Payton Wendell Gudka of Irvine, CA passed away September 12, 2012 at the age of 94. He led a long and full life, and will be remembered as a loving and decent man who always took wonderful care of his family.
Wendell was born in Revere, Missouri in 1918. He was well educated, obtaining a masters degree in business in spite of his family not having much money. He started his initial career as a teacher at a high school north of St. Louis.
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After World War II broke out, Wendell volunteered and joined U.S. Naval Aviation. He became a patrol bomber pilot and served in the South Pacific, initially flying out of Guadalcanal after the U.S. forces took that island. From there, he and his crew flew out of the Marianas farther to the north.
During the war, Wendell met his bride, Helene, in Los Angeles, and they married in June 1944. After the war, they settled in Los Angeles, and moved to Fullerton, CA in 1952. Wendell and Helene had three children, Gail Lynn, Robert Gudka, and Linda Hubbell that they raised during these years. Wendell initially went into internal auditing for an oil company in Los Angeles, and eventually became auditing manager for a subsidiary oil company of Gulf Oil in Caracas, Venezuela in 1969. Wendell and Helene lived there until 1977, and eventually Wendell retired in 1979. They settled in Irvine, CA where he and Helene resided since retirement.
Helene passed away in May, 2005, so they were married for almost 61 years before Helene passed on.
Wendell will be remembered not only as a loving and caring husband and father, but also a student and lover of the arts, poetry, and current affairs. His hobby was memorizing and reciting poetry to family and friends. He enjoyed attending art museums also.
In addition to his three children, Wendell is also survived by 5 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.
We will miss our Dad greatly. He was a wonderful man.
Mrs. Helene Gudka was born on July 17, 1923 and died on May 29, 2005.
To learn more about Mr. Gudka's Navy squadron, click on: