In memory of
Richard Allan Gamlen 1920 – 2016 After living a rich and full life Richard Allan "Al" Gamlen passed away peacefully at his home in Hillsborough on Saturday, October 8, 2016 surrounded by his family and loved ones. Allan was born on Vancouver Island, Canada on October 31, 1920, to Harry and Sarah Jane Gamlen; he was one of seven children. In 1930 the family moved to San Francisco where Allan's father started the family business -- Gamlen Chemical Company – that ultimately became the focus of Allan's professional life. Allan graduated from Polytechnic High School in San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley before serving in Europe during WWII. During the war Allan was a Master Sergeant in the US Army and fought in France, Belgium and Germany; he was decorated by the Belgian Government and US Army with the Croix de Guerre and Bronze Star medals for heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge. During the war Allan met the love of his life, Barbara McDermid, and they wed in 1947 after he returned home from the war. They initially settled in San Francisco and eventually moved to Hillsborough in 1963 where they lived the rest of their lives. They had two sons, Dennis and Tod, born in 1948 and 1951. After the war Allan returned to San Francisco to help lead Gamlen Chemical Company, eventually becoming its President and retiring in 1977. While Allan was there the company grew to a major international supplier of chemicals to the shipping industry; Allan traveled the world for the company, often with Barbara at his side. Allan was an exceptional golfer and a member of the California Golf Club since 1953 where he was President for 2 terms and served on various committees; he was "shooting his age" well into his 80's. He also served as Vice-Mayor of South San Francisco and was a Mason. While his accomplishments would make anyone proud, Allan was most proud of, and happy with, his four granddaughters and their spouses – Barbara Marie Gamlen, Julia Descalso (Daniel), Michelle Sullivan (Matthew) and Victoria; and, was blessed with great grand-daughter Emilia just before he passed away. Allan is survived by his two sons, daughter in law Marie Jose Gamlen, his granddaughters and great-granddaughter, sisters Josephine Ross and Elaine Foster, brother Curt Gamlen, and many nieces, nephews, and very dear friends. Special thanks to his amazing caretakers, Jessie and Becky, who were always there when Allan needed them. Allan's clever wit and genuine love for his family and friends will be forever missed. On Saturday October 29, 2016 a memorial service will be held at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in San Mateo at 11 AM to be followed by a celebration of his life at the California Golf Club. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to a favorite charity in his honor. Allan will be laid to rest at a private ceremony at Skylawn Memorial Park.
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