Charles Gaede was born February 11, 1920 in Richmond, Indiana. In 1936, he quit high school and performed odd jobs. He also painted houses for his father for thirty-five dollars per week. From 1939 to 1941 he worked in a camera shop. This was an important position for Gaede, as it became his goal to own his own camera shop.
He joined the Air Corps in December 1941, hoping to be assigned to photography. Instead, he was sent to airplane mechanics school. In 1943, he passed the entrance exam for Cadet training and was sent to the University of North Dakota. He and other cadets followed a very rigid schedule trying to cram two years of class instruction into three and one-half months. The cadets were required to study in silence in the barracks from 7:00 to 9:00 PM each night. Discipline was rigid, although after passing room and uniform inspection on Saturday mornings, the cadets were allowed to go into town for the weekend. The cadets were able to do some flying at UND as well. Charles Gaede graduated from UND near the top of his class. He then moved on to three flight training air bases: primary, basic, and advanced. Charles graduated as a B-25 pilot on March 11, 1945 at La Junta, Colorado. On June 15, 1945, he married Ann Burchick in Del Rio, Texas.
After the war ended in September 1945, Charles and his wife moved to Pueblo, Colorado where they opened a Camera Shop. Four years later, he took over management of "Denver Foto" with intention of buying the business if he could pull it out of debt. Two years later, Charles took over "Englewood Camera" as well. In 1974 the Gaedes sold their shops and retired. In retirement the Gaedes keep busy by traveling in their motorhome, building model sailing ships, and going on fishing expeditions.