Judy Meyer Gaye

After graduation I worked that summer at General Telephone with Barry Cox. We were telephone operators, can you imagine? I bought a ’57 fire engine red Chevy convertible and started work at EMR as a secretary. I met Jerry Gaye (class of ’57) and we were married in 1963 (he tells me it was for my car, ha).

We traded my Chevy for a new fire engine red convertible and moved to Cape Canaveral where I went to work for RCA at Mission Control Center for the Apollo Mission. It was an exciting time to be in the space industry. I met Gus Grissom, Kris Craft and many others who would later be in the pages of history. I also met Walt Disney on what turned out to be a buying trip for land that would become in time, Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Jerry and I moved back to Sarasota in 1966 where our daughter Kimberly was born. No more convertibles. Jerry attended MJC and I worked as an ophthalmologist assistant. After a year at MJC, we moved to Gainesville where he received his BS degree at U of F. Go Gators!! It was a fun time to be in married housing at Corry Village. Each evening several couples would take there dinner scraps and marsh mellows to feed the alligators in Lake Alice. I still can’t believe we did that.

Jerry joined Riegel Textile and we moved to Aiken, S.C. where our second daughter Kara was born. Jerry continued to open manufacturing plants in S.C., then Maryville, Mo. and finally in Porterville, Ca. We had many friends as we moved from orange groves to peach orchards, to corn fields, to vineyards. I kept busy being a mom as brownie scout leader, and school functions. I enjoyed being active in the community doing volunteer work. I chaired the Maryville Mother’s March of Dimes and organized the town’s Bicentennial Children’s Parade.

We enjoyed the many activities afforded us in California. We even attempted snow skiing. The girls were naturals but I never left the “bunny slope”. California was fun but missing family, Jerry accepted a position with Lockheed and we moved back Florida in 1980. We settled in Orlando where I worked as an ophthalmologist assistant.

In 1993, we opened a small bistro, The Black Olive, which was quite an experience. Our pork tenderloin sandwich was recommended in the Orlando Sentinel’s restaurant section! After selling the Black Olive, Jerry joined Orange County as a fiscal coordinator and I began working at Sand Lake Hospital, later to change their name to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.

Today Kimberly lives and works in Orlando as an apartment complex property manager. She has provided Jerry and I with 2 beautiful granddaughters. Brooke, 20 attends college and Mackenzie, 16 is a H.S. junior.

Kara graduated from UCF and joined the Peace Corp. She lived and worked in Gabon, Africa for 2 years. She then moved to New Orleans to receive her masters at Tulane. While at Tulane, she joined a work/learning group and spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka to assist the post-tsunami cleanup. The day after returning to New Orleans, she had to evacuate to Baton Rouge before Hurricane Katrina hit. She was very fortunate to be able to return after Katrina and complete her studies and received her masters degree. She then went to work for International Medical Corp in Washington, D.C. and eventually Sudan for 18 months. Kara now works for another NGO in Jacmal, Haiti where she is Project Director overseeing rebuilding of roads and farmland.

Jerry is now happily retired, keeping busy with the pool, garden, golden retriever puppy and keeping track of my 90 year old mother who is living with us. I’m finally able to have another convertible, so I’m happy driving my little Miata to work with the top down and not ready to retire just yet. Looking forward to seeing everyone in October.