Dr. Richard "Doc" Frederick Gambino, Sr., formerly of Somerset, died peacefully of natural causes on June 18, 2020 at Historic Roswell Assisted Living in Roswell, GA where he made his home for the past nine years. He was 96 years old. Richard is survived by his children, Carolyn S. Gambino of Durham, NC and Richard F. Gambino, Jr. of Kailua, HI; his two grandchildren Erin Shifflett (Shawn), Somerset and Richard F. Gambino, III (Courtney), Scenery Hill, PA; his two great-grandchildren, Richard F. Gambino, IV and Viviana Saige. He is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Pauline B. Gambino; his brothers, Robert W. and Joseph F.; and his parents. Richard was born on May 4, 1924 in Martinsburg, WV to Ruth Burkhart Gambino and Joseph F. Gambino and was the eldest of three sons. He was quite proud of his WV heritage, and, despite leaving the state 70 years ago, always considered himself a true Mountaineer and remained a devoted fan of WVU football and basketball. Richard enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and landed on Utah Beach during the invasion in June 1944. He served in the 6th Armored Division under General Patton where he earned the rank of Sergeant. He was awarded a Bronze and Silver Star for meritorious achievement during ground operations against the enemy in the European Theater of Operations. He was also awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in France. Upon his return from the war, Richard attended Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV and received a Doctor of Optometry degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia. In 1950, he established an optometry office in Somerset where he practiced for more than 40 years. He was a 60-year member of the Lions Club International and served as past president of the local branch; he received a lifetime membership award for length of service while living in Roswell, GA. Richard was also a long-standing member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Somerset, PA and served as usher for many Sunday morning services. A dedicated supporter of local youth sports, Richard was a familiar face at Little League, Senior League and American Legion baseball games as well as in the Somerset Area School District home bleachers for football and baseball games throughout the years. He was also an avid fisherman and enjoyed annual trips to Maine and Florida--as well as a special vacation in Alaska--to try his hand at reeling in the big one. While a resident of Historic Roswell, Richard was known for his cheerful disposition and penchant for telling jokes; as such, he performed in a comedy group and served as a new resident ambassador to ease the transition to assisted living for many people. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Historic Roswell Assisted Living, Capstone Hospice and CaraVita Home Care--particularly Lisa, Jasmine, Maddie and Douglas. We would also like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Dan Ruckman for his loyal friendship and loving support. Special acknowledgment to CDR Marty Sloan, U.S. Navy (ret) for graciously providing honor guard duties during Richard's transport from GA to PA. A celebration of Richard's life will be held Friday, June 26th at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Somerset, PA, and all are welcome to attend. Please honor the family's request to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Pastor Douglas Knupp will officiate. The service will be followed by a graveside ceremony for family only. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Foundation for the Blind (www.afb.org) or Lions Club International (www.lionsclub.org). Arrangements by Hauger-Zeigler Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Somerset. To leave condolences, please visit www.haugerzeigler.com
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