Diane Gamble was celebrated in Scripture and song Wednesday by 700 mourners who crowded Grace Community Church to say farewell to the City of Refuge co-founder.
She died of a pulmonary embolism on March 17 at age 61.
Guests at the memorial ranged from children who knew ‘Diny’ as the church “candy lady,” mothers and babies who thrived under her care at City of Refuge, and friends and colleagues from her years at KNIS Pilgrim Radio and her husband, Dave Gamble’s, legal career.
Speaker after speaker extolled her faith and loyalty to her friends and family.
The crowd filled the church on Heybourne Road to overflowing.
“It was an amazing experience,” Dave Gamble said after the service. “There are a few times in life when we see Christ’s love and grace on display, and today was one. I know what Diny’s hope for today would have been, and her hope was fulfilled in the singing, in the Word of God preached, and in the wonderful display of the kids’ love for her. I know she would want people who don’t yet belong to Christ to seriously consider his claims and his promises. She would tell you...and probably has told many of those in attendance today, that Jesus has never turned away anyone who comes to Him in simple child-like faith and asks for His forgiveness and for Grace to believe.”
Diane’s custom-painted purple metallic flake casket took center stage, reflecting the atmosphere of celebration the family requested.
Wearing a purple sweater, green tie and yellow shirt, Pilgrim program director Bill Feltner said that the word “joy” characterized Diane’s life and demeanor.
He said he knew the moment she came to work at the radio station — even if he was wearing headphones — because he could hear the laughter she engendered begin at the door and work its way through the office.
Whether she was hosting a children’s program, or debating religious themes, “God truly gave Diane the gift of gab. She was eloquent, quick-witted, always cheerful, encouraging and compassionate,” Feltner said.
Janet Mello, who said her friendship dated to their days when they sold advertising for The Record-Courier in the 1980s, called Diane her best friend.
“I was over-the-moon in love with that girl. Nobody could resist that laugh,” Mello said.
She addressed Dave Gamble, their children and grandchildren, speaking of Diane’s deep love for her family.
“We all knew this day would come eventually, but we thought we had 20 or 30 more years to prepare for it,” Mello said.
Zach Borgman, son of Pastor Brian Borgman, said Diane had been part of their family for as long as he could remember.
“She was a little bitter, because Dave was ‘Uncle Dave,’ and we called her ‘Grammy G,’” he said to a chorus of laughter.
He wore a pair of what he called “highlighter yellow” tennis shoes that were a gift from Diane after she declared his favorite pair of shoes too worn out for church.
Brian Borgman invited current and former residents or associates of City of Refuge to stand and be recognized. Dozens rose from their chairs, some holding babies and toddlers they brought to celebrate Diane’s life.
The Gambles opened City of Refuge nearly 25 years ago to provide a safe environment where women could live for free while they awaited the births of their children.
“There are many babies alive and happy today because of the work of Diane Gamble,” Borgman said.
Ashly Brown, who lived at City of Refuge, said Diane made every girl feel special.
“People were just naturally drawn to ‘Diny.’ She influenced me to be a better person. Do not be sad Diny is gone. Rejoice she is singing with the angels,” Brown said.
Pastor Borgman said despite her work at City of Refuge, and her love and support for her family, “the most important event in Diane’s life was her radical conversion to Jesus Christ. Jesus gave her purpose and direction. If Diane could talk to us today, she would tell us Jesus was the most important person in her life and the most defining moment was her coming to know him.
“Diane knew joy in the forgiveness of her sins. She knew joy in the reading of her Bible, and hearing from God. She knew joy in sharing her joy with others. Freely she had received, and freely she gave. She had a boldness in speaking God’s words to others. Diane knows fullness of joy she has never known before.”
Following the memorial, guests were invited to write notes on her casket.
Young and old used silver markers to send their wishes.
“Diny. You gave me so much and you would always spend time with me, and I remember the time that you carried me to my house when I broke my leg. I love you and you will always be in my heart. With love, Grace.”
“I can’t wait to see you in heaven. Love, Emily.”
“You were like a grandma to me. Love you so much, Katherine.”
“I could strive to be only half the person you were. I love you. Anna.”
“I’m gonna miss you. The kids now don’t realize how awesome it is that you brought candy for years.”
Following the service and a reception at the church, she was buried in Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City.
“Last Monday (March 17), heaven received one heck of a person,” Zach Borgman said. “I can imagine her now wearing some crazy, colorful outfit and a wild pair of socks, singing with the angels.”
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City of Refuge
In lieu of flowers, the Gamble family asks that donations be made in Diane’s memory to City of Refuge, PO Box 2663, Gardnerville, NV 89410.
Grace Community Church has a blog where visitors are invited to leave remembrances of Diane Gamble. It is: