Edward Louis Gake
Edward Louis Gake was born on Nov. 7, 1922 to Mary Kowalski. He was raised by his grandparents on Jefferson Ave., Waukesha, in the proximity of many uncles, aunts and cousins.
As a child of 12 he learned resourcefulness, delivering newspapers and groceries and even driving his uncles on special occasions. He enjoyed swimming with friends in the quarry, fishing and building forts. Eddie’s worldly education came early from men in hobo camps, sharing a pot of slumgullion stew and telling fascinating stories.
“The CCC’s saved my life!” Eddie said many times. The CCC’s provided work, three square meals a day, structure and camaraderie. He worked in camps in Illinois, Wisconsin and Isle Royale in Michigan. Almost all of Eddie’s $30 a month went home.
At the outset of WWII, with the help of free milkshakes to make weight, Eddie was able to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard. His last assignment was onboard the USS Corpus Christi in the Pacific theatre where he manned a 20mm gun near the Captain’s deck. They hunted for submarines, but as a member of the crew his proudest achievement was the location and rescue of 92 survivors of the SS Peter Sylvester. This was the last ship sunk by German U-boats in the Indian Ocean.
On his second day home from service, Eddie walked into the Waukesha Foundry. On the following Monday he started work, eventually becoming a core maker. He also helped start the foundry’s first union and later, after obtaining a GED, he became a foreman.
Eddie met the love of his life, Muriel and they were soon married on Feb. 8, 1947. They settled and raised a family of seven children on Bel Ayr Drive in Waukesha. A favorite memory is Eddie driving his Cadillac with a family of nine and a dog, while pulling a U-Haul, heading north to camp in Minocqua.
Eddie worked hard to make ends meet. He tended bar, started a small egg business and did other work to support his family. He was active in sports and competed in many leagues. He was especially fond of fast pitch softball. He loved teaching sports to his children and coaching the foundry’s basketball and softball teams.
In 1985, after forty years with the Foundry, he retired with hundreds of co-workers attending his retirement party. They built a home near Lake Nokomis in Tomahawk, where Eddie golfed, enjoyed the seasons with his wife, cross-country skiing, canoeing and making new friends. They also stayed active travelling around the United States.
Eddie deeply grieved Muriel’s passing in Nov. of 1999.
He moved in town and with failing eyesight kept his independence by riding his three-wheel bike. He loved staying in Florida in the winter with friends and travelling the country with his children.
In 2018 he moved to Genesee and lived with his son Jamie. He kept as active as his health would allow, still riding his three-wheel bike.
Eddie was a member of St. Williams parish in Waukesha and St. Mary’s parish in Tomahawk.
Eddie shared many heartfelt moments and hugs with those he met in his daily life. He exemplified a life well-lived, built on a love of people and kindness to others. He laughed easily, greeting people with a friendly smile, and a positive outlook.
He is greatly missed by his children Louis (JingJing Saldana) Gake, Leland Gake, Elizabeth (Gerald) Opps, Susan (Richard) Barricelli, Edward “Jamie” Gake, and Robert (Debra Dahlke) Gake. Grandchildren Demario, Claire, and Yemaya Gake, Jeremy (Nikki) Opps, Emily (Christopher) Tryba, and Hannah (Markus) Pajumaki. Great-grandchildren Reid and Henry Tryba, Kylie Helm, and Zoe Pajumaki. Further survived by daughter-in- law Deborah Gake and many furry friends. In addition to his mother and wife, he is preceded in death by his eldest son Loyal Gake.
A private family service with full military honors will be held at Calvary Cemetery in Tomahawk.
The family would like to invite friends and loved ones to a celebration of Eddie’s life to be held at The Happy Snapper, 1315 S. Tomahawk Ave., Tomahawk, on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory & Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family. For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at www.randledable.com for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.