William K. Sandke (CDR-RET) - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Obituaries

William K. Sandke (CDR-RET)

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Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 3:19 pm

William K. Sandke, (CDR-RET) passed peacefully in his final berth, Sharp Parkview Hospice, on Oct. 7, 2019. Although he had moved three months prior into the Coronado Retirement Village, Bill, through worldwide deployments, always considered Country Club Lane home; he and wife Susan purchased their property in 1966.

Born in Chicago to Edward and June Sandke, Bill enjoyed a lively childhood, especially hanging around the downtown Chicago lumberyard his father managed. Even as recently as 2016, Bill travelled back to his elementary school reunion.

Tragically, Bill’s mother died when he was young and Edward later married Janet and moved the family from Chicago to Pompano Beach, Florida, where they managed a beach-side motel. Bill’s family added a brother Edward, and sisters Judy and Mary Lou. Bill’s lifelong love for the sun and water was developed during these days and was a big part of his subsequent attraction to Coronado.

Bill enrolled in Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and completed his degree in physics, making along the way a lifelong friend and mentor of Professor John Hart, who Bill credited for his academic success. Heading off to AOCS and U.S. Navy flight training immediately after college kept Bill busy, but along the way he found time to meet Susan Cahill who became his wife in June of 1963.

Bill was assigned to the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center in Point Loma and then to VS-41 at NASNI where he spent many hours flying, then teaching and also in revelry with fellow aviators, many still in the Coronado area and thankfully ready to share a story from the Old Days. Popular haunts for Bill and Sue included Mexican Village, the Manhattan Room and the O’Club. Just days prior to his passing Bill held court at the World Famous I Bar, a Naval Aviation institution he frequented for over 50 years. Look for Bill’s NASNI CO authorized squadron plaque on your next I Bar visit.

Squadron tours included VS-41, VS-25, VS-37, VS-38, CAG 55 (CAG Paddles) and CAGR 80. Aircraft flown included the T-28, F-9, T-33, S-2, E-1, SH-3, C-1 and the C-131. Carriers embarked upon included USS Bennington, USS Yorktown, USS Ticonderoga, and USS Enterprise. When asked just days prior to his passing about his most memorable aviation moment, without hesitation, he said “breaking the sound barrier.”

Bill’s command tour was served abroad at RAF Mildenhall, England where he was Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Facility (1975-78) with responsibility for logistics missions across Europe from Keflavick, Iceland to Naples, Italy. A highlight of that tour was to fly Lord Mountbatten aboard his aircraft- sadly the Lord was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army not long after their flight together and Bill remained forever mindful of that encounter.

Bill was a 1979 graduate of the Naval War College in Newport, RI and finished his career with a 2-year tour with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an Emergency Actions Officer at the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center returning to Coronado in 1981. Bill then leveraged his Anti-Submarine Warfare expertise joining Lockheed Martin as a contractor and continued his comically short commute to NASNI where he served as a SCORE range officer.

Active at Coronado Yacht Club and with Crown Club, Bill and Sue made quite a splash around town and following Sue’s passing in 2014, Bill was a fixture at several “watering holes” around Coronado including the aforementioned I Bar, the Sundeck and Sunset Bars at The Del and Chez Loma.

Bill is survived by his son, William E. (Tami) Sandke as well as daughters Ann (Mike) Verley and Laura Sandke. He was predeceased by his wife, Susan (2014) and daughter Carrie (2018). He leaves behind grandchildren Will and Emma Sandke, Taylor White and Ashtyn Verley.

Service arrangements are pending at Miramar National Cemetery where he will be interned along side his faithful wife Susan. The family is planning a celebration of life at the family home, following the internment.