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George Charles Gamboa

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George C Gamboa DDS MS EdD
December 17, 1923 - October 21, 2013









LT (jg) Dental Officer US Navy Honored as SCOA Founding President
October 1946 - Age 23 October 2012 - Age 88
Naval Training Center San Diego Hilton Pasadena


George Charles Gamboa, a resident of Arcadia for 52 years, passed away Monday, October 21 at Arcadia Methodist Hospital from cardiac complications. He was born December 17, 1923 in King City, California. He was an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for over 40 years in San Gabriel and clinical professor at the USC and Loma Linda dental schools. He obtained his Doctorate in Education while teaching at USC. He is survived by Winona, his wife of 67 years; his children Cheryl, Jon and Judy; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Services were held on November 2, 2013 at Douglas and Zook in Monrovia followed by a Naval ceremony and US flag to drape his coffin and interment at Rose Hills in Whittier. The family asks that memorial gifts in George Gamboa's name be made to the Southern California Orofacial Academy, 8236 Garibaldi Ave, San Gabriel CA 91775-2436. 626-287-1185.

The following history of George Gamboa's life is an excerpt from the Spring 2013 issue of SCOA Proceedings, official publication of the Southern California Orofacial Academy:

George Gamboa was a third-generation Californian. His great grandfather Jacinto Gamboa sailed from Spain around the Horn with a stop in Chile, landing in Yerba Buena. George's father, George Angel Gamboa, with an eighth grade education in a little red schoolhouse, became a successful rancher. George Charles Gamboa was born in King City. He attended the Lodi Academy, a boarding school, where he excelled in baseball and football.
George worked on the family ranches on the harvesting crew and at the same time played catcher in semi-pro baseball in the Industrial Summer Leagues. He took pre dental at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley city of Angwin. His undergraduate interest was zoology. George was interested in two things in school: sports and studies. He attended dental school at College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco. He was placed in the Medical Administrative Corps (MAC) as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. His class at P&S was the largest in the history of the college, with 53 students.
George worked at the Fairmont Hotel and the Paramount Theater while in dental school. He met Winona Collins in San Francisco. Her aunt owned the boarding house where he lived; her uncle was in charge of bellhops at the Fairmont Hotel. Winona received her degree as a registered nurse at White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. The Gamboas have three children; Cheryl was born in Glendale in 1948; Jon followed in 1952 and Judy in 1953, both born at St Mary's in Rochester, Minnesota.
In 1946, before graduation from dental school, George was called to two years of active duty. He joined the Navy as a LT (jg) dental officer and in October 1946 was stationed at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. In January 1947 he was called to Special Services and asked if he would play and manage the Naval Training Center baseball team. They had picked up his background in baseball in his Navy history. George said he would do this if the captain of the dental corps would approve. The Navy had just started All-Navy programs in boxing, swimming, football, basketball and baseball.
George was manager and playing coach of the NTC baseball team and at the same time practiced dentistry. His team won 13 Naval District championships including the Pacific Coast Championship at Alameda Naval Air Station, playing teams from Alaska, Bremerton Washington and Alameda Naval Air Station. They won the Pacific Fleet Championship in Hawaii at US Navy Submarine Base Pearl Harbor where his team played Guam and Sub Base Pearl. They lost the All-Navy Baseball Championship to the Quantico Marines.
George inherited one ranch when his father died and over the years purchased a second ranch with over 4000 acres and a summer home, the Gamboa homestead on Gamboa Point on the coast in Big Sur. Property on both sides of the Gamboa homestead was eventually owned by Stanford University and the University of California. The Gamboas are highly regarded on the coast. Relatives are buried on the ranch and a memorial is set up northeast of Highway 1 south of Big Sur. Gamboa Trail spans 14 miles over the ridge of the Santa Lucia Mountains at Big Sur.
George finished dentistry in 1948 after two years in the Navy. He spent two years as a general dentist in Rosemead then went to the Mayo Clinic in 1950 where he received a Master's Degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Six Fellows at a time rotated through Mayo Clinic's three-year OMS program. George received a degree in Zoology and later his Doctorate in Education at USC. He opened his practice in San Gabriel in 1953 and when he retired he sold the practice to Dr George Chew.
In 1999 George wanted to teach full time because he enjoyed working with students. He was asked to teach at USC. He was the last active member of the founding faculty of the three-year residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the LA County-USC Medical Center. He was also invited to teach in the oral surgery section at Loma Linda School of Dentistry. He was chairman of the oral surgery department from 1960 to 1964 and worked at USC during the summers.
George was a member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Southern California Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons where he received the Distinguished Service Award. He was president of the Southern California Academy of Oral Pathology and the California Dental Society of Anesthesiology where he received the Distinguished Service Award.
George was recently recognized by USC as a faculty member for over 45 years. He wanted everyone to know that he was proud of dentistry and all dental specialties. He appreciated the education dental students receive and hoped for continued advances and improvement in the curriculum.
Dr Bob Huntington wrote in his president's message in the summer 2010 issue of SCOA Proceedings: "Dr George Gamboa took the bull by the horns in November 2001 as the first president of SCOA and led the struggles during those early fledgling years." Bob continued: "Dr Gamboa initially wrote 'The objectives of SCOA are to be professional camaraderie and continuing education at a reasonable cost.' Those objectives remain to this day."

George Gamboa was honored on October 24, 2012 as Founding President of the Southern California Orofacial Academy.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Nov. 17, 2013
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