Major General Bradley David Gambill (Ret.), formerly of Norman, Oklahoma, passed away on February 8, 2023. He was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma on July 29, 1940 to Earl and Laura Gambill as the youngest of six children. At Pawnee High School, he participated in a number of school activities including football, track, and marching band and then graduated in 1958. Brad had many lively stories of his time in Pawnee, such as when he floated down Bear Creek with his dad in a boat made of two welded together Ford truck hoods. As a senior in high school, Brad began his 44-year military career when he enlisted in the local Oklahoma National Guard unit in 1957. Three days after graduation, Brad and three of his friends spilled into a car and drove to Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas for basic training and then to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for advanced training.
Brad graduated from Oklahoma State University with a BA in 1964, studying urban geography. During the second semester of his junior year, he met Janet R. Strickland from Muskogee at a dessert exchange between her sorority, Kappa Delta, and his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and married her that same year. The newlyweds resettled in Norman, OK where Brad attended the University of Oklahoma and received a Master's degree in City & Regional Planning.
Upon completing his Masters, Brad began working for firms and cities on urban planning and development projects. He moved to the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority to assist in the implementation of the Pei Plan and the Oklahoma City Medical Center development. Soon afterward, he took a position with Breisch Engineering in Tulsa where he directed a staff to assist communities with developing a planning process. After six years with Breisch Engineering, he became Stillwater's Director of Community Development and also served as an Adjunct Professor at OSU teaching a course on city planning.
When Brad accepted a position as Director of Utilities in Norman, he dedicated himself to improving the utility system. Some of the improvements included construction of residential sewer lines, updated treatment plant, a system for automated trash collection, a volunteer recycling center, and a way to expand the Norman water supply and pressure. Brad was a hands-on people-person who loved his employees and his job with the City of Norman. He rode on the back of a sanitation truck to see what were the problems. He retired in 2001, but returned to employment with the City of Norman as City Manager where he worked until 2006.
As a National Guardsman, Brad always took his service to the community, state, and country seriously. During the 1974 Tulsa tornado he led a search and rescue operation before the threat was over. In 1985, Brad completed his battalion command in the Army National Guard and accepted a position in the Pentagon. Brad spent the next few years in command and staff assignments. His military education included Officer Candidate training, Career Course at Fort Benning, Command, and General Staff College and Naval War College. His major command assignments include command of the 1/179 Infantry battalion, 145th Troop Command, 45th Infantry Brigade and Assistant Adjutant General. His final military assignment before retirement was as the Deputy Commanding General (West) for Fifth United States Army. His 44-year military career took him from a private to a General Officer..
After retirement, with the help of Dr. Bill Nations, Dr. Chris Tomlins and Mike Montgomery, Brad enjoyed life playing golf and riding around the OU course listening to 50's music. He was never very good and some claim he was terrible but it was fun for him. He used to come home and brag about his game but never his score. He also liked to hunt with his military friends. He lost his bird dog ""Clyde"" from old age in 2012. Brad appreciated his old army buddy, CW4 Jack Tabor and wife Peggy, for always welcoming him and Janet out to Sagerton, Texas for dove and turkey hunting. He also had fond memories of General Tom Mancino and General Jim Walker for the pheasant hunts in Kansas, Nebraska and North Dakota.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Bill, Harry, and Darrell; and sisters, Edna and Barbara. He is survived by his wife, Janet Gambill of Rogers, AR; son, Dr. Brad Gambill and his wife, Cathleen of Flint Ridge, Oklahoma; daughter, Kathryn Million and husband, Dave Million of Las Cruces, NM; four grandchildren including, Tucker along with his wife, Madison and their daughter, Lucy; Will Gambill of Fayetteville, AR; and Karson and Gaige Million of Las Cruces, NM; and a host of loved nieces and nephews. Brad was proud of his son and daughter for becoming well educated in their field and chosen careers as teachers.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Norman, OK at 555 S University Blvd., at 1 p.m., March 4, 2023. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Pawnee, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Presbyterian Church located at 555 S. University, Norman, Oklahoma 73069, or the National Guard Family Support Fund located at 3501 Military Circle, Oklahoma City, 73111-4398.