The movie titled "An Officer and a Gentleman" aptly describes Ade Wirth. He served four years in the US Navy during the Korean War as a private 1st Class on the USS Jupiter. He then worked as a police officer for 25 years in Park Ridge, N.J. Even while enjoying his favorite pastime, ham radio operation, Ade offered to help out during traffic emergencies or during snowstorms. In those roles and most importantly as a husband, father and friend,
Ade is a gentleman. Ade grew up in Queens, N.Y., the youngest of three children. Ade's mother, Doris, died when he was nine. He and his two older sisters, Jackie and Barbara worked part-time in their dad's butcher shop, mostly making deliveries. After high school, Ade decided to join the Navy. He was sent to basic training in Camp Pendleton and then on to San Diego. He loved California; no homesickness for Ade. He trained on ship as an electrician, skills he later used to start his own business, an electric repair shop. The young veteran met his wife Tami just over 50 years ago. The couple met through one of Tami's work friends, Mary Ann, who dated Ade once then gave him Tami's phone number.
She told Tami, "Ade is the sweetest guy; he's really your type." After talking on the phone for three hours, Tami and Ade had their first date—dinner in a diner and a movie in Paramas, N.J. Ade didn't kiss Tami on their first, second or third date. She asked Mary Ann whether Ade was really interested in her. "Oh yes, Tami, he's just a real gentleman."
Ade demonstrated those gentlemanly traits during their six-month courtship, especially regarding Tami's (lack of) cooking skills. One Sunday Ade came over to her apartment in the Bronx for breakfast. She served him scrambled eggs that she had cooked for 20 minutes—hard and dry. Ade ate every bite and told Tami, "these are the best eggs I've ever had."
When Tami recovered from measles, Ade came over to visit with flowers in hand. Tami offered to make him a hamburger for lunch. She describes it as, "dark and crispy on the outside; pink in the middle." True to form, Ade said it was the best burger ever. The couple had two sons, David and Jason, 21 months apart in age. Ade's income from his electric repair work supplemented his wages as a policeman and enabled his wife, Tami, to be a stay-at-home mom while raising their children.
Tami's cooking skills improved over the years. "Anything I shot or caught, Tami cooked for us," Ade says. After hunting and fishing with his younger son, Jason, he brought home all kinds of delicacies: venison, grouper, striped bass and flounder. One of his favorite memories of those hunting trips, was bringing home a 22-pound turkey. Ade and Jason cleaned and dressed it. Tami cooked it and, yes, "it was the best turkey ever."
Their sons' interests and hobbies were in stark contrast from one another. Jason loved to fish with his dad on their own boat. David preferred to develop his musical talent playing bass guitar. He joined a band with his friends called, "The Texas Homewreckers." Not to be excluded from the fun, Tami and Ade took a class learning to line dance. They were soon regulars at the Whiskey Cafe where David's band performed regularly, while his parents line danced to the music.
Jason and David now live across the country from each other and a long distance from their parents. They are in constant communication, however. Ade especially enjoys FaceTime with his sons. Jason lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two daughters. He chose his dad's line of work and became a probation/parole officer; he is also a gun safety trainer, and an instructor in many disciplines.
David lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he's frequently hosted his parents to a West Coast vacation, including a cruise to Mexico several years ago. David manages digital media distribution for all the major studios and enjoys his musical talents when he can. Like his son, Ade enjoys all kinds of music, especially musical theatre productions across the decades, from "Hello Dolly" to the recent production of "Hamilton," which Ade and Tami attended with their son in California last year.
When asked, "What's the best thing that ever happened to you," Ade readily replies, "Tami." What is the secret to his longevity "Tami," Ade says with a twinkle in his eyes. Ade moved to Clare Bridge Crossings in The Villages, Fla., in January 2018. Tami lives in their house in Summerfield nearby. She visits every day because "I love being with him." "And I love being with her" Ade says as he takes her hand in his.