Gambles a long way from Frenship … even (kinda) in outter space

Jane teases Joe about how she must be twice as smart as him because she finished her college degree in half the time.

Joe describes Jane as “very lost without the computer” after a hurricane left their home in Friendswood without electricity for about 10 days last fall.

The Gambles banter back and forth about their life in Friendswood. The couple met in 1955 at Frenship High School, where they began dating.

Joe Gamble graduated in 1957, while Jane graduated in 1958. They got married in 1960, and will celebrate 50 years together next year.

After graduation, both attended Texas Tech. Jane got a bachelor’s degree in home economics education in just three years, while Joe took six years to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in civil engineering.

“He also has a master’s degree in public administration,” said Jane, adding the degree was earned from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
After college, Jane taught for about four years, and later worked for Lockheed Martin for 18 years.

Joe worked at NASA until he decided to retire several years ago. The couple planned to retire together in 2002, but Joe went back to work with Lockheed Martin, still working with NASA.

“I’m still enjoying my work,” said Joe. “Maybe two or three years, I’ll be ready to wind down completely.”

Currently Joe is working on the Orion Project with NASA, a project to build a crew exploration vehicle known as a CEV. The vehicle is first intended to be a rescue vehicle for a space station by 2014, and NASA hopes to use it as a vehicle to return to the surface of the moon by 2020. The first flight of the CEV is scheduled for December at White Sands, N.M.

“I’m one of the few people at NASA who worked on the original Apollo program,” said Joe. The Orion CEV has some design similarities, he said, so he sometimes finds himself reverting to old ideas.

As a retiree, Jane exercises regularly and does volunteer work.

In his spare time, Joe runs 35 miles a week and enjoys gardening on the Gambles’ one-acre lot.

Together, the couple is enjoying their first grandbaby, who is 20 months old and lives with her parents in Arlington.

“We have two boys, so it’s kind of neat to have a girl,” said Joe.

The Gambles also enjoy traveling. Each year, the couple tries to go overseas during the summer.

“Probably our favorite trip may have been the Mediterranean cruise we did a few years ago,” said Joe.

Jane said they also enjoyed the tour of Australia and New Zealand they once made, but then added, “In fact, we’ve enjoyed them all.”

This year, they are looking forward to a trip to Norway and Finland, with a five-day cruise down the coast of Norway “to see the fjords,” said Jane.

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