Luella M. (Garman) Gamber, 99, co-founder of Dutch Gold Honey Inc., passed away Thursday, July 3rd at the Mennonite Home.
She was married 66 years to the late W. Ralph Gamber, who passed away in September, 2001. Born in East Hempfield Township, she was the daughter of the late Reuben LeRoy and Mary Malehorn Garman.
Luella attended Hempfield High School, from which she graduated in 1932.
In 1946, Luella and her husband co-founded Dutch Gold Honey with a $27 investment in three beehives purchased at a farm sale. Luella, along with her husband and three children, took a hobby and built it into one of the largest independent honey processing companies in the world.
In 1957, Luella and Ralph were entertaining friends of theirs from California, who also packaged honey. The conversation began to focus on finding a unique package to distinguish their honey. Given the popularity of teddy bears, as well as other cartoon bears of the time, the idea of the squeezable, plastic honey bear was born. The first plastic bears did not have black eyes or noses. It was actually Luella and Ralph’s daughters, Marianne and Nancy who would hand paint the eyes and noses on the bears. Luella retired as CFO of Dutch Gold Honey, Inc. in 1991
Luella’s strong faith was an inspiration to her family and friends. She was a longtime member of Church of the Apostles, United Church of Christ in Lancaster.
She and her husband founded The Gamber Foundation, which supports local charities and nonprofit organizations and honeybee research and scholarships for children of Dutch Gold Honey employees.
Luella is survived by a son, William R. II, husband of Kitty Lou Himes Gamber, of Lancaster; two daughters, Marianne M., wife of Felix R. Cobian, and Nancy J., wife of Matthew S. Olcott, both of Lancaster; eight grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; and a sister Myrtle M. (Garman) Stockbauer.
Luella’s family would like to thank the staff and management at the Mennonite Home for the high level of attentiveness and sincere compassion that was shown to their family’s matriarch.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Service at Woodcrest Villa, Eagle Commons, 2001 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, PA on Monday July 14th at 11:00 AM with Chaplain Mim Cruz officiating. Friends may greet the family from 9:30 AM until the time of the service. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Mennonite Home Benevolent Fund, 1520 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601 or The Water Street Ministries, 210 S. Prince St., Lancaster, PA 17603.