More detail on this person: MAJ Lyman E. "Don" Gaude, Jr. USA (Ret.), 81, passed away peacefully to the Lord on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Don was proud to be a retired Army helicopter pilot, but his greatest joy was being an amazing husband, father, grandfather, and friend to so many. Don was raised in Ponchatoula, LA, and was able to explore many parts of the country and the world due to his military service. Don also had the distinction of being a proud US Marine for 4 years prior to his Army career. Don was raised in a Catholic family and was an altar server at St. Joseph's Catholic Church where he attended school. He loved to play football for St. Paul's High School, were he graduated in 1958. After finishing high school, Don joined the US Marines for 4 years, which included time spent on Okinawa. He had a short break in service, working as a boilermaker with his dad in Louisiana. Don learned that the US Army was looking for helicopter pilots, so he switched to a new military branch and became a helicopter pilot in the 1960's. Don spent 3 tours in Vietnam, seeing substantial action. This included service as a pilot on SOG (Special Operations Group) missions. Don received 2 Bronze Stars with designations for valor, and several other air medals. In between tours, Don met Joyce when her parents stopped by to visit with Don's parents, and they were married in 1968. After Don's last Vietnam tour, he found time to obtain a BA in Geography from Southeastern Louisiana University. Don remained in the Army until 1982, retiring as a Major at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. After retiring, Don moved his family back to Hammond, LA, where Brian and Amy each finished middle school and high school. Later, Don and Joyce moved to Mobile, AL, where they were active in St. Mary's Catholic Church. In 2006, Don and Joyce realized a lifelong dream and relocated to their wonderful ranch house in D'Hanis, TX, where they were able to spend the next decade entertaining family and making new friends in a small Texas town. They finally moved to Pensacola in 2017, where they were able to spend time with family in their East Hill home. Don is preceded in death by his wife, Joyce Lynn Sidebottom; his parents, Lyman E. and Louis Bodker Gaude; his brother, Robert Drude; and his sister, Oresta Drude Pevey. He is survived by his sisters, Muriel Drude Cassibry and Lynn Gaude Ferrant Falanga; his children, Brian W. Gaude (Darcy) of Bossier City, LA, and Amy Gaude Nelson (Kevin) of Pensacola, FL; and his six grandchildren, Christian Gaude, Joshua Gaude, Ashleigh Gaude, Jacob Nelson, Caleb Nelson, and Ava Nelson. Visitation will be held 11:00am until a Funeral Mass to begin at 11:30am Monday, May 23, 2022, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, with Fr. James Valenzuela celebrant. Interment will f Cemetery with military honors. Don's grandchildren will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers include Gene Ferrant, Roger Belsome, Lance Belsome, and Roland Belsome. Special thanks to the nurses, caregivers and staff of The Blake of Pensacola who gave our dad peace, comfort, and dignity during his final months. We will always be grateful for the love and support you showed our dad (Don).
Burial information: Barrancas National Cemetery
This information was last updated 05/18/2022
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 03/11/2023
Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association