Paul Clinton Gamsby, 73, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on July 16, 2022 a mere 12 days after the family gathered in Colorado Springs to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary to his beloved wife Patty (Sansone). Perhaps it was fate that brought the family together for an extended weekend to regale stories of the last five decades and beyond. Many focusing on whimsical stories of Paul’s prodigious strength. Such as the time early in their marriage that Patty asked him to tear down a garage on their property that had fallen into disrepair. Lacking any mechanical equipment Paul proceeded to bring the cinder block garage to the ground by ramming it with his shoulder and pulling it apart with his bare hands.
Born on August 18, 1948 in Toronto, Ontario Canada to the late Lloyd and Rita Gamsby. Paul subsequently spent his childhood years in Toronto, Ontario with his younger siblings Patricia and Peter both of whom would precede him in death. It was thought he gained his great strength from him as a teenager, when his father tasked him to collect enough lumber to build a hunting cabin. For a month, armed with only an ax and a chain saw, he felled trees and dragged them up a hill to the building site. He has gained strength and confidence that would serve him well in tasks to come.
Excelling at ice hockey while schooling in Canada, Paul would attend the University of Michigan (Class of 1971), in 1970-71, his senior year, he captained the hockey team, and later was inducted into the U of M Dekers Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981. Upon graduation he turned pro and spent some time in the International Hockey League. The dream of the NHL appeared out of reach and Paul accepted an offer to work at Security People’s Bank, in Erie, Pa and played for the bank sponsored hockey team, the Erie Lions. He met Patty Sansone a young bank cashier, a whirlwind romance ensued culminating in their marriage in 1972. Patty and Paul welcomed their first child, Sean, in 1974 and their second child, Brian, in 1976. John Cochran, board chairman of the Erie Zoological Society took a liking to the Canadian young and made Paul, then only 25, the executive director of the Erie Zoological Society overseeing the Erie Zoo and the newly built, 3750 seat, Erie County Fieldhouse. Paul had no prior executive experience, nonetheless under his tutelage the Erie County Fieldhouse was a success bringing to Erie the top rock bands of the day and even a World championship boxing match. In 1982 “The Arena” in Binghamton, NY came calling and Paul accepted the challenge to operate a much larger venue. With seemingly boundless energy Paul coached his son’s travel hockey team and built and operated a roller skating rink, the Skate Estate in Vestal NY, expanding it to include a water slide and miniature golf course. The couple purchased a vacation home in the Finger Lakes near Ovid, NY. from which they hosted 4th of July family gatherings for the next 20 years. Seeking yet another challenge, Paul became the GM of the newly formed Augusta Lynx of the East Coast Hockey League, introducing ice hockey to the deep south. Then moving on as President of the Richmond Renegades. Finally in 2005 Paul decided to “settle down” by getting into the construction business, building and installing custom closets and ‘murphy beds’. Once again, no experience in an industry did not determine him and he acquired the Myrtle Beach franchise for “More Space Place”. Bringing his son Sean and wife Marianne into the business and adding a second location in Surfside Beach, SC the business thrives to this day. Patty and Paul finally retired in 2021, settling in Lakewood Ranch, FL near their son Brian, wife Laura and grandson Chase. He enjoyed his days golfing in the area, especially Lakewood National, and boating on Sarasota Bay.
From the early days of chopping wood through all the business successes and into retirement, one constant was Paul’s big personality, his love of and loyalty to his family, and his ability to always have a joke ready. His positive energy from him was infectious. Some people are blessed with those innate qualities. Paul was indeed blessed. And in the fullness of time, one’s life is best evaluated not by decades lived but of lives inspired and enriched. Those who were fortunate to know Paul Gamsby were blessed too.
The other surviving family members who will be gathering once again to celebrate this life well lived include: brothers in law Tom Sansone (Joni) from Erie, PA, Tim Sansone (Diane) from Vestal, NY; nephews, Jenna Hanke (Marty), Cara Hartley (Eric), Erin Scott, and nephew Drew Scott all from London, Ontario, Canada, nephews Maria Guthartz (Josh) from Marblehead MA, nephews Dominic Sansone (Jess) of Erie PA , and Jeremy Sansone of Vestal NY. Also survived by several great nieces and nephews and dear friend Frank Liebmann.
Services were held in Lakewood Ranch, FL. To share a memory, please visit www.RTSLWR.com. In lieu of flowers or other memorials, contributions can be made to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation; www.T2T.org.
Posted online on July 30, 2022
Published in Erie Times-News