ROTHENBURGER – Legacy of Flying Phil and Jennie Gaglardi is finally recognized

Jennie and Phil Gaglardi.

FLYING PHIL GAGLARDI will finally get his name on a major Kamloops edifice.

And it’s fitting that his wife Jennie is included in the new name for the patient-care tower under construction at Royal Inland Hospital. Together, they made a tremendous mark on this city and province with decades of selfless public service.

As Phil’s biographer, I got to know a lot about the Gaglardis. When I was researching and writing the book Friend o’ Mine, the story of Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi, in the 1980s and early ‘90s, I had to get up way too early most Saturday mornings and meet Phil for breakfast (he preferred eggs, hash browns and coffee) at the Sandman Inn on Columbia Street.

He was an early riser, and he’d always be there waiting for me by the time I pulled in shortly before 7 a.m. We’d sit for hours talking about his life in politics and the church. Our meetings spanned the years just before and after his election as the mayor of Kamloops in 1988 but our discussions ranged back to his childhood.

I couldn’t help but like and admire this man with the huge ego and accomplishments to match. He wasn’t an easy interview because his own views didn’t always jibe with history, but it’s hard to argue with someone with his resume.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9378 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Legacy of Flying Phil and Jennie Gaglardi is finally recognized

  1. Donna Haynes // November 7, 2021 at 9:28 PM // Reply

    Very fitting indeed. He helped our family once in a very tragic time in our life. Was greatly appreciated. He used to have lunch at the Highlander and always would say Hello when passing. A nice man.

  2. Richard Carlson // November 7, 2021 at 3:55 PM // Reply

    Five foot five, and larger than life!

  3. Phil was unfailingly kind to so many. Often I’d be lugging 40 lbs if books to university and running late… he’d drive by and pick me up and I’d be at school in no time flat!

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