By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WALTON - Samuel Keen Gamble, a former City Council member and mayor of Walton, died Wednesday at Grant Manor Health Care Center in Williamstown. The Walton resident was 91.
"He was optimistic and always smiled," said his wife of 51 years, Erie Gamble. He "wanted people to treat him like he treated them. He was loved by everyone."
Mr. Gamble was born in eastern Kentucky's Magoffin County in 1912. This coal region in the central Appalachians is one of Kentucky's poorest counties, with unemployment and poverty rates triple those in the rest of the country.
Mr. Gamble managed to acquire a ninth-grade education, but by the time he reached adulthood the Great Depression was dawning.
He went to work with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal program begun in 1933, that provided jobs to men ages 18-25. Mr. Gamble lived in one of the three CCC camps around Corbin, where he helped develop Cumberland Falls State Park. The men cleared foot trails, drew maps, erected cabins and built the DuPont Lodge.
By 1942 the CCC had run its course, and most of the men joined the armed forces, including Mr. Gamble, who served with the Navy in the Philippines.
After the war, he worked for Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Louisville.
In 1950, he came to Walton and began working at a bar and grill. Two years later he bought the establishment and named it Sam's Bar & Grill. Walton would be his home for the next 52 years.
Mr. Gamble sold the bar in 1970, around the time he was elected to Walton's City Council.
In 1973 he defeated incumbent Dallas Justice to become mayor. He was mayor for two years and served on council until 1978.
After he left office, Mr. Gamble operated a tool-sharpening business he called Sam's Sharp-All.
He was a member of the American Legion.
His daughter, Ann Carrier, died in 1974.
In addition to his wife, survivors include: a son, Dewey Mulford of Piner, Ky.; a brother, Roye Gamble of LaGrange; one grandchild; and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation is 5-8 p.m. today at Chambers & Grubbs Funeral Home, 45 N. Main Street in Walton. The funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Interment will be at New Bethel Cemetery in Verona.
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