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  Home > All Memorials > Ciro A. Gamboni

Memorial for Ciro A. Gamboni

Born in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 16, 1940
Departed on Apr. 23, 2017 and resided in Short Hills, NJ.
Service: Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2017
12 pm - 12:30 pm
Shiva: Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017
1:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Cemetery: Chapels at Short Hills St. Stephen's Cemetery
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

When Ciro A. Gamboni read the GI bill as a young military lawyer, he saw something others didn't: a loophole.

Serving in the Judge Advocate General's office of the U.S. Army in the 1960s just after graduating law school from New York University, Mr. Gamboni was eager to continue furthering his education. Most people at the time interpreted the GI Bill – which helps provide educational assistance to service members – as offering aid after the completion of one's military service. As Mr. Gamboni read it, the government would pay one's tuition after two years of active service. He saw nothing that precluded him from obtaining a degree while simultaneously serving in the Army. He made his case, and won.

In 1969, he graduated from Georgetown Law School with his Masters of Law in taxation, the first to do so while also on active duty.

Mr. Gamboni, whose law career spanned more than 50 years and ultimately led him into the complex world of international transactions as a partners and senior counsel for Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, died April 23, 2017. He was 76.

Friends and family members recalled him as a reserved man with an outspoken spirit of generosity. Though Mr. Gamboni grew up without material wealth, his family said, his never-ending quest for self-improvement drove him to devour volumes of history and literature, become an expert in fine wines and rise to international prominence in his field.

"My father was a big man, who led a big life," his daughter Dina Gamboni recalled. "To me, my dad was larger than life."

Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to a working-class family, Mr. Gamboni graduated at the top of his class from Baruch College, City University of New York and was offered a scholarship to attend New York University School of Law. He was elected to the prestigious NYU Law Review, and won $1, 000 and a national prize for an article: Unfair Competition Under Sears and Compco.

"That was a huge amount of money then," recalled his wife, Gail Gamboni.

Mr. Gamboni later left a large bequest to NYU so that others might have access to the opportunities his scholarship afforded him. "He said if not for NYU, he wouldn't be where he was," Mrs. Gamboni said.

The two had met while she was still in high school, and were set up on a blind date by mutual friends. Mrs. Gamboni joked that her friends failed to mention she lived more than an hour away in Yonkers, N.Y.

"By the time (Ciro) got to the Battery Tunnel he said, 'I'm never coming back here again!'" she recalled. But he did, repeatedly, and the two wed in August 1965.

An ROTC member in college, Mr. Gamboni deferred service to complete his law degree. After graduating NYU with a Bachelor of Laws, he was hired by the Manhattan-based Cahill law firm, but soon took a leave to report for active duty.

The couple moved to Arlington, Va., and Mr. Gamboni served from 1966 to 1969 at the Pentagon in the military affairs division of the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army. There he rose to the rank of captain while earning his LLM in taxation from Georgetown University.

Mr. Gamboni returned to New York to resume his position with Cahill in 1969, and the family eventually moved to New Jersey. Their daughter, Dina, was born in 1971 and son Lee was born in 1974. Mr. Gamboni became a partner in 1974 and retired as senior counsel in 2016.

According to his firm Mr. Gamboni played a key role in structuring transactions for Bermuda insurance and reinsurance companies, and served as a critical tax advisor to multinational clients in the pharmaceutical, technology and financial sectors. He also worked closely with tax advisors around the world from Ireland to Bermuda to develop what his firm described as "innovative and highly tax-advantaged structures."

Throughout his life, Mr. Gamboni was active in promoting the theater, helping to fund several organizations and serving on the boards of the Circle Reparatory Company and the Mint Theater, both in New York. His goal, family members said, was to promote the arts and help make theater more accessible.

He also was an avid history buff, with a vast library of books on everything from Russian czars to World War II.

"He studied each one serially," Mrs. Gamboni said. "It was Russia for a while, and then it was English history. I think he's read every book ever written on Winston Churchill." On trips, Mrs. Gamboni recalled, he'd often surprise guides by knowing more than they did.

Normally, though, he was a man of few words. Yet as longtime friend Leonard Baum put it, "his sparse words camouflaged a large and loving heart."

Mr. Baum recalled the days when the two were law students together subsisting on "Campbell soup and sandwiches." Years later they enjoyed the fine wines of which Mr. Gamboni was a connoisseur.

During a visit a few weeks before he died, Mr. Gamboni brought out a 1990 Cheval Blanc, one of France's finest Bordeaux, to accompany a meal of bagels and lox. Mr. Baum protested that the bottle should be saved, and his friend's droll and generous wit kicked in.

"Fully cognizant of the situation he was facing, Ciro smiled and said, 'for what?'" Baum said. And for good measure, he added, "as God is my witness" the Bordeaux went wonderfully with the deli spread.

His daughter Dina said the things that gave her father the most joy could not be bought.

"My father was a person who knew how to appreciate what life has to offer – certainly the finer things like wine and crystal, antique clocks, Shakespeare and Russian literature… but he also always loved a delicious Napoleon, a 7 layer cake, a rosebush. British soap operas. A grandchild reading aloud from a book, running through the sprinkler, tumbling and skating, catching frogs in his gorgeous backyard. A daughter getting published and seeing the world, a son raising a family, growing a garden from seed and crafting a wine cellar from the ground up, all in his honor.

"These are the things my father most relished, which gave him the most enjoyment, the most pride, in his quiet, stoic way," she said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Gamboni is survived by his son Lee; sisters Mary Celentano and Kathy Ruggiero; brother John; and two grandchildren.

A donation in his memory can be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research or to the NYU School of Law.


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