INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Robert Ovid "Chip" D'Ambrosio, 68,, formerly of Exton, a retired lawyer, died of pulmonary fibrosis June 5 at home on Pawleys Island, S.C.
A native of South Philadelphia, Mr. D'Ambrosio graduated from La Salle College High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Villanova University, where he managed the basketball team. He was a big man on campus, his former wife, Mimi D'Ambrosio, said. The couple, who married in 1967 and divorced 10 years later, met at Villanova when she was a freshman and he was a senior and a member of the orientation committee. "He introduced himself, said he was God, and gave us his phone number. I wrote it down," she said.
After graduating, Mr. D'Ambrosio served in the Air Force in Ontario, Canada, and at McGuire Air Force Base, where he was a weapons controller. He later served in the Air Force Reserve, retiring in 1994 as a colonel.
Following his active military duty, Mr. D'Ambrosio earned a law degree from Villanova University. He was a partner in a law firm in West Chester for several years and then was a civilian lawyer for military contracts at McGuire Air Force Base. He also taught at a paralegal school on the Main Line.
While living in Exton in the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. D'Ambrosio acted in community theater with the Barley Sheaf Players in Lionville, which included roles in Babes in Toyland and Sweet Charity. He also appeared in the cable-TV soap opera General High School, produced by Marple Newtown High School. The series dealt with controversial topics, and in one episode about suicide, Mr. D'Ambrosio played a teenager's father.
In 1988 Mr. D'Ambrosio moved to San Antonio, Texas, to become a civilian lawyer for the Air Force. From 1994 until retiring in 1996, he was a lawyer for the Military Commissary System in Richmond, Va. He met Dottie D'Ambrosio in a church history class in Virginia. They married in 1998 and moved to South Carolina the next year.
Growing up on South Broad Street, Mr. D'Ambrosio watched the Mummers strut past his home every New Year's Day, and he remained a Mummers enthusiast, his wife said. He was an avid fan of Villanova sports and the Phillies, she said. He regularly read The Inquirer's sports stories online and corresponded with sports columnist Bill Lyon for several years.
"I looked forward to Chip's e-mails," said Lyon, who is retired. "They were eloquent and made a point. He wasn't interested in sports statistics; his comments were more philosophical."
Though he struggled with lung disease for more than a decade, Mr. D'Ambrosio never lost his sense of humor, his wife said, and was cracking jokes to the end.
Besides his wife, he is survived by stepsons Steven and Michael Modesto; a stepdaughter, Karin DeAngelis; four grandchildren; and cousins. His former wife also survives.
A memorial service will be held Aug. 1 at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church on Pawleys Island. Mr. D'Ambrosio was a member of the church choir.