John F. Gambs, 73, of Covington Georgia died peacefully in his home on September 24, 2017 after an eleven-year battle with lymphoma. Professionally, John was a psychologist, but he was also a country song writer, avid golfer, and baseball enthusiast.
After many years of helping people with mental health and addiction issues, John took a dramatic career turn in 1990 and started a sports-related business, Southeast Golf Ball Recovery. In 2002, he founded the East Metro Baseball League, a non-profit recreational organization for adults. In 2016, he was inducted into the Men’s Senior Baseball League Hall of Fame. As a songwriter, John won awards in numerous competitions and had his songs recorded by several independent artists.
After thirty years together, John and his wife Marie were sometimes told they seemed like newlyweds. He was the love of her life, and she will miss him terribly, as will his loving family and his many friends. His loss will be especially felt by his grandchildren, Mallie, Alex, Camille, and Zachary, as well as his stepdaughter and son-in-law, Katherine and Steve Hoover and his brother-in-law Michael McIntyre.
A Message from John’s wife Marie…
“As most of you probably know, my husband, John Gambs, Commissioner of the EMBL, passed away on Sunday, September 24. After playing in the Atlanta MSBL for several years, John started the EMBL in 2003 in Covington in order to make baseball more available to players on the east side.
On behalf of both John and myself, I would like to express extreme gratitude to Willie Rogers, J.T. Parrott, and Vince McGrath for keeping the league running during John’s illness and finishing out the season. I would also like to thank everyone who sent texts and emails before John passed away. I did read them to him, and he was very touched. I wish I could have responded to everyone individually, but there simply wasn’t enough time.
Having watched John run this league for fifteen years, I can tell you that he was completely dedicated to making adult baseball enjoyable, accessible, competitive, and as professional as possible. In addition to serving as Commissioner, John was at various times a player, a manager, and a starter of new teams. The EMBL brought great joy to his life.
John was originally diagnosed with a very aggressive lymphoma in 2006, so we were extremely fortunate to have eleven more wonderful years to enjoy our life together. However, this year we finally ran out of treatments, and the cancer returned. As many of you know, John and I have always been a very close couple. He was the love of my life, and I miss him terribly.
As for the future, John’s hope was that people would pick up where he left off and allow the league to continue. I know that others share this wish, so hopefully that will occur.
To all the managers and players who have been a part of this league, thank you for your contribution to a very important part of my husband’s life. He greatly appreciated all of you.” – Marie
Added friend Pete Thorne, “I’ve met a number of guys who would say that winning was secondary to just being able to play the game, but I know I never met anyone who meant it like John Gambs did. John’s sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie were second to none in my experience. He and his lovely wife Marie were true ambassadors for the game and even more so for adult baseball. One of a kind. John Gambs lived and truly sustained the ethic that adult baseball is supposed to carry. He will be missed.”