After decades of piloting planes, Duke Dawe felt a little unusual as he watched a special formation fly over his BX home last Saturday.
It was 73 years ago he first obtained his pilot’s licence and later enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
At just 17 years old, that licence would go on to take him all over the world in his sky-high experiences.
Following 31 years of service, Gerald (a.k.a. Duke) Dawe, was discharged in 1980.
But not before he met the love of his life, Rosalie Meuwly, whom he married in 1957.
After living all over the country, including P.E.I., Dawe and his family settled in Vernon in 1982.
Their BX home became a place of many memories for the family and continues still to this day when his sisters, children and grandchildren visit.
Surrounded by a few close family members, Dawe received a very special treat on his 90th birthday Oct. 2.
The Vernon Flying Club soared in formation over Vernon and Dawe’s home.
Holding a flag almost as big as the tall, stately gentleman, with his decorated cap, Dawe’s grin stretched wider than the Cheshire Cat’s to see the flyover.
While the surprise, planned by his family, left him tickled, it was an odd feeling.
“I’m not used to being on the ground watching them, I’m used to being in the pilot’s seat.”
His birthday celebration was followed by a drive-thru as friends popped by with balloons, gifts and cards to wish the 90-year-old well.
Even his 100-year-old air force buddy Joseph Monteyne came for a visit.
Everyone was thrilled to see Dawe, smiling and chatting, after a scare earlier in the summer.
Dawe had contracted COVID-19, but since he had already received both his vaccinations he fared well in battling the virus.