Gerald Cauldwell was born on a farm in 1916 in the Flint Hills of Chase County, the oldest of four with three younger sisters.
After graduating from Madison High School, he waited through the Depression and then started undergraduate school, majoring in law at Washburn University. To earn room and board, he worked as a houseboy for the girls' dorm.
From 1941-1946 he served in the Army in Europe. He was at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri when Pearl Harbor was bombed. A staff officer in the Airborne Aviation Battalion, he traveled by gliders and parachute to do repairs at airfields. His unit was slated to be part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, but their gliders were lost, so it was actually D-Day +15 when they arrived in France as a replacement battalion.
They rebuilt an airport that the U.S. Secretary of War and the Allied generals visited on July 5, 1944, and were there when General Patton made his famous breakthrough.
"We were in Europe when the war there ended, and were scheduled to go to Japan next," he recalls. "We were actually in France waiting for a ship to take us to the Pacific when the war in the Pacific Theatre ended as well."
They then went to Germany to help rebuild the shattered nation. Gerald came home in 1945 and mustered out of the Army in 1946.
In 1946 he returned to Washburn in the accelerated law program and passed the bar exam in 1948. He met and married his wife Dorothy in 1946 and they had four children together, Jack, Sue, Karen and Cindy (administrative assistant at Via Christi Village on McLean).
From 1948 to 1962 he practiced law and established and operated a title company in Sedan, and served 10 years as county attorney for Chautauqua County. From 1963-1981 he was a state tax examiner in Wichita with the Internal Revenue Service. Then from 1981-2005 he was associated with the law firm of Smith, Shey, Farmer and Wetta.
Gerald was selected to be a member of the April, 2011 Honor Flight (which sends WWII veterans to the Washington DC memorials). He visited the WWII, Korea and Vietnam memorials as well as the Tomb of Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial. His visit also included trips to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the White House.
Gerald moved into Via Christi Village on McLean on Dec. 6, 2010, and everyone enjoys his sense of humor and fun spirit. He enjoys reading historical books, playing cards/train dominoes and socializing with other residents.