SSG Robert “Bob” John Norman Gamache, ARNG Retired was born to Henry Dewey Kriplin and Faye Ivy Drummond Jones October 30th, 1940 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His father, a WWI and WWII veteran, moved them to the United States when he was two years old. Bob became a ward of the state and was raised by a foster family on a farm in Randolph, Vermont. At age fifteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed immediately to Korea. He joined the Korean War as part of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division. After an eighteen day ride on a troop ship, he arrived in Seoul, Korea. He spent six years in Korea, from 1955 to 1961. After Korea, Bob was sent to Fūrth, Germany with the 37th Armored Unit.
Following his discharge from the Army, Bob enlisted in the New York National Guard and later transferred into the Massachusetts National Guard. During his years in the National Guard, Bob also maintained a civilian career as a full-time professional truck driver. He drove all over the United States, both for commercial companies and independently. One fateful trip led him to Wilhite’s Truck Stop where he met the love of his life, Diana. When Bob popped the big question to Diana, she told him she would marry him if he promised to always open the door for her. Bob and Diana married on May 9th, 1986.
Bob continued to drive cross country and Diana served as secretary at Poplar Corner Church for 21 years. His grandchildren recall some of their fondest memories as the days when Grand-Daddy rode them to the Dairy Cream for ice cream in the “big truck”. Bob retired from the National Guard, 109th Armor Regiment Unit, with 30 years of service and later from his career as a truck driver in 2011. Shortly after retirement, he was talked into driving for Southwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency. Bob spent the next 7 years driving locals back and forth to medical appointments around West Tennessee. He was deeply admired and loved by all of his riders. They all looked forward to Mr. Bob’s humor and jokes. Ever the hard worker, he retired from his third and final career in 2019.
After a brave battle with pancreatic cancer, Bob left this world on February 15, 2020. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family. His passing will leave a large void in many lives. He was always jolly and smiling. Until the very end, his wife, Diana, never had to open her own door.
He is survived by his wife, Diana Long Gamache, his brother Dave (Debbie) McIntosh of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2 Brother in Laws: Mike (Carolyn) Boomer of Virginia Beach, Virginia and Kenneth (Marsha) Buie of Jackson, Tennessee. Bob and Diana had 7 children: Tammy Long Cowan, Deborah (Larry) Kelso, Liz (Bubba) Rankin, Morris (Misty) Long and Samantha Gamache Neal (Clinton), all of Brownsville, Tennessee; Rae (Tim) Council of Apex, North Carolina; and Tina (Nathan) Snyder of Superior, Colorado.
They were blessed with 14 grandchildren: Sybil (Tom) Bridgewater, Jon-Mark (Katy) Cowan, Sara Long, Lindsey (Chad) Schlink, Jonathan Long, Sebastian Sammons and Sadie Sammons, all of Brownsville, Tennessee; Matthew (Brittney) Terry of Nashville, Tennessee; Andrew Terry of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Joseph Jones of Hampstead, North Carolina; Marcus Spencer of Wilmington, North Carolina; Natalie Bobo and Emma Snyder of Superior, Colorado; and Noah Snyder of Morgantown, West Virginia. They have also been blessed with 7 beautiful great grandchildren: Cooper Stoots, Boomer Stoots, Dixie Bridgewater, and Cas Schlink, all of Brownsville, Tennessee; Jason Jones, Adler Jones, and Joshua Jones, all of Hampstead, North Carolina.
Visitation will be held at Poplar Corner Baptist Church, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
The service will follow at 2:30 p.m.; Bro. Eddie Mallonee will be officiating. Military honors will be observed. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Poplar Corner Baptist Church, 1010 Boyd Ave., Brownsville, TN 38012.