Judge Dave Gamble's retirement party on Friday resembled one of his court sessions: Lots of straight talk, humor, compassion and a bit of faith.More than 300 people crowded into the Shannon Ballroom at Carson Valley Inn to pay honor to Gamble, 62, who is retiring Jan. 6 after more than 25 years as Douglas County district court judge, the longest sitting judge in the state.Gamble's son, Mark McKinnon, served as master of ceremonies, and introduced a parade of attorneys, former law clerks, family members, judges and friends who good-naturedly “roasted” Gamble for more than three hours.“If there is anybody that can be a judge, it's Dave Gamble. It's my dad,” McKinnon said. “He tells you in a way that is loving, and kind and perfect, even if you don't want to hear it.”Judge Michael Gibbons, who has worked with Gamble since 1995, kicked off the tributes.“This is an amazing crowd,” he said. “It's an honor to be here. For people to make it here from Las Vegas, is a testament to what kind of judge he is.”Gibbons said it was a time of melancholy.“I am sad to see you go,” he said.He said Gamble was one of the most honest, ethical and brightest people with whom he ever worked.Gibbons credited Gamble with having a hand in the creation of the Court-Appointed Special Advocates program, mediation in child custody cases, juvenile detention center, Aurora Pines detention facility for juvenile girls, and City of Refuge for pregnant teenagers and women.“What do these five programs have in common? A passion for children,” Gibbons said.
Kristin McQueary, chief civil Elko County deputy district attorney, represented Gamble's law clerks. She worked for Gamble from August 1990-May 1992.“I still have something to learn from Dave to this day,” she said. McQueary said she's met people all over the state who know Gamble, including an acquaintance in Elko who knew him in junior high school.“Dave Gamble put his money and his time where his mouth is,” she said, referring to Gamble's effort, along with his wife Diane, in creating City of Refuge more than 20 years ago.“He is a devoted Christian man, committed to the Bible. What Dave is about is wrapped up in serving the Lord and serving the people,” Grace Community Church Pastor Brian Borgman said in a letter read during the evening.When it was Gamble's turn, he used the stage to thank the dozens and dozens of people who have influenced his life and helped along the way.When he graduated from law school, Gamble said he wasn't sure he wanted to be an attorney, let alone a judge.“That was a miracle, not only that I got this job, but got to keep it,” he said. “It's truly astonishing when a person gets what they're supposed to do for a career. That is a glorious thing. I don't ever remember not wanting to go to work. I am overwhelmed, thankful and amazed.”Gamble saved final appreciation for his wife Diane.“Thank you, honey, for this time we put in together,” he said. The Gambles celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary.“It's overwhelming to me,” Diane Gamble said in an interview. “It makes me almost want to cry this many people would think so much of Dave.”Diane said she was looking forward to her husband's retirement.“I got to grow up with my best friend,” she said. “Now we are planning more best-friend things to do.”Guests included Nevada Supreme Court justices, district court judges, senior judges, lawyers, court staff, elected officials, former employees, family and friends. Julie Krom Towler served as a law clerk from August 2007 to May 2008.“It was wonderful,” she said. “He's a great judge. He is really great to talk to and to learn from. He provided me with invaluable experience.”Towler works as a deputy attorney general representing the departments of motor vehicles and public safety.“I came because I wanted to celebrate his retirement. I am sorry he's off the bench,” she said.State parole and probation specialist Anna Martin worked in Gamble's court for seven years.“It was great. I have so much respect for him,” she said. “He is very fair. He took a parental role with those in front of him, and he cared about them, no matter who they were or what they'd done. I am here to celebrate his retirement and wish him well.”Joan Wilder worked as a court reporter for 15 years.“He was wonderful, very kind, considerate and respectful,” she said. “He always stood up for me. You knew he was in your corner. He is an extremely fine person and it was an honor to work for him.”On Tuesday, a judicial selection committee interviewed seven attorneys for Gamble's job. They include:-- Mark Jackson, 49, Gardnerville, Douglas County district attorney;-- James R. Hales, 53, Minden;-- Tod Young, 54, Minden;-- Caren Cafferata-Jenkins, 54, Carson City, Nevada Commission on Ethics;-- Mark J. Lenz, 61, Reno, Piscevich & Fenner;-- Marc P. Picker, 55, Reno, Marc Picker, Esq;-- Gina C. Session, 54, Carson City, Office of the Attorney General.Gov. Brian Sandoval will name the replacement from the top three finalists recommended by the Supreme Court. The new judge will serve the last two years of Gamble's term, and must run for re-election in 2014.