December 29, 1926 – January 5, 2019
Interview with Richard McCumber (Gampy) Cahill January 3, 2014
When were you born? I was born December 29, 1926 in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Who raised you? My mother died after my sister Joan was born when I was 4 ½ years old. My father’s aunt, Jessie Hedges, never married. She took over when my mother (Elsie) died but I’ve always thought of her as my mother. My dad worked long hours and she raised us. I don’t remember ever talking to my great Aunt Jessie about salvation. We never had religious conversations but she thought religion was important so she would send us to church on Sunday even though she never went. She never went to a doctor. That doesn’t mean she never got sick. She didn’t die until we were all grown up. Her life was us kids. Mothers are really important in the family. My dad remarried 10 years later to Ethel Carey.
When did you get saved? I must have been 13 or 14 when I got saved. They were having a Billy Graham movie in Poughkeepsie, New York and when the invitation was given, I walked up and got saved. After that I continued to go to church and learned from the Bible all through high school.
How did you meet Gammy (Gene Carol Severance Cahill)? Gammy and I met in high school. We played in the orchestra together. I played the trumpet and Gammy played the viola. She was a year older than I am. Outside of the orchestra, she would have me help her with her algebra because she was not good with numbers. I helped her with that and we got to know each other.
The first thing I did after high school was join the Navy. I joined while I was still in high school. I went to New York for the interview having a letter in my pocket from my teacher asking if I could finish school first but I didn’t show it to anyone. I just enlisted. I figured I would not be able to pass my history test so I just joined the Navy so I wouldn’t have to take the test! I did graduate from high school though. Being in the Navy was very interesting. When you went in the Navy you started as a 3rd class trainee. You are the lowest seaman. Before I joined the Navy, they were training electronic technicians and if you passed the EDDY test you could join the Navy as a 1st class seaman. I received training my first year in Biloxi, Mississippi in radar operations and later worked on the Navy Pier in Chicago working on all the electronics in the ship. When I was assigned to a ship the captain really held electronic technicians in high regard. When the ship put in for repairs in California, the guys on the ship were chipping paint and I told my captain I should be down in the radio room. I never did chip paint! I kind of just got out of that! I slept on the top bunk while on board the ship. In the Navy I had a buddy and we would memorize Scripture verses in the chow line. I had buddies who went to Mexico to pick up girls while I was in California but I never did anything like that. I was sold out for God, a goody good shoes.
When did you and Gammy get married? While I was in the Navy, Gammy was working in Washington D.C. for the FBI as a finger printer. She is methodical and wanted to do everything perfectly but she couldn’t do it fast enough and they fired her. The family she was living with at the time knew someone in the Navy who got her a job as a private secretary for the Navy. She was able to do this because when she got out of high school she had gone to a junior college for secretarial training.
Gammy was working in New York when I got out of the Navy. She was living at home and I got in touch with her and we talked a little bit. She decided she didn’t want to marry me and her mother told her to reconsider. Her sister came and talked with me and had something to do with us getting back together. She changed her mind and we got married.
Your great-grandfather Severance, Gammy’s dad, was a salesman and he got me into sales. He taught me. He was a saver and he had a budget. I still have a budget today. He got me a job with a store that sells appliances. I worked all summer and had one sale. I sold a heater for their home, a furnace. My commission was $110. I was still in college. That’s how I paid for Gammy’s first wedding ring. I was super shy and when we would go to parties, I would just sit there and not say anything. I got over that eventually. The marriage vow says, you get married once and you stay married and that’s what we did. Three to four weeks ago, I made a decision that from now on I am going to love Gammy unconditionally. We are still Gammy and Gampy but over our whole relationship is the decision that I am going to love her unconditionally. Period. End of report. When we got married, we got married forever.
Did you ever go to college? When I was in high school, my dream was to go work for RCA and attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest engineering college in the country. Both of those things came true. I was always afraid I wasn’t smart enough to be accepted into college but with the help of the Navy I was able to go to a junior college for two years. The temporary junior college was created by the Navy to take care of all the service men. They hired retired professors to teach us. This was in Utica, New York. I was so shy that in college, I would never raise my hand to make a comment on anything but after that, I had no trouble transferring to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for my last two years. I didn’t get in through the front door but I got in the back door! I graduated in 1950.
While I was in college at RPI, Gammy and I lived in an apartment complex that was an abandoned army barracks. We were living with another couple in a house. Gammy had Pam when we were in college. It is cold there in the winter time and Gammy would get Pam all bundled up and would put the baby on the porch to get fresh air. Most of our other kids we had in New Brunswick, New Jersey. When I got out of the Navy, I wasn’t really out for good. I was just placed in the Reserves. I could be called back at any time. My first job was with Picker X-ray. I worked with them as a salesman for 6 months. I was hired because they figured they needed really technical people and so they hired all engineers. There was a letter from a congressman that exempted engineers from being recalled back into active duty. I was exempt because x-ray technicians were needed. A while later, I was offered my dream job of working for RCA. I was hired by RCA and five days after I began working for them, I was recalled back into the Navy.
