Charles Richard Gamper

After serving in the Army, he became a teacher and coach at Gilman School, where he directed the athletics program.

December 01, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Charles Richard Gamper, a retired Gilman School teacher, athletics director and coach, died Tuesday of cancer at the Pickersgill retirement community in Towson. He was 89.

He also headed the old Maryland Scholastic Association, the sports league that governed private, public and Catholic high school sports.

"He was the quintessential teacher-coach," Gilman Headmaster John E. Schmick said. "He was a man of great principles and integrity."

Born in Halethorpe and raised in Philadelphia, he played football at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana and earned an education degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where he played football on a team in an intercollegiate league for players weighing no more than 150 pounds. He was a member of the school's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

In 1941, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps. He served at the siege of Bastogne in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He later remained in the Army Reserves and left the service as a lieutenant colonel in the 1960s.

After the war, he returned to Baltimore with Army friends and joined the Gilman faculty in the fall of 1946. He was varsity baseball coach and junior varsity football coach until being named athletic director in 1958. He held the post for a decade.

"Charley has done a magnificent job as athletic director," the school's headmaster, Redmon S. Finney, told a Sun reporter in 1968. "During his regime, he has set up an excellent intramural program and a comprehensive physical fitness program."

Mr. Gamper, who taught mathematics, also headed Gilman's financial aid program, was dean of students and ran a community service program, among other duties.

At Mr. Gamper's 1984 retirement, another Gilman headmaster, Ludlow H. Baldwin, wrote in a school bulletin, "His eagerness to do and his ability to get things done resulted in his being asked to undertake additional responsibilities," and added that as the school began to spin off his tasks, the "transfer has thus far involved takeover duties by 10 different teachers or administrators."

Mr. Gamper received numerous awards at Gilman, including the 1983 Holmes Award for distinguished service. Students dedicated the yearbook to him on four occasions.

He was president of the Maryland Scholastic Association from 1972 to 1984 and had earlier been its secretary. In 1985, in recognition of his years at the MSA, the National Conference of Christians and Jews gave him an award. Evening Sun sports editor Bill Tanton said the honor was deserved because Mr. Gamper "always put into practice the philosophy of bringing people together."

"He always cared about the underdog, the less fortunate, and those who worked for him," said his son, C. Richard Gamper Jr. of Baltimore. "They came first. In all his dealings, he was consistent to very high standards of behavior and conduct, but compassionate and caring in every action, thought and word that he spoke."

In the 1950s Mr. Gamper was a camp counselor at Camp Deerwood and Camp Asquam in New Hampshire. He later bought a home at Center Sandwich, N.H. and retired there. He delivered food for a Meals on Wheels program.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 20 at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where he was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of nearly 60 years, the former Jacqueline Langrall; two others sons, William H. Gamper and Thomas O. Gamper, both of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.

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