Dr. Frank R. Gamberdella passed away peacefully at home with his loving family by his side on July 23, 2019. Frank was born on March 12, 1943, to Ralph J. and Caroline K. (Sale) Gamberdella in New Haven, Conn.
Surrounded by his large, extended Italian family, Frank grew up with his sister Vivian, cousins who were best friends (and like brothers), as well as aunts and uncles who loved and doted on all of them.
From his earliest elementary years, both teachers and family said Frank was “college material” and sure to become a doctor. When Frank was 15 years old, the family moved to California and settled in Alhambra, Calif.
The transition was tough on Frank and his sister. He always credited his family and his high school basketball coach for helping him reconnect and succeed in school and sports.
Frank became the first in his family to attend college, earning a full scholarship to the University of Southern California and embarking on his medical education. After three years at USC, he qualified to enter Medical School at UC Irvine, and later returned to USC for his internship and residency. Thus began a 40-plus year career as one of the premier obstetrician /gynecologist /infertility specialists in the region.
While at USC Frank met the love of his life Jacque Foley at the Newman Club. Frank and Jacque married in 1966 and started their family during medical school. Directly after finishing his residency, Frank began his service as a major in the U.S. Air Force and moved his family to serve at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
In 1975 Frank returned to civilian life and once again moved the family across the country. This time to join the Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic as an OB/GYN.
In 1978, Frank began his private practice where he would serve the Santa Barbara community until he retired in 2014. It was often joked that Frank probably delivered half the babies in Santa Barbara during his work as an obstetrician.
Midway through his career, Frank retired from obstetrics and focused his medical practice on infertility and gynecological care. As a faculty member at the USC School of Medicine, Frank was on the cutting edge of infertility medicine in Santa Barbara and Southern California.
For more than four decades, Frank cultivated profound doctor-patient relationships with generations of women and families who were so appreciative of his compassionate and skilled care.
During the later years of his practice, Frank became involved in the governing bodies for his specialty as the president of the Pacific Coast Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and as chairman of District IX of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology.
Through many leadership positions, Frank fed his professorial passion for teaching and learning about his specialty. He was known as “the professor” among many of his colleagues.
While Frank’s mark on this community as a doctor is significant, perhaps his greatest love and passion was his family. Frank was the proud father of four and grandfather to eight. He was truly the patriarch of the Sale/Gamberdella family and a mentor to many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He cultivated relationships with colleagues and friends that brought them into the Gamberdella fold as family and their children raised together like siblings or cousins to his own.
When his family was young, Frank relished coaching Little League and Boys’ Club and cheering from the stands at San Marcos High School. As a grandfather, he became the Number One Fan at Little League, the Page Center, San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos high schools, intently following all of his grandkids’ athletic exploits.
The home Frank and Jacque built in 1978 in Santa Barbara truly was his castle. The doors were always open to family and friends. His children’s friends were always welcome for family parties, casual dinners or to watch a great USC Football game. Food and good cheer were abundant, and Frank loved to “hold court” and engage in “life talks” or just shoot the breeze about USC’s chances in the National Championship.
A longtime member of La Cumbre Country Club, Frank’s passion for golf took a close second to his passion for family. He spent countless hours on the fairways with his children, grandchildren and many friends and family. La Cumbre was his “ome away from home.
The Gamberdella family extends a sincere “thank you” to the members and staff at La Cumbre who treated him like family every time he was there.
Frank led by example and instilled in his family a strong sense of honor and integrity, an unrivaled work ethic as well as compassion and commitment to those you serve in whatever your chosen path.
Frank is survived by his wife of 53 years Jacque; sons Marc (Renata) and Paul (MarLa); daughters Cara (fiancé Shayne) and Jennifer; eight grandchildren Genaro (20), Gianna (19), Lia (16), Frankie (19), Ellie (17), Vincent (15), Josie (12), Santino (10); sister Vivian (Joseph); and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents.
Thank you for all you gave to us, Pop!! You will be missed! FIGHT ON!!
The Gamberdella Family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to all of Frank’s medical team and the compassionate work of Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.
Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in the Serra Chapel at the Santa Barbara Mission. Funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at the Old Mission, with a reception at the Gamberdella home directly after. Please e-mail Cara Gamberdella (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank’s honor may be made to the Devereux Foothill House (e-mail Cara for link), the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, sbart.org or Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, vnhcsb.org.
To leave an online memory or condolence, please visit wrhsb.com. Arrangements entrusted to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.