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Obituary for Robert Gambill


Professor Emeritus Robert Arnold Gambill, 82, of West Lafayette, passed away at his home on Thursday morning, May 14, 2009.

Professor Gambill was born in Indianapolis on February 20, 1927, to the late Charles Jennings Gambill and the late Hazel Fern (Mellen) Gambill. He graduated from Indianapolis Thomas Carr Howe High School in 1945 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At Butler University he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and physics in 1950.

August 27, 1950 he married fellow Butler student Phyllis Jean Stultz on campus in Sweeney Chapel. They began their lives together at Purdue University. As a graduate student in Mathematics he achieved a Master of Science degree in 1952, and in 1954 obtained his PhD in the area of Linear and Non-Linear Differential Equations. His first posting after graduation was with Naval Avionics in Indianapolis after which he joined the Mathematics faculty at Purdue in 1960. During his tenure at Purdue he wrote two calculus textbooks, along with several papers.

Even after retirement in 1995, he remained interested in creating new mathematical equations. His favorite hobbies were fishing, poker and his grandchildren. He loved music from Dixieland to classic. Both at home and abroad, he loved his grandchildren and his role as a grandfather, his favorite quote being 'love 'em and leave 'em!'. He was a volunteer for community service as a personal financial advisor, as well as serving as treasurer on the board of the 'Friends of the West Lafayette Public Library'.

His sense of humor followed him everywhere. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather, touching the lives of many friends, colleagues and students. He demonstrated responsibility, integrity and joy of living to all who knew him. He will be missed.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years and lifelong sweetheart, Phyllis Gambill, along with his daughter, Chandra Hronchek and his son, Robert Gambill II; grandchildren, Brian, Daniel and Jeffrey Hronchek, Maria, Robert and Luisa Gambill; and great-grandchildren, Audrey and Reesa Hronchek; and by his sister Carol Graham.

The family will receive friends at Hippensteel Funeral Home in Lafayette on Thursday, May 21 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by a memorial service beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The family suggests memorial contributions in lieu of flowers to Butler University School of Music (Att. Joy Rogers, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208), or to St. Elizabeth Hospice, (1415 Salem Street, Suite 202W, Lafayette, IN 47904).

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