Elbert Gamble, 83, of Roseville

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 20, 2006

Elbert Gamble witnessed life in ways few people ever will, fighting in World War II and then becoming a doctor and delivering hundreds of babies.

Gamble, who died Dec. 24 at age 83, flew 50 missions as a tail gunner on a B-17 bomber while stationed in Italy. He flew about twice as many missions as others in his crew because he filled in on other crews that had lost their tail gunners to death or injury.

On every mission, he wore a blue wool sweater that his mother had knitted him. One time he didn’t have it on and ran back

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to get it. He felt it protected him or brought him good luck.

After returning from the war, he earned undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Minnesota. He practiced in Bricelyn, Minn., before joining a medical group his father and uncles had started in Albert Lea. During his years in general practice, he delivered more than 700 babies.

He and his wife, Doree, and their three children moved to Roseville in 1966, where he began a residency in anesthesiology. He worked with a group in St. Paul until retiring in 1980.

Gamble was born March 24, 1922, in Minneapolis and grew up in Albert Lea. He loved to hunt and fish, whether spending six months in Canada and Alaska in 1966 or two hours on the St. Croix this past summer.

Lifelong friend Roger Berglund, whose son Eric is married to Gamble’s daughter Lisa, said Gamble’s generous nature was apparent on fishing trips.

&8220;He would always see that his fellow fisherman had the best end of the boat or the best location in the fishing spot,&8221; Berglund said.

Gamble is survived by his wife, Doree; daughters Lisa Berglund of Maple Grove and Carol Cook of Harris, Minn.; son James of Hopkins; and seven grandchildren. Services have been held.