A favorite friend is gone; his melodious voice silenced. Gaet, as in Gaetano Martini, would want you to know he went to heaven on January 7.

Long associated with WBCB radio, Gaet was the host of a Doo Wop Show and the Italian-American Hour and scores of other remotes around town. He made us laugh and enjoy the music.

He also transformed into Santa Claus after the north winds blew in November. Actually, he didn’t play Santa, children, he was Santa… for a moment. Gaet loved being the rotund, jolly Santa in the sparkle of a mall, gathering crowds of children in awe of his real beard and his deep ho-ho-ho’s.

As a co-worker, I have fond memories of Gaet (pronounced Gate) and especially his spirituality, his love of family, his gift of humor and pretty accurate voice impressions of famous people. Indeed.

I received more than one phone call from “President Ronald Reagan” while on the air, often carrying on a respectful conversation with the long-gone president. It was light-hearted and so clever an impersonation I momentarily thought… could it be?

Gaet had a life. He experienced and survived hard times as a child living in Philadelphia. Money was scarce, but he said the family was blessed by philanthropic help through an educational charity in the city and perhaps more. He remembered with such gratitude that it led him to help others whenever he could with a well-honed generous spirit.

He also had many lingering health issues to deal with, but it did not dampen his love of life or time with the listeners on WBCB. Our friend was strong in his Christian faith, grateful for the gifts he was given and always proud of his beloved family. Because he believed in the power of prayer, he would often offer to send a message “up” on your behalf. You wouldn’t turn him down. God speed, Gaet.