AL WADLE Al Wadle, 84, one of Santa Fe's leading philanthropists, owner of Wadle Galleries and loving husband, has moved on to his eternal life. He died November 12 at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center with his family by his side. He was a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 2000, one of The New Mexican's 10 Who Made a Difference in 1993 and one of the Santa Fe Community Foundation's "Five for 25" in 2006 honoring its founders. He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation, where he founded the Circle of Care to support health care needs in perpetuity and the Dropout Prevention Fund for education. He was a towering figure, born salesman, generous to a fault, rooted for the underdog in sports and in life, and a lifelong Catholic who, in later years practiced his faith by climbing on the roof to "talk to the big man upstairs." He nourished his two-acre backyard at the foot of Sun Mountain into a sanctuary with 100 birdhouses and feeders among the pinon and cottonwoods he planted as twigs. Born in Union, N.J. to German immigrant parents, he grew up in a tenement where his father was demanding of his studies and advised him, "Albie, whenever you do anything in life, you do it right or don't do it at all." His mother died when he was nine. The turning point in his life was benefiting from the G.I. Bill. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1946 and served aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. He attended Bucknell University, graduating with a degree in economics. Because of this opportunity, he always believed in helping others and was generous to Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary, where he built a chapel; to the Community Foundation and, quietly, to individuals. He was personnel manager at Union Carbide Corp. in Niagara Falls, N.Y. when he met his wife of 56 years, Alice. They moved to Florida and lived frugally until his career in the securities business flourished. He was supervisor of the Southeast Division of Smith Barney and later of the Southwest Division, when they moved to Dallas. For more than a decade, the couple divided their time between Santa Fe and Scottsdale. But he never forgot his roots. When he first saw Santa Fe on a business trip, he told his wife, "I've found paradise." He soon discovered two sides of Santa Fe, the other being hopelessness. That is what he set out to repair. He believed that by giving people a chance and sharing hope they could turn their lives around. He opened Wadle Galleries on West Palace Avenue in 1981. It was a natural move for the couple. Robert Brackman, teacher at the Art Students League in New York, had mentored Al in art appreciation, and Alice studied with Irby Brown, one of the gallery's leading artists. Wadle wrote the forward for a book on Brown scheduled to be published in spring, 2014 by UNM Press. He loved the gallery: the opportunity to showcase artists, to provide jobs, to promote Santa Fe and to talk with visitors. The gallery will remain open. In a 1999 video for the Community Foundation, Wadle confides, "I've found the secret to eternal life. By giving to an endowment you and your good deeds will live forever." He is survived by his wife, Alice, of Santa Fe and Scottsdale; his daughter, Betsy Wadle; and granddaughter, Anastasia Trinidad, both of St. Louis, Mo.; a niece and two nephews and the Santa Feans who loved and worked with him at Wadle Galleries. Funeral Mass arrangements are pending. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Circle of Care, Santa Fe Community Foundation, www.santafecf.org Berardinelli Family Funeral Service 1399 Luisa Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505)984-8600 Please sign our guestbook for the family at: www.berardinellifuneralhome.com
The Guest Book is expired.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Nov. 14, 2012