Academy mourns loss of longtime faculty member, instructor

  • Published
  • Department of Foreign Languages

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- On Sept. 9, 2019, thousands were shocked to hear that Madame Elaine Tendetnik had suddenly passed away. Originally from Dearborn, Michigan, Tendetnik was an instructor of French, the pioneer of the Academy Faculty Senate, a trained French chef, a sommelier, a wife, a mother and so much more.

Her husband, Maj. Pavel Tendetnik, her three children, Jessica, Alexander, and Catherine, colleagues from the Academy, friends and the thousands of cadets to whom she was a second mom remember her as a beacon of hope and love. Teaching French at the Academy for over 13 years, she touched countless lives. Her focus in teaching was on the culture, in addition to the language, because she understood that no two cultures (or people) are the same.

While she loved her cadets and colleagues, there was no one she loved more than her family, especially her husband of nine years, Pavel. Her relationships with those who loved her were all different and she will be missed by all. Her impact on the Air Force Academy will be felt for generations.