Buda resident Oscar Gamboa died peacefully at home Tuesday, May 14, 2019. He was 81.
Born in Mexico, Gamboa met his wife Patricia on the campus of the Universidad de Mexico in Mexico City. They married in San Antonio on July 8, 1960. Shortly after, Gamboa enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served 20 years, including tours of duty in Alaska and Viet Nam. Gamboa was also stationed for four years in Germany, where he and Pat and their girls, Luisa and Alicia, traveled to every country within driving distance in Gamboa’s white Ford Galaxy.
Returning stateside, Gamboa became an instructor in the USAF Equal Employment Opportunity Training Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. After retiring from the Air Force, Gamboa worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Gamboa loved his career with NASA, where he recruited engineers for the agency, traveling to many universities in the U.S. and Latin America. He was particularly proud of recruiting outstanding candidates from minority groups and people with disabilities. Gamboa also delighted in Space Shuttle launches, where he chaperoned astronaut families and visiting dignitaries. He was there to witness history when Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, and mourned with the NASA family when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
After retiring from NASA, Gamboa and Pat moved to Buda to be closer to their grandchildren, and farther away from Florida hurricanes. Gamboa was active for many years at Buda United Methodist Church, where he served in the Food Pantry.
Gamboa loved people, animals and following his many interests – archery, competitive pistol and skeet shooting, golf, jewelry making and many others. He was a born entrepreneur, and loved buying and selling cars, swords, and watches. He gave to many charities and was always a friend to those in need. Above all, Gamboa was a devoted family man.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife Pat, daughter Luisa Collins, son-in-law Jim Collins, and grandsons James and Robert Collins of Buda, daughter Alicia Gamboa of Sebastian, Florida, brother Jose Gamboa, sister Dora Richardson of San Diego, California, and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Buda United Methodist Church Food Panty.