Dean Vandendriessche

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LTC. Dean Vandendriessche, USAF (Ret.) was born in Detroit Michigan on October 29, 1930 to Victor and Julia Vandendriessche, immigrants from Flemish region of Belgium. The family did well until the depression. They owned several stores and a number of rental houses. They lost everything in the depression and moved to Ponce de Leon Florida. They were extremely poor from that point forward. I remember Dean talking about how excited they were when the found a turtle because it meant they would have meat that night. Dean was poplar in school and became a star player on the basketball team. He enlisted in the army when he was 17, by saying that he was 18. He was assigned to the Army Air Corp, which almost immediately became the Air Force; I think he had been in 1 to 2 months by then. He participated in the Berlin Air Lift in Germany and at some point it time was in what I believe was called the Office of Special Investigations. Dean left the Air Force and took a civilian job working for the Navy as a financial analyst. He retired from that job, but retirement didn't take. He soon went back to work for a military contractor, Perot Systems. He finally retired at the age of 82 so that he could travel more. He met Mildred at a diner in Washington, D.C. They were married near her home in Accident, MD. They traveled around the U.S with the military, but eventually returned to the D.C. area. They started married life in an apartment in D.C, but eventually moved to a house in Hyattsville, MD and then to the current home in Rockville. They had two children both born in DC. He was a great father to his children, always having time for them and lots of patience and love. He taught them any of his skills such as how to repair things (the cars always seemed to have a problem, or how to build something; he never owned a house without building a shed for it. He always had a project going on and would use theses as teaching opportunities. He loved to travel. For example, he took his entire family on two different 4-week cross-country trips in a 16 foot trailer. There were many weekend trips with the trailer to nearby locations. He also toured many countries, including Ireland, Austria, Turkey and Italy. He loved country music and when driving, the family had to take turns between listening to his country stations and the kid's rock stations.

Internment took place at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Published in Washington County News and Holmes County Times-Advertiser on Sept. 27, 2017
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