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Lt.Col (Rtd) Gerald DeGaetano

Jim Wightman, PRO BAG Malta, writes:

I was as shocked as anyone to learn the sad news that Gerald DeGaetano had passed away.

Having known him over several decades as a canoeist and bicycle commuter, Gerald was the epitome of fitness. A man who loved sport and the outdoors, and often, combined the two. A flat-water racing canoe coach, and a keen competitor, Gerald was also one of the first people to sign up for the cycling ambassador programme, becoming Sliema’s own BAG cycling ambassador.

Gerald used to forgo his rightful AFM driver and run, then later cycle to work or anywhere else he could, if he could avoid using the car. He had even cycled to his lecture that day.

I was once fortunate to meet Gerald on his way to work some years ago and he led the way, such an athlete and a gentleman was Gerald, that he slowed his pace a little. I still have fond memories of following my steel-legged friend up Luqa hill, knocking four minutes off my usual commute. But that was Gerald, an outstanding athlete, and an outstanding man, with an infectious sense of humour.

A great mentor, he had an enthusiasm for an active lifestyle, particularly for those who wanted to also try to improve.

He had a great love for the AFM, and was by all accounts an exemplary officer. Gerald lived by example and perhaps most importantly was one of a dying breed, a well-mannered understated gentleman. Upon reflection I cannot help feeling that Gerald’s legacy is that we learnt a lot more from him about life, and excelling in life, than he from us.

He will be dearly missed.

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