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Flag honors USAF veteran

A flag flies in honor of a decorated U.S. Air Force veteran at 9 a.m. Friday at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center. John Walter Gidley, born Oct. 11, 1931, in Superior, to son of Walter and Irene Gidley. He attended St. Joseph and Cat...

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A flag flies in honor of a decorated U.S. Air Force veteran at 9 a.m. Friday at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center.

John Walter Gidley, born Oct. 11, 1931, in Superior, to son of Walter and Irene Gidley. He attended St. Joseph and Cathedral Elementary schools, and Cathedral High School where he played basketball, baseball, football and was a boxer in high school. He graduated in 1949.

Gidley enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on March 29, 1951. He trained at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, and in Chillicothe, Mo., served 2½ years in Alaska. He received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Air Policeman (MP) Medal. He was discharged from the military Jan. 25, 1955.

After his military service, John returned to Superior, and eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degree. On July 27, 1957, John married Joanne DeRiemaker; they celebrated 48 years of marriage before his passing in 2005.

Prior to starting his teaching career, Gidley worked for Great Northern Railroad. Eventually, he would teach one year at Nemadji School, Pattison Park and two years at Lincoln School in Chisholm, Minn., before a 29-year career with the Superior school district, teaching at Pattison Elementary and Central Junior High schools.

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John was very active in the local Superior community. He was a member of the Cathedral of Christ the King Parish, the Knights of Columbus Court 499, United Commercial Travelers 333 and the UWS Alumni Association. John was past vice president of the Superior Federation of Teachers, past president of the Superior area men's fast-pitch softball association and charter member of the UWS Center Court Club. Playing in area fast-pitch baseball, John represented several teams. John was also active in bowling and acted as a softball umpire. He continued his interest in sports as his sons became active participants.

He enjoyed traveling to historic sites including a trip to Rome, Italy.

John passed away Nov. 3, 2005, leaving behind his wife, Joanne; four sons, Matthew (Donna) of Green Bay, Wis., Paul (Cathleen) of St. Paul, Minn., John (Heidi) of Superior, and Michael (Anessa) of Prior Lake, Minn.; daughter-in-law, Pamela; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. During his life, he lost an infant son; infant daughter, Carolyn; a son, David Gidley; and a granddaughter Courtney; his parents, and a sister Mary Carol.

The entire Gidley family is proud of John's service to his country..

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Flag of Remembrance Program, contact John Vaski at 715-394-7693; Scott Markle at 218-269-4675; the Bong Center at 715-392-7151 or email info@bvhcenter.org or educator@bvhcenter.org .

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