Patricia McLean photo
Patricia McLean photo
Imero Gobbato, a resident of Camden for 45 years, died peacefully at Penobscot Bay Medical Center on July 6 at 2:30 p.m. embraced within the love of a few close friends and the hearts of many.

Imero was born in Milan, Italy, the son of a prominent textile merchant. He studied art in Milan and Venice and graduated Master of Art at the Art Institute of Venice. To escape the chaos following World War II, he moved to Argentina where he began his artistic career as illustrator for a local publication. Deciding to return to Italy, he boarded ship and during a brief stop in New York City, attended a party where he was introduced to Josette Ardouin, a statuesque California, blonde who stole his heart and changed his life. Although fluent in Spanish, Italian and French, "yes", "no" and "coffee and apple pie" being the extent of his mastery of the English language, within two weeks and the language of love, Imero and Josette exchanged vows and remained together for 52 years until her death in 2003. It was a circuitous route they traveled from New York City; living in Florida, California, Italy and back again to New York. During those years, always pursuing his own art and music, Imero became a naval architect and designed yachts, and eventually worked as a children's book illustrator for several publishing houses.

In 1965 the Gobbatos found their home and settled in an old house facing the harbor in Camden, Maine. It was here that Imero was commissioned to design and build the ketch, The Angelique. He was also painting his richly imaginative canvases, carving reliefs and making prints, and beginning to exhibit his work at local galleries. When he was introduced to Tom O'Donovan and Harbor Square Gallery, then on Bayview Street, a long and successful relationship began.

Imero was a man of many interests and accomplishments. A self-taught musician, he composed many pieces of music and was fluent on many musical instruments including the piano, guitar, violin, recorder and accordion. His unrelenting pursuit of self-expression flourished in the arts and in his compassion for all. Always ready with a kind word or bit of humor, a supportive shoulder or patient ear, he opened his heart to anyone in need.

Imero possessed a passion for knowledge, philosophy and life. The driving force, the imaginary, utopian land of peace and harmony, his beloved Humbravana, was present all throughout his life. Sprouted from childhood and developed and nurtured for over 86 years, it was here where he found solace from the trials and struggles of this world. Humbravana was his haven, the focus of his most personal creative endeavors.

Coined a 'Renaissance Man', Imero Gobbato has left behind not only the legacy of an expansive body of art and music, but a legacy of love which will live on in the hearts of those who have been fortunate enough to have crossed his life's path.

He is survived by his brother, Armando Gobbato, a niece, Olivia Lorthiois, a nephew, Eugenio Gobbato and their respective families, all who live in Guatemala.

An open house celebration of Imero Gobbato's life will be held at Harbor Square Gallery at the Main Street and Winter Street Locations in Rockland, on Sunday afternoon, July 18, from noon to 4 p.m. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.