Neal R. Gamsky, of Appleton; educator, mentor, sportsman, veteran, gardener, husband, father, and grandfather died on Saturday, July 31, 2021. He was born in 1931 in Menasha to the late Lillian Gamsky and the late Andrew “A.P.” Gamsky. He married Irene Jimos on August 16, 1956. She survives.
Dr. Gamsky obtained three degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison: a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1954, Masters of Science in Counseling in 1959 and his PhD in Counseling and Clinical Psychology in 1965.
Dr. Gamsky was formerly a counselor at Roosevelt Jr. High School in Appleton; Manager of Claims and Accident Department at Prudential Insurance Company in Minneapolis, MN; Director of Educational services at the University of Wisconsin Diagnostic Center in Madison, and following that, a director of Research and Personnel at the cooperative Education Service Agency in Waupun with an adjunct professorship at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In 1970, Dr. Gamsky came to Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois as an associate professor of psychology with a mandate to develop a counseling center. At Illinois State University, he earned tenure in the psychology department in 1974 and the following year became a full professor and a member of the graduate faculty. Dr. Gamsky authored and co-authored over twenty-four articles which were published in major educational and psychological professional publications as well as a monograph and co-authored a textbook on counseling.
Dr. Gamsky served as the first director of the Illinois State University Counseling Center from 1970-1974. During this time, the ISU Counseling Center became one of the largest, most comprehensive counseling centers in the country and was nationally recognized for the quality of its staff, programs, and research. It also became a model for other university counseling centers to emulate.
In 1974, he was appointed as the permanent Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. Following his retirement in 1991, the Department of Educational Administration and Foundation appointed him to create a master’s level program in College Student Personnel Administration.
Dr. Gamsky was a member and had certification in a number of educational and professional organizations and was a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin and Illinois. He served during the Korean Conflict War as director of the legal section in the U.S. Army in Munich, Germany from 1954-1956. He was a member of the ISU Annuitants and Bloomington-Normal Young Men’s Club. He was recognized as a leader in education, was in Who’s Who in the U.S., the Dictionary of International Biographies, Distinguished Personalities of the Midwest, and received a Who’s Who lifetime achievement award.
He served on several community service boards and was the President of the Resident’s Council at Touchmark Retirement Community Facility in Appleton and the Vice President and Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee at the Lake Forest Resort and Club in Eagle River.
The Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life Award was established by Dr. Gamsky to recognize professional staff contributions to the quality of student life and the Illinois State University campus environment. The award is presented each year. He also was co-founder and sponsor of the Annual Student Counseling Center Program and Research Initiative award.
In 2004, Dr. Gamsky established the Dr. Neal R. Gamsky Endowed Assistantship in College Student Personnel Administration in the Educational Administration and Foundation Department at Illinois State University. The assistantship is promoted nationally, and the recipient is competitively selected based upon academic performance, demonstrated leadership in co-curricular activities/organizations as an undergraduate, and commitment to and potential for success in Student Affairs. The endowment supports funding for an assistantship for an outstanding first year master’s degree student in College Student Personnel program. The recipient has the honor and distinction of being named a Gamsky Fellow.
Dr. Gamsky was a member of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria and a founder of the Bloomington-Normal Orthodox Church of America Mission in Normal, Illinois, a Board Member of St. Nicholas Orthodox church in Appleton, and a Board member of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Fond Du Lac.
Survivors, in addition to his wife include: two daughters, Elizabeth Rich of Plymouth and Patricia of Greenville, North Carolina; special niece Molly Endter and her children Kate, Cassie, and Evie of Appleton; and grandchildren: Jacob, Josie and Angelica; and other nieces, nephews and cousins.
Dr. Gamsky and his wife traveled extensively to more than 50 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand. They also traveled to all fifty United States with a special focus on historical sites including all U.S. Presidential homes, birthplaces and libraries.
Dr. Gamsky was an avid gardener and found much satisfaction in landscaping to develop a beautiful outdoor space.
He was a worldwide sport fisherman and receive several master angler and other awards. He met his personal goal of catching a variety of trophy fish such as marlin, sailfish, tarpon, northern pike, walleye, bass and other species. He also loved to play tennis with his friends.
He had much joy in his role as a cherished grandfather and sharing his stories with grandchildren. Special joy was derived from planning “adventures” and fun experiences for his grandchildren who knew him as their “Papou”. He regarded among his most treasured events seeing both of his daughters graduate from college and obtain graduate school degrees.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers James and Don; parents-in-law Andrew and Georgia Jimos; son-in-law Jeffrey Rich; grandson Andrew Rich and infant grandson James Christopher Rich.
The funeral service for Dr. Gamsky will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at Brettschneider Trettin Nickel Funeral Chapel, 606 N Oneida Street, Appleton. Friends may visit from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service. Interment will take place at Highland Memorial Park in Appleton.
The family requests no flowers. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life Award at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.
A memorial service for Dr. Gamsky will take place in Bloomington, Illinois at a later date per his wishes.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Neal R. Gamsky, please visit our tribute store.