I served a second time in Brooklyn, New York at the Navy Department warehouse for Used Equipment. I really had nothing to do there so I spent that year checking tubes and stuff to keep busy. I had the assignment of sending Morse code to the people in the Navy Reserve. I never learned Morse code well enough to type 30 words per minute but I would pound out the key and it would go to all the people in training. This was my second time in the Navy. I probably should have known they were going to recall me. RCA held my job for me during this time.
It was at RCA where I got over my shyness. At RCA we would have meetings and since I was in sales I would go to these meetings and never say anything. I hated those conferences. One day, I made a decision to go to this seminar/meeting and not be me. I decided, “I’m going to be the guy, that when they ask for comments, I will be the first to raise my hand to answer the questions.” And I did it! That broke the whole chain of my shyness. I talk more than Gene now, even today! It was a complete switch from being a shy kid.
I was laid off from RCA one time but they didn’t want to let me go so they tried to find me another job in RCA. They found a job for me in New York City with the international division. I was in the tube division (picture and radio tubes). I went to New York City for the interview and thought, “If I don’t take this job, I will be out.” I am thankful I got the job. At the time, I was traveling for work to Newark, New Jersey from New Brunswick where we lived and then I transferred to New York City. RCA was paying for my commute within New Jersey and I asked them to pay for my commute to New York city and I talked them into it before I even knew if I would get the job! I was a little gutsy on things like that.
For all those years, I was in sales. Our product was vacuum tubes. I worked for the tube division of RCA and my office was in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The guy who hired me was a maverick. He hired who he wanted. His name was Jim Owens. I worked for him a long time and then I got in the field, testing equipment. Jim was a different individual but I liked him. Later on, he left that job and became a field salesman where he was transferred to the job in Texas. I had the same job as him but his territory was Texas. At the same time that my job was being eliminated, Jim retired and so I took the opportunity and transferred to Texas taking over his job. We have lived in Colleyville since then. I worked at RCA for 36 years and then retired. I have been retired now for 30 years.
What do you do in your retirement? I was always interested in the stock market and in financial planning and that has become my ministry. I started by helping my kids with their finances and designing a good portfolio and it has grown into a financial counseling ministry. I designed a very basic, steady portfolio and I work with people and put their money in Vanguard. I spend a lot of time on that. My goal now is to get as many people trained so they can do their own financial planning. This is hard because most people don’t want to get involved in it. This is my gift, I guess.
I had a miracle of healing that occurred 5 or 6 years ago. I had fibromyalgia. I first got it when Gammy and I came back from a trip traveling up and down the Mississippi River on a boat. We came back to New Orleans and in the lobby of the hotel my fibromyalgia pains started. They lasted a couple of years. I would go to bed and would hurt all night. I prayed to God, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in this world.” God is greater than the devil. God is in me. I prayed that for a number of months and just like that the pain went away with prayer. God gave me a second miracle when I prayed for the fibromyalgia to go away. I was getting older and was beginning to get arthritis in my hands. The arthritis was getting worse but the arthritis all went away at the same time that my fibromyalgia went away.
What would you say to your grandchildren and great grandchildren as a legacy? The Bible says the Lord is the way, the truth and the life. The way is: salvation. That is the way we live and get born again. The truth is: the Bible is truth. The absolute truth. End of report. The life is: how you live it. How you live your life when you are a Christian. I want to share this with my grandchildren. My legacy is the work I have been doing with my children on finances. The Bible says: 1) you owe a tithe to God 2) give gloriously. You can’t out-give God. I have picked up that challenge and I have tried for the last 25 years, just for fun, to prove to myself that I can’t out-give God. We give generously to ministries and also to our grandchildren. I talked to someone in our church and asked if they tithe. They said they tried it for a month and it doesn’t work. You cannot out-give God. The more you give, the more you get. Give more! That is truth. The things in the Bible are true and God promises it and is faithful to His promises. It is sad that the average person doesn’t believe God for more than their salvation. I was teaching Bible a couple of years at our college. I taught the New Testament to my students who were all older people. Yet they didn’t know much about the Bible. That is pathetic. The Bible is the biggest selling book in the world and yet people don’t know about it!
- Visitation Saturday, January 12, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, January 12, 2019
- Committal Service Saturday, January 12, 2019
- Committal Service Saturday, January 12, 2019
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