In Memoriam

Gary Lee Dikkers

Gary Dickkers

As spoken in his own words three days before his passing and as transcribed by his brother Steve Dikkers, Gary's wry sense of humor remained a hallmark of his time with all of us.

"On June 5th, 2013, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Dikkers, USAFA Class of 1968, failed to depart the fix after busting a no-notice check ride with malignant brain cancer.

Gary surprised himself in 1964 when he received an appointment to the Academy from future presidential candidate, John Anderson. He further surprised himself when 4 days before he graduated from the Academy the flight surgeon called in Gary, who had recently begun to wear eyeglasses, and informed him, "You're not going to pilot training". Gary talked to Commandant of Cadets Robin Olds about his situation. Olds appealed on Gary's behalf to the Air Force Chief of Staff who said, 'Gary is going to pilot training!'

Looking over his Air Force career, these are some of his most important assignments that Gary remembers best…

o Chasing down NV over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
o The excitement of flying the supersonic F4 Phantom II (the most fun).
o Rescuing Americans assigned to Special Ops in Southeast Asia.
o His time working with the 82nd Airborne All-American Division as Divisional ALO 82nd. (He was particularly pleased when the Commanding General of 82nd told him if he had been in the Army instead of Air Force he would have almost certainly become a general.)
o Getting sent to Purdue to get his MS in Geodesy and Cartography.

Upon retirement Gary and his family moved to Madison, WI, where he took a position with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as the State Air Space Safety Specialist. Gary worked closely with the airport managers throughout the state and prided himself in the many aerial photos of the state's airports.

Gary's wife Marlene continues to live on Madison, WI, and his daughter Katrina lives and teaches in Kodaikanal, India. Gary was a native of Freeport, Illinois where his mother continues to live. Gary had three younger brothers.

Gary decided to be buried in the Linda & Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, Wisconsin's only natural cemetery at 42 58.999 N and 89 36.412 W."

From the Class of 1968 to Gary's wife, Marlene, and members of his family, we send our sincere condolences.

(Tim Davidson, Class Scribe)

Gary was a member of CS-22 when we graduated.

Obituary for Gary Dikkers

Gary L. Dikkers, a loving husband and father, age 66, took his last flight west at the VA Hospice Center on June 5, 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

Born November 30, 1946 in Freeport, IL to parents William J. Dikkers and Wanda (Hutmacher) Dikkers. Gary married Marlene Miller in 1976. He graduated from Freeport High School in 1964. Gary graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968 and served as a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam after completing flight training. He received a Master of Engineering in Geodesy/Cartography from Purdue University in 1976 and worked for the Defense Mapping Agency in Cheyenne, WY. He served as flight instructor and fighter pilot, and served as an ALO for the 82nd Airborne Division. After retirement from the Air Force, Gary was the Air Space Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Aeronautics. He enjoyed volunteering at the Rockets for School Program every windy, cold May in Sheboygan. He was an avid photographer who enjoyed bicycling, backpacking, and camping throughout the United States and Europe. He was also a big fan of country music, and was a prolific reader.

Gary is preceded in death by his father William. He is survived by his wife, Marlene; daughter, Katrina; and his faithful dog, “Hermie”. He is also survived by his mother; Wanda, and brothers Steve (Michele), Gene (Kim) and Kurt (Sue).

The family would like to thank the staff of Dean Care Oncology, St.Mary’s Hospital, and the VA Hospice Center. A special thanks to Dr.Yangbum Gyal, Doctor of Tibetan Medicine. Gary’s wish for a natural burial will be fulfilled at the Natural Path Sanctuary (

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Linda and Jean Farley Center for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability ( or the Rockets for School Program ( or to the Madison Public Library Foundation, 201 W Mifflin St; Madison, WI 53703 (

A Memorial Service will be held at Ryan Funeral Home, 210 S Enterprise Dr; Verona, WI 53593, Verona Chapel, on Friday, June 7, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. with Pastor Paul Gerardy of Cedarville officiating. Visitation will be held from 11:00 until the time of service. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Marlene:

Mrs. Marlene Dikkers; 417 Walnut Grove Dr; Madison, WI 53717-1230

Click here to sign the memory book.

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