Edwin Gade

Former Headmaster of the San Kaissa Agricultural College


Edwin is always depicted as a deeply-suntanned coastal cowboy, radiating authority and benevolence. Every picture taken after the 1970s has him alone, however, and his confident smile is somewhat haunted by his tragic late life.


Edwin was born to Abraham and Florence Gade in 1901 as the family was settling on the land. He grew up working as a ranch hand and managing his family’s vineyards, and in 1934 he was sent to Recharte Island to oversee the construction of the Rufino manor and its surrounding outbuildings as a family estate. However, tragedy struck in 1937 and Edwin’s father and mother succumbed to polio and Edwin was forced to assume his family’s holdings in San Kaissa proper.

He leased the Rufino manor to Dr. Stephen Vandever in 1938 to be used as a hospice for the mentally unstable and terminally ill and assumed duties as headmaster at the San Kaissa Agricultural College until his retirement in 1963 after the death of his wife, Angela.

The remainder of the 60’s was a troubled time for Edwin, as his children passed away from accident and illness, and by 1972 with the loss of his youngest son Abraham he was the sole Gade remaining in San Kaissa. Nevertheless, he remained a prominent figure in local city politics until 1980, when he entered into seclusion.

In 1984, he sold the agricultural college and his family’s lands to the California State University system.

He died in bed in 1990 after being hospitalized for a cold exacerbated by his age and enfeebled condition.

Edwin Gade

As It Seems: A Chill Semester SimonBailey SimonBailey