In Memoriam: Mort Gamble


Mort Gamble

Longtime PCA member Mortimer Williams Gamble V died on January 29, 2020.  He was born on September 21, 1951, in Cumberland, Maryland.  He grew up in Moorefield, West Virginia.  Mort received his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in English and his doctorate in higher education leadership, all from West Virginia University.  He taught English, humanities, and communication at West Virginia Wesleyan College and served as Director of College Relations at that institution.  Subsequently he worked in many administrative positions at Fairmont State University (West Virginia), Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania), Hood College (Maryland), George Washington University (DC), and Bethany College (West Virginia).  Since 2016 he served as Senior Vice President at Virginia Wesleyan University, where he was also an associate professor of communication.

Mort was a former member of a traveling circus troupe and conducted research on circus history and culture.  He was active for many years in the PCA Circus and Sideshow Culture Area.  He was a columnist for The CFA Word, the national magazine of the Circus Fans Association of America.  Mort’s publications include “Circus! Life Under the Big Top” (Goldenseal, published by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, 2009); “Bethany Trolley” (with Laura L. Cramblet) (Goldenseal, 2011); and (with Maureen Brunsdale) “Little Caesar: The Secret Life and High-Flying Times of Art Concello” (Bandwagon, published by the Circus Historical Society, 2017).  Mort also published “Circus Kirk: A Mud Show Back to the Future (What the Circus Did for Us),” “Circus Noir: Peering Into the Dark Corners of the Big Top,” and “Circus in a Box: The Big Top on TV,” all in The Many Worlds of Circus, edited by Robert Sugarman (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).  Mort presented a paper at the 2019 PCA conference, “The ‘Soul’ of the Circus: What Animals Under the Big Top Continue to Teach Their Audiences.”  At the time of his death, Mort was working with Maureen Brunsdale on a book-length biography of trapeze artist and show manager Arthur M. Concello.

Mort is survived by his wife (M.E. Yancosek Gamble) and his brother (Dave Gamble). Read more from Virginia Wesleyan University.

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