Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helen Carroll
Theymet in Lincoln, Neb., where he was stationed at Lincoln Air Force Baseafter just returning from Korea. "I arrived in Lincoln in late Octoberof 1954. I remember because I had saved up my money and bought a brandnew, used Cadillac in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wis., and drove it tomy new assignment," says Gaedke.
Itwas there that he met his future bride, Phyllis. Gaedke and his friendwere driving by Safeway one cold November day when his friend spotted aset of twins he was acquainted with. "I know those girls," said thefriend. "Let's stop and see if we can give them a lift."
Needlessto say, the young ladies were happy to have a ride home, and uponarriving, asked Gaedke and his friend in. It was there he met Phyllis.Phyllis was a roommate to the twins, and was ironing with her hair incurlers when they met. "I just couldn't see past the curlers forawhile," Gaedke says of his first meeting with Phyllis.
Phyllisbegan leaving him notes on his car and Gaedke eventually asked her out.When he arrived to pick her up for an evening of dinner and dancing atThe Italian Village restaurant, she was dressed in a black evening gownwith her long blond hair perfectly fixed. Even as he retells the story,the image of her at that moment seems to take his breath away. "She wasgorgeous. We were married six months later."
The marriage ceremony took place in St. Teresa's Catholic Church in Lincoln on May 28, 1955. Their daughter was born in September of 1956. They named her Teresa, after the church they were married in. Their son, Jeffrey, was born in January of 1962 in Belleville, Ill.
Throughthe years, Gaedke enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in the military.He retired in 1979 from Cannon Air Force Base where he was Wing SeniorEnlisted Advisor. He was responsible for the quality of life of allenlisted personnel on base.
Afterretirement from the Air Force, Gaedke taught Jr. ROTC at Clovis HighSchool. "I intended to stay only five years, but wanted to see some ofmy students graduated, so I wound up staying seven instead. I had tosacrifice nine months worth of the G.I. Bill, but the kids were worthit."
Gaedke began attending ENMUin 1986 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor of science insocial studies with a minor in health. He continued at Eastern to earnhis master's degree and then stayed to teach education foundations, acore class in the Teacher Education program.
Phyllishas had quite a career as well. She retired after 28 years of CivilService, working as Chief of Systems Management. She was also on theUnited States Air Force Systems Management inspection team, whichtraveled to other Air Force Bases to inspect their data systems.
Whenasked the key to their long and happy marriage, Gaedke replies withouthesitation, "Mutual admiration and appreciation, being a good listener,and holding hands a lot; also, valuing the other person's achievementsin their separate lives."
Gaedkesays his wife's best quality is her patience. "She has been incrediblypatient and supportive of me. Her thoughtfulness, concern and lovingattitude have made me feel very special."