is survived by his nieces and nephews: Bruce Brimhall, Otter Tail Lake; Charles (Deborah) Gamber, Englewood, Colorado; Steven (Carol) Brimhall, Otter Tail Lake; John Gamber, Thailand; Susan (Art) Harter, Centennial, Colorado; Margaret (David) Knutson, Crystal, Minnesota; Nancy Brimhall, Underwood, Minnesota; and nephew-in-law, Mark Leonard, Thorton, Colorado.  He is also survived by many grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Grieving his loss are also the Our Lady of Victory Parish Community in Fergus Falls, which includes his brother priests, Fathers Alan Wielinski and Patrick Hoeft; and his fellow priests and friends in the St. Cloud Diocese, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Fargo Diocese.

Memorials may be directed to Otter Tail County Historical Society in Fergus Falls or Father Lucho Palomino, Peruvian Parish. Online condolences may be sent to www.olsonfuneralhome.com.

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Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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