A few weeks ago, I lost a really good friend. Bill Koeth W2WK passed away after suffering from cancer. I first met Bill through the Piscataway Amateur Radio Club back in the early 90s. I was honored to serve as his vice-president for two terms before going on to take that office, myself.
Bill could best be described as a "gentle giant" and he was as good as they come. He was a master machinist and after he retired he fabricated some dang good straight keys. I'm glad to have one. He was a true CW Ham and he was always getting me to get on the air with him so that he could "practice".
We attended so many events together. Dayton, various Hamfests, special events, parties, meetings - we were good friends. In addition to being his friend, I truly respected him. He was the kind of person that people aspire to be.
I will miss Bill greatly and was truly heartbroken when I learned that he had passed. He is survived by his wife Janet K2MOM and is son Tim K0ETH.
I received another shock this morning when an e-mail was copied to the NOGA reflector. It mentioned that Jim Stafford W4QO had passed away. Jim is a member of the QRP Hall of Fame, was a stalwart of the NOGA QRP Group and was truly a general all around great guy.
I have two special memories of Jim which I will always treasure. One of the first times I QSOed with Jim, I had technical difficulties (I don't remember exactly what went wrong) that caused me to "disappear". Jim actually looked up my e-mail from QRZ and sent me an e-mail asking me if I was okay! That's the kind of guy Jim was. I e-mailed him back to explain what had happened, and he was glad that nothing serious had happened.
Jim was also one of the two Hams who actually took to the air after Hurricane Sandy to see if I was safe and all right. Jim W4QO and another Jim, W1PID, both called me on the HF bands in the days after the chaos here, just asking if me and my family were okay. I will never, ever forget either one of them for that.
I had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Jim many times. He was always friendly, kind and courteous, Cancer took both of them - way, way, way too soon. There are just so many people who make a deep impression on you. The two gentlemen did that to me.
Rest in peace, Bill and Jim. We're all poorer for your absence, but richer for having you as friends.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!