Pastor’s humble approach kept him passionate about people | ajc.com


Pastor’s humble approach kept him passionate about people  | ajc.com.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Gamber lived a modest and simple life, and his burial will follow suit, family and friends say.

Rev. Dr. Paul Gamber was pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Stockbridge.

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“He didn’t call attention to himself,” said his son, and namesake, Paul Gamber III, of Sierra Madre, Calif. “He brought attention to the works of others. That was one of his gifts.”

The Rev. Paul E. Gamber, of Conyers, was recuperating from surgery when he died Saturday at his home. He was 62. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Stockbridge First United Methodist Church, 4863 North Henry Boulevard, Stockbridge. A private burial at Honey Creek Woodlands will follow. Scot Ward Funeral Services is in charge of arrangements.

The death of Dr. Gamber, who was serving as the pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Stockbridge, came as a shock to all who knew him. Family and friends who were with him during his recovery were especially taken aback.

“We are the same age,” said the Rev. Dr. B. Michael Watson, resident Bishop of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, who will deliver the eulogy. “So I am keenly aware of Paul’s untimely passing.”

Bishop Watson, who is a long-time friend of the family, said Dr. Gamber’s “life and ministry were congruent.”

“He really lived what he preached,” the Bishop said. “His ministry was from an absolute and true calling.”

Dr. Gamber did not answer his call to pastoral ministry until he was in his early 30s, his son said. Prior to entering the ministry, Dr. Gamber was an attorney in Illinois for 10 years. He had a private practice and worked as an assistant state’s attorney and an assistant public defender during that time. But he left all of that behind, and moved his family to the Atlanta area to pursue his calling to ministry, a career that spanned 27 years.

“Well, he left almost all of it behind,” Mr. Gamber said. “His love of music stayed with him the entire time.”

As a vocalist and instrumentalist, music was a part of Dr. Gamber’s life for many years, his family said. His instrument was the trombone, which he once played as guest on the Benny Goodman show. He also played bass guitar in a rock band while he was in college in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dr. Gamber’s love for music was no secret. While serving as the pastor of Orange United Methodist Church, in Canton, he was one of the driving forces behind forming The Orangemen, a men’s vocal and instrumental group, Mr. Gamber said.

“He sang in it, I sang in it, and it was really embraced by the church,” he said. “He loved to sing that much.”

“I’ve heard him burst into song in the middle of a sermon before,” Mr. Gamber said. “And while preaching isn’t my ministry, he did pass on to me the ministry of music.”

Rev. Gamber is also survived by his wife, Lisa B. Gamber of Conyers and a daughter, Liana Gamber Thompson of San Jose, Calif.

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