Born in Cincinnati in 1922, James Gamble was the youngest child of Cecil and Louise Gamble and the great-grandson of James Gamble, the founder of Procter and Gamble. He attended the Lotspeich School in Cincinnati, the Choate School, Princeton University, and Harvard Business School. He served in World War II as a member of the US Army during the Battle of the Bulge, earning a Bronze Star and the rank of Captain. In 1946, he married Harriet Seaton, and in 1948, they moved to Pasadena. In 1956, he established the investment counsel firm that became Gamble Jones Investment Counseling.
Raised in a tradition of social responsibility, Gamble served on numerous boards and was instrumental in the growth and development of a number of institutions and organizations, among them Huntington Hospital, Northern Michigan Hospitals, etc. In the early 60’s, after serving as the chair of the Pasadena Community Chest, Gamble saw a need for a new model of community giving and founded PARAID, a donor-directed fund and one of the first of its type.
In 1998, Gamble founded the Ayrshire Foundation along with his two daughters and their husbands and his second wife, Helen. The name “Ayrshire” hearkens back to the Gamble family’s origins in Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1819, George Gamble left Enniskillen, Ireland and brought his family to America, among them the young James Gamble who went on to found Procter and Gamble with his brother-in-law, William Procter. The family prospered and grew along several branches.
In 1906, James’s son David and his wife Mary, who had built a summer home on the shores of lake Michigan in 1890, moved from Ohio to Pasadena, California where they built a home designed by Henry and Charles Greene. Sixty years later, their grandson, James Neare Gamble, along with his brothers and sisters, gifted the historic home to the City of Pasadena and the University of Southern California. The Gamble House is now a national historic site and has been visited and enjoyed by nearly a million people.
Jim Gamble deeply relished being involved in his communities – particularly those of Pasadena and Northern Michigan. He was fond of saying that his wealth was “an accident of birth” and that it was his responsibility to be generous – not only with his financial resources, but with his time and talent. Over the years, he inspired his family and those with whom he worked with his passion and wisdom, creating a legacy of enthusiastic participation that lives on through the Ayrshire Foundation, his family, and those whose lives he touched.
Boards James Gamble Served On
- Hollenbeck Home
- Huntington Hospital
- Monte Vista Grove
- Northern Michigan Hospital
- Pasadena Comm Foundation
- Pasadena YMCA
- Polytechnic School
- Scripps College
- Southern California Healthcare
- Westridge School