Dave Addicott and Sylvia Rudesill had a blind date, and were supposed to meet at 7 p.m.
Dave, a volunteer firefighter, was called to a fire at the former Joy Cone Co. plant on South Irvine Avenue in Sharon. He sent word through a friend to Sylvia that he would be there at 8. And then, 9. And then, 10.
“I finally showed up at 11:30, dough dripping off my head,” Dave said.
“He was a mess,” Sylvia recalled.
After Dave went home and got cleaned up, Sylvia still went out with him.
“We went down to a bar in Masury (the Sportsman’s Grill) and played pool,” Sylvia said.
“We hit it off right off the bat,” Dave said. “She’s a very tolerant woman to put up with me. She knew from the beginning what kind of (expletive) she was getting into, with me being late for a date, for crying out loud.”
Fifty-six years of marriage later, Sylvia doesn’t let on that it’s been much to tolerate.
“We complement each other,” she said.
The Addicotts have been fixtures in many aspects of Brookfield Township life over that time. Dave has been a volunteer firefighter and an auxiliary policeman. Sylvia served eight years as township clerk and was a member of the fire department’s ladies auxiliary. They both were emergency medical technicians, running calls for the fire department and a private ambulance service. They used to run a youth group and have volunteered to cleanup up the Columbia Theatre in Sharon following the fire, and for Summer Fest, spaghetti dinners and other events at Brookfield United Methodist Church, where they also have participated in Sunday School.
Pastor Dick Smith called the Addicotts “wonderful” members of BUMC.
“Needless to say, they both have been active participants for a long time and have supported the church 100 percent with their gifts, works, love and faith,” Smith said.
That service to the Brookfield community is about to end as the Addicotts are planning a summer move to Inverness, Fla., to live near their daughter, Traci.
“She’s been bugging us for five years to move down where she’s at,” Dave said.
Dave said his interest in community service started with his father, George, a charter member of the Brookfield Fire Department, and his mother, Ann Marie, the founding administrator of the BUMC preschool.
Dave’s first involvement was with the fire department.
“You could join it and still be in high school,” he said. “It was so cool, the fire truck would come over (to school) and pick you up and go out on a grass fire.”
Dave graduated from Brookfield High in 1959, and entered the Coast Guard for a four-year stint based on the encouragement of a teacher, Norbert “Googie” Smolen. His mother agreed it was a good opportunity for him.
“My mother said, in ’59, ‘Strikes are on, Westinghouse is on strike, everybody’s on strike. You’re not gonna get a job anywhere.’”
When he came back, there were jobs available, and Dave worked for Sharon Steel, General American and Packard Electric, retiring from Packard.
Sylvia is from Sharon, graduating from Sharon High in 1962, and worked a number of jobs over the years, in banking, insurance, for a mental health agency and at the former Trumbull County Home in Brookfield.
Dave said he always turned his workplaces into funplaces by chatting up everyone he met, flirting – with Sylvia’s knowledge, he claimed – and organizing lunch parties and after-hours gatherings, but there always was something missing.
“At Packard, you’re a robot,” he said.
That’s why he always kept a volunteer side gig with the fire or police departments.
“Fire department and police department, you get to use your gray matter all the time,” Dave said. “I enjoy problems. I enjoy the people.”
At the police department, he didn’t take his own shifts, but would go out with other officers for backup, support and errand-running. He always looked at his role as helping the duty officer keep focused and in control of their emotions.
“We’re in a pursuit, 100 and some mph,” Dave said. “After it was over, (former officer Ron Mann) said, ‘You were filing your nail, and I’m in a 100 mph pursuit!’”
Dave said he told Mann, “’You were driving like you’re supposed to. If you weren’t, I would say something.’”
The Addicott home on Kimberly Street became a meeting place for the police personnel. Off-duty guys would come to talk or blow off steam, and on-duty guys would come to check in or play a small prank.
“I got an extremely good rapport with all the officers,” Dave said. “I enjoyed it. You’re riding with somebody for eight hours, you become quite close.”
“Dave has been an auxiliary with our department for as far back as I remember and has been a valuable asset,” said Brookfield Police Chief Dan Faustino, who has served the department for 30 years. “Dave has went along on patrol with officers providing assistance on a variety of calls, acting as a second set of eyes and hands, taking vehicles for service, repairing equipment and supporting us in good times and bad. Dave has worked on numerous projects with our department and his church and has always placed our community high on his priority list.”
Dave also enjoyed his time in the Coast Guard, and family vacations always included a stop at a Coast Guard station. His kids, Traci and Brian, caught his fervor for the Coast Guard. Each retired from the Coast Guard after 28 years of service.
“My children, if they were on a shore installation, they were there for four years,” Dave said. “If they were on a marine unit, they were on for three years. I got to go to all of these places.”
Places such as Key West, Miami, Charleston, S.C., Clearwater, Hawaii, Alameda – where Brian now lives – Portland, Los Angeles and San Diego. “I got to see a lot of places.”
When it comes time to move, they will miss their friends – although they expect to see a steady stream of them coming to visit – but they expect they will fit in there just as they do in Brookfield.
“I have the gift of gab,” Dave said. “I’ll probably know most of the people in the park before the year is out.”
“If I find something to volunteer, we have no problem. I have volunteered her for more stuff over the years, and we’re still married. People just can’t comprehend it. But, we enjoy each other’s company immensely. I always tell a joke, we could go to a garbage dump and have fun. You make life what it is.”