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1921 - 2010 Obituary Condolences
GEORGE GAEKLE Dec. 21, 1921 - May 24, 2010

George Gaekle was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the only child of George and Anne (Moenck) Gaekle. He graduated from North High School in Des Moines in 1939, attended Drake University and received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 1949. He completed his Master in Public Administration at the University of Denver in 1950. While at Denver, he met Iris Wamsley of Coalmont, CO. They were married on April 14, 1951 and raised three children, Ann, Meg and Don. George served in the US Coast Guard from 1942 to 1946 and in the US Navy from 1951 to 1952.

George began his career in 1951 with the Toledo, Ohio, Municipal League. After naval service, he worked for the Butte County Taxpayer's Association in 1952. He then served as the first Chief Administrative Officer for Butte County from 1953 to 1967. After a year working in Denver, CO, for the Education Commission of the States, he worked two years at the County Supervisors Association of California (CSAC) in Sacramento. George ended his full time career as Chief Administrative Officer of Stanislaus County, a post held from 1970 to 1979. During "retirement", George became a specialist in new city incorporations, serving as the first City Manager for Paradise, Lakeport, Dublin, Danville, San Ramon, Lathrop and Truckee. He also served as interim City Manager for the cities of Patterson and Escalon, as well as interim Chief Administrative Officer for Yolo and Solano counties. George was a Rotarian for over 50 years between the Oroville and Modesto Rotary clubs. He is a past President of the Oroville Rotary Club.

His lifelong interest in passenger rail transportation began in Des Moines, IA, where he often rode the numerous streetcar lines just for fun. George was an avid rider of both narrow gauge steam trains and modern rail transit. As a vocal advocate for passenger rail service, he served on the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee from its founding until March 2010. He was an Associate Director of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) and was a member of the Des Moines Railfans Club and Des Moines Streetcar Friends. George and Iris enjoyed many overseas trips. If there were a train within 1000 miles, George would find it and work it into their itinerary!

He was an Oakland A's fan, but enjoyed baseball all his life and was proud to have seen Babe Ruth play with the Chicago White Sox.

He is survived by wife, Iris of Modesto; daughter, Ann Gaekle of Modesto, daughter, Meg Gaekle of Los Angeles; son, Don Gaekle of Modesto; cousins, Mary Lou Gaekle Vedane, West Des Moines, IA, and Darlene Mills of Kearney, NE and families, nieces and nephews in the Wamsley family, and many friends.

There was a Celebration of Life on Friday, June 4, 2010 in Modesto.

Remembrances may be sent to Des Moines Streetcar Friends, c/o Earl Short, 1845 Ashleaf Circle, Waukee, IA 50263-8247, or simply ride a train!
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on June 17, 2010
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