WARWICK, RI (March 9, 2021) – The following is a message from Fr. Marciano ’75 and Mr. DeCiccio ’03 on the passing of Director of Campus Ministry emeritus, Mr. Thomas Gambardella ’76, P’03, ’04, ’09:
Dear Bishop Hendricken family,
Today is an incredibly sad day for Bishop Hendricken High School. It is with profound sadness and deep regret that we share with our Bishop Hendricken community the passing of Mr. Tom Gambardella ’76, a deeply beloved member of our staff, heart of our Campus Ministry program, proud alumnus of our school, and avid lover of all things Bishop Hendricken. Mr. G passed away early this morning in the comfort of his home and surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Jo Gambardella, a retired member of our Theology and Arts departments, and four children: Mrs. Regina Connolly, Director of Library Services and member of our English faculty; Michael J. Gambardella ’03; Matthew J. Gambardella ’04; and Mark T. Gambardella ’09. He is also survived by his brothers, Vincent J. Gambardella ’73 and Robert C. Gambardella ’78.
Mr. G graduated from Bishop Hendricken in 1976. The Gambardella family, especially Mr. G’s parents, were instrumental in the fight to keep Bishop Hendricken open in the early 1970’s. Directly from Bishop Hendricken, Mr. G trained as a Christian Brother during his time at Iona College before being called to married life and meeting his wife, Mrs. G. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1980.
Mr. G first joined the Bishop Hendricken faculty in 2002 as a freshman Theology teacher. Shortly thereafter, he became Director of Christian Service. In 2008, Mr. G became Director of Campus Ministry until June 2020. As Director, Mr. G was integral in cultivating initiatives like the Hunger Walk; mission trips to Peru, Texas, Florida, New Orleans, and Maine; the Taking Flight orientation and Freshman Mass of Welcome; class and faculty retreats; prayer services and school Masses; graduation exercises; and honors and awards nights.
Mr. G dedicated his life to Catholic education and was passionate about Christian Brother education. At Bishop Hendricken, he developed a comprehensive curriculum along with Mr. Mancuso centered on the Essential Elements of Blessed Edmund Rice with emphases on working in service of the poor, marginalized, and voiceless. Following his retirement from Bishop Hendricken last spring, Mr. G began working as the Associate Director for the Office of Educational Services for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers of North America.
While his resume and list of accolades are incredibly long, Mr. G’s mission was simple: to bring people together and closer to God. From fist bumps in the hallways to hosting “First Fridays” for faculty and staff, Mr. G’s goal was to evangelize by building community and showing people their value. Many times, this evangelization extended to his own home, hosting faculty and staff for barbecues and parties. Throughout his career, Mr. G had an “open door policy” in his Campus Ministry office that meant anyone could stop by at anytime to talk about anything.
In difficult times such as this, Mr. G was often the one comforting us. At this time, and in his spirit, we ask our community for prayers of comfort and strength for the Gambardella family and each other. We will provide further updates on services and arrangements for our community as they become available. All condolences and messages from the Bishop Hendricken community should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded to the Gambardella family.
This afternoon, Fr. Brian Morris ’03 will host a prayer service in honor of Mr. G at 2pm. The service will be livestreamed for our school community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BeAHendrickenHawk) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/c/BishopHendrickenHighSchoolHawks/live).
Additionally, we want to remind students, faculty, and staff that we’re here to support them. Beginning this morning, we have resources available immediately on campus for those who may need to talk, including Mrs. Laura Zaniol, LICSW, School Social Worker; Fr. Brian ’03, Chaplain; Fr. Christopher Murphy, former Chaplain; school administration; and all of our school guidance counselors.
In the words of Mr. G, “We’ll see you later, handsome.” May he rest in the peace of eternal life.
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us! Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever!