Don, our club president, joined the silent keys on the other side of the DX on 26th December 2022 from complications recovering from COVID.
A message from his son, Dan.
To the members of the West Essex Amateur Radio Club,
On behalf of my family, I wanted to extend our gratitude and appreciation for your wonderful and heartfelt tribute to my Dad, which was a source of comfort after his unexpected passing.
The club brought my dad great happiness, and he looked forward to the regular meetings and Thursday morning breakfasts at the diner. My two boys (ages 7 and 9) had a wonderful time at the field day events bonding with their grandfather, including the most recent field day at the Grover Cleveland house. My dad’s passion for Ham radio had sparked their own interest, and he was teaching them morse code. Their time with their grandfather was too short, and I’m resolved to pick-up where he left off to ensure that they can follow their interest through to obtain their own licenses.
It’s my family’s sincerest hope that WEARC continues to flourish and grow as a tribute and legacy to my Dad! Hopefully in the not too distant future, two new young members will be applying for membership!
Our thanks for everything!
Don was first licensed at the age of 15 as a Novice in 1953 (KN2DEG) in Montclair, NJ. There was an article about him in the local paper. He went on to get General, Advanced and finally Extra Class licenses, He was also very proficient at CW having been an instructor during his military service as a sergeant in the Army National Guard for eight years.
Don was married to Marilyn for over 61 years, had two children and was a proud grandfather. Professionally he worked as a CPA and founded his own firm with a couple of partners in Fairfield, NJ finally retiring after enjoying 50 years with the firm. He also enjoyed playing the banjo, singing, collecting antique broadcast radios, and cooking.
Don had been a Ham for 69 years, a significant achievement. A member of the ARRL he was awarded the DX World Award in 2018, a life member of Ten Ten International (#1239) where he always took part in their contests. He wanted to pass down his Ham Radio experience, bringing his grandchildren to all the club events and getting them talking on the air.
We will always remember Don as a strong member of our club and it is fitting to see him pictured at our last club event, Grover Cleveland where he was passionately helping a young cub scout operate on air.
Some words from our members...
Don was a great guy as well as a leader. When WEARC's president, John, N2NO, passed away suddenly, Don stepped in and took his role. He helped the club move forward with club projects such as the satellite project and supporting the DMR switch. He was also a big help with VE sessions.
When COVID hit, we were no longer able to host our VE sessions at the Essex Fells building. Don, came up with the idea of asking his former company to allow us to use the covered driveway under their building for the sessions. This allowed us to start out "Stay in your car" VE sessions to get through COVID. These sessions were very successful, not only in helping to get operators licensed, but also adding members to the club.
Don was a big supporter of club social gatherings. Under his watch, the ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) group was started. Whomever would be available would gather for breakfast on a Thursday morning at one of the local diners. Due to my job, I was never able to join one of the breakfasts.
Don also supported an occasional diner gathering which was held at Don Pepe's restaurant. Don's one rule about the gathering was we had to order plenty of red sangria. These diners were attended by many of the members and some of their spouses. They were always a great time.
Don was a great operator. He would help on Field Day by working CW, gathering double points. He would be there to help with any special event, including our Grover Cleveland event. He will truly be missed.
Mike Luongo, K2NNN
I will remember his smile, his upbeat voice, his jokes, and his stories. I will miss him at our Thursday morning breakfasts. Don held the WEARC club together, keping us organized.
He was always willing to help another HAM with a problem if he could or would know someone who might be able to help. He will be truly missed.
Bill Kelly, NB1LL
It's had to put a date on when I first met Don but I believe it was 2017 at a WEARC meeting. The regulars told me about a well-dressed guy (rare for hams) who showed up to the previous meeting and they hoped he would return.
Don and I gravitated toward each other because of our business backgrounds. We tended to have a similar approach to club events and managing projects. The club president at the time took ill and had to vacate the position. When it came time to select a replacement, we all took a step back while Don took a step forward and thus became our new president. Don stepped in easily, and smoothly began leading the club. He is a natural at leadership.
Around this time, a group of us had decided to start a weekly breakfast club. We enjoyed discussions over breakfast with topics ranging from electronics, careers, growing up, and yes even politics. Don and I may not have always agreed but he was willing to hear the opposing view if you had facts. When either one of us could bring enough evidence to bear, the other conceded.
Don's adroit leadership kept us steadily moving forward with successful field trips to the battleship NJ, ARRL headquarters, Grover Cleveland, and a series of annual Field days with high point scores. He was always willing to do anything that he asked others to do.
Don spearheaded remodeling the club station and rewiring the antenna feed lines. Don was actively working on getting us a new and improved meeting place, post covid.
The club breakfasts have special importance to me. I've learned many things about my fellow hams (ROMEOS) or Retired Old Men Eating Out that has provided enjoyment and respect for their amazing experience and talents. Many times Don and I would be the last ones left at the restaurant leading to one on one discussions.
Don and I shared a strong bond having learned that our career paths had intertwined over the last 40 years. My accountant in 1983 was actually Dons partner. Don validated my bad experiences with the guy and the reason he was no longer at Don's firm. We discovered that we had several clients and associates in common during our careers. Had I known Don at that time it might have made a significant improvement for my firm over the years. We always had a great time reminiscing and comparing notes.
I enjoyed working with him. I enjoyed his warmth and friendship. I am going to miss him greatly.
Benett Rosen, AC2NI
My first introduction to Don and the members of WEARC came about just prior to the 2022 Ham Radio Field Day. Previously, I had attended the club's weekly meetings on-line and was anxious to meet some of the members in person.
Over one's lifetime you may personally meet and remember, I would guess, more that 1500-2000 people if not more. Some of these meetings fly right by and others remain with you as you work to establish long term friendships (and relationships). Such was my initial meeting with Don. A warm, firm handshake and direct eye contact from a fellow who had an e-mail address of 'otmusic@ ….net' was what I needed and received at that point in time.
Don and I shared an interest in music as well as ham radio, sharing many memorable moments focusing on the NY Paramount Theatre and the Theatre District going back over 40-50 years if not more. Although our friendship was all too brief, I feel that I have known Don much longer – more like the 50 years when we treaded the same turf in Times Square.
A man of impeccable warmth, honesty and wit, Don will be dearly missed and most certainly remembered.
My sincere condolences to the Saltzman Family and to my fellow members of WEARC.
May Don rest in eternal peace.
John E Beck Sr, KD2WGN
Don became club president about the time I joined the club in 2019. He helped me adjust to being a good member helping me deal with some comments and issues. During the many unofficial club breakfasts I got to know Don better, learn that he helped many members behind the scenes as well as hear his stories of his early life: like running a teenage business showing movie films, endless trips into the city to buy surplus radio parts.
Don was an inspiration to the club, will be a difficult president to replace but whatever happens I hope his desire to keep the club alive and to attract younger members will survive.
We missed our Holiday Club Dinner this year, perhaps at next years dinner we can take a moment to remember Don and show him we continued as WEARC.
Steve Wilcox, N2DH
While I have not known Don long, as I became more active in WEARC I began to interact with him more consistently and he was always up for a conversation.
In my short time with the club my most cherished memory is from Grover Cleveland day, which he was quite fond of. Don truly enjoyed teaching and talking about amateur radio with the younger people. Don took a lot of time talking radio and CW. He worked with numerous scouts that day and it was east to see the joy on his face. That's what I'll remember most.
Don will truly be missed, he was an inspiration.
CJ - KD2TZX
BARRY SCHAEFFER OBITUARY
Barry Schaeffer, 90, passed away Friday morning, September 30, 2022 at his Parsippany, NJ home. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Barry had moved with his family to Lake Hiawatha as a teenager. He worked at Transistor Devices Inc. of Randolph for over 25 years before his retirement in 1997. A man of many trades, he could repair anything! He had also previously owned Par-Troy Auto Parts and an outdoor sports store. Barry was a volunteer with the Parsippany Office of Emergency Management and an avid amateur radio operator. He loved boating, cooking, and spending time in his convertible Mini Cooper.
A note from Mike, K2NNN:
Barry, WA2UEM, was an avid lover of HF. His love for HF was infectious. He would always talk about making contacts around the world without the use of the Internet. This love for HF became a big influence on me. I began my radio experience with CB so I spent hours trying to work skip. Once I became a ham, I had the opportunity to realize my dream of long distance communication. With Barry’s help and support, he encouraged me to get my HF station up and running.
Even in the beginning when I had my first antenna, which was limiting, Barry kept telling me to just try and make contacts and not worry about the compromises. He was right. I would find a clear spot on the band and just call CQ. Low and behold someone would come back to my call. I was bitten by the HF bug.
I would love listening to the stories Barry would tell. He had many many contacts over the years including a QSO with King Hussein of Jordan. He also loved making contacts with the many DXpeditions over the years. Simply put, anything HF made him happy.
I will truly miss Barry, but he will live on every time I turn on my rig. I hope he has many DX contacts during his eternal rest.
Amateur radio had a great loss with the passing of John Paul Burgio of North Caldwell, W2JB and his wife, Jane. John had an extensive background in electronics: After earning a degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University he worked for the Federal Communications Commission inspecting ship radios and transmitters. During World War II, as a second lieutenant, John served with the 977 Signal Service Command in the Mediterranean theater. Later, John served in Greece setting up radio stations to report to Allied headquarters.
Years after, John worked for RCA in Philadelphia and later became president of a family-owned tire business in West Caldwell.
A champion in promoting amateur radio, John was recognized for the lifetime award by the American Radio Relay League and by the Quarterly Century Wireless Association. In addition, he was honored by Sen. Barry Goldwater for his work in freeing American civilian vessels being held for ransom in Indonesia.
More recently he helped in restoring Grover Cleveland’s birthplace.
Politically: Jane, John’s wife, was a former New Jersey Secretary of State under Gov. Thomas Kane. She also served in the New Jersey state assembly
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Harold was a resident of West Caldwell, New Jersey since 1973. In his later retirement years, Harold became a snowbird who spent his winters in Longboat Key, Florida. An army veteran and a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harold was an electrical engineer who worked on the space program at General Motors and at Kearfott Guidance & Navigation. He retired in 1998.
Harold was an active member of the West Essex Amateur Radio Club, the Red Cross in both Florida and New Jersey, and in the Sarasota Emergency Radio Club. He was an accomplished swimmer who always felt his best when swimming laps in the pool. Harold was a model railroad enthusiast and a member of RealRail in Bradenton, FL. He was a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan.
I am very sad to announce that John Weinfeld N2NO has gone silent key. He was our club president and will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace our friend. 73
N2NO remembered by Mike Hartmann, NI2S
I first met John on the front steps of the Grover Cleveland Junior High School in Caldwell, waiting for the doors to open on the first day of school.I was apprehensive of my first day at this new school, and John's cheerful welcoming demeanor and dry humor helped put me at ease.By stroke of luck, we wound up in many classes together.Shortly thereafter along came Alan Machbitz, K2AJV, and in the ensuing months and years the three of us became a unit.After we all transitioned to high school, the three of us got caught up in the CB Radio craze, and we all acquired CB gear and met regularly on the air, forming our own chat net of sorts.Around this time I introduced both John and Alan to Ham Radio.My father, an electrical engineer, was a ham since his own high school days, so, while I was not licensed yet, I was very familiar with the world of Ham Radio.John was very good in math, and he enrolled in an introductory Physics class in High School, and there discovered that the Physics teacher, Bill Grahn, was a licensed ham, and that the High School actually had a dormant radio club which included an equipped radio room and a beam antenna on the roof of the High School.Mr. Grahn happily reconstituted the JCHS Radio Club for us, and immediately encouraged us to get our Novice license, hosting sessions to help us with the Novice theory, and also to practice Morse Code (in those days you had to copy Morse Code at 5 wpm to get your license).As a trio, we all started attending the Livingston Amateur Radio Club(W2MO "mighty MO") meetings, where my father was President of the club.
When we were all ready, we ventured into Manhattan to take the license exam at the FCC field office there.We were with a couple other kids from the club and also the High School, and one of their parents escorted us into the City.It was a grand adventure which included nearly getting separated from our chaperone on the famed NYC Subway system.We arrived at the famed FCC building on Varick street, and we all took and passed our Novice tests.Of the three of us, John advanced to higher classes of license fairly quickly, though Alan and I lagged behind.Meanwhile, after we got our tickets, we all began participating in Field Day through the LARC club, of which I had already been attending LARC field days, always located at the Hilltop picnic area of Overlook Sanatorium on the Verona/Cedar Grove border. We all caught the Field Day illness, and we stuck with Field Day even after LARC withered and died, managing to get permission from Essex County to use the increasingly neglected Hilltop site until one year Essex County finally said 'No', and we had to find another location, which we did.
After we graduated high school, John elected to attend the University of Delaware at Newark to pursue a degree in Electronics Engineering.Ham Radio played a key role in shaping John's technology interests into adulthood, and also there was some mentoring help from my father in introducing John to the world of electronics.Once John graduated, he applied for a civilian job with the Department of Defense and was accepted for a position working out of Fort Monmouth, developing into a life-long career of public service supporting our nation's military. Much of his work at DOD was classified, but it did have something to do with communications, and he also developed expertise in what was then secret emerging technology that we all take for granted today:the Global Positioning System or GPS.John retired from the DOD several years ago, and took up tutoring children as an alternate career – a job he thoroughly enjoyed.
Throughout these years, John, Alan, and I kept in close contact – we continued to be a unit of sorts, and for many years we would hold weekly 'court' at Franco's Pizzeria in West Caldwell, where the waitresses, and owners all knew us by name, and they would order for us without us ever having to look at a menu.And of course, there was always Field Day.John liked to experiment with exotic wire antenna designs during field day, and frankly this would drive me a bit nuts because his antenna's rarely actually worked, to his own amusement.In the end I sometimes think John did this just to needle me, because we seemed to always be competing for last place in our operating category, and I, as a reasonably competitive guy, I didn't enjoy coming in last place.John didn't really care all that much about placement, but he did really enjoy trying out all those failed antenna designs.As he said himself once, at least we knew what didn't work!Indeed.
For some time John had been attending the Irvington-Roseland Amateur Radio Club, K2GQ.John invited me to give it a try, and I attended a few meetings but felt the club dynamics were not for me. Apparently, a number of IRAQ members felt similarly, and eventually decided to split off and start their own club – the West Essex Amateur Radio Club – WEARC.Interestingly, while John gave me a heads up that a new club was forming, John himself did not immediately join WEARC, so I wound up being one of the "founding members" where John was not, but he did join soon after the club was incorporated, and eventually stopped participating in IRAC and devoted his energies to WEARC instead.Alan also joined for a time, but eventually moved farther away making attendance difficult.
Over the years WEARC was a consistent part of our lives, and John was eventually elected President of the club, a capacity he served in for many years, and I believe I am not mistaken that he became the longest serving President of the club, either coordinating or officiating over club activities, particularly the annual Grover Cleveland Special Event, Field Day (of course), and V/E Sessions, providing many aspiring hams with a conduit to obtain their license.
It is here that the story comes to a rather shocking close.John developed a serious rare illness, though his Doctors were optimistic, John suffered a series of cascading health set-backs in rapid succession, and after a short, tough fight, succumbed to the illness.N2NO is now a Silent Key, having now joined the other WEARC luminary President Emeritus – Joe Valley, Bob Lange, Brian Keegan, Bob Marsh and Tom Simko (Tom also passed away too soon, and tragically).
I have known John Weinfeldt for more than 40 years, and our lives were very much intertwined.To understate it, he will be missed.
73 Old Man, until the propagation allows for us to meet again,
Mike Hartmann, NI2S
The West Essex Amateur Radio Club lost one of it's own this past Friday, July 25, 2008. Tom Simko succumbed to a fiercely fought long illness. Tom served two terms as President of the Club from 2004 to 2005. He was a ham's ham - enthusiastic about the hobby, always inquisitive, and always supportive of his fellow club members. Tom was a quiet, soft-spoken man who was universally respected and admired. It is a terrible loss for the Club, and we know a far more devastating loss for his young family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Franklyn M. Grosso Contractor who led Utility Contractors Association of N.J. during early growth period, of West Orange, 85 Franklyn M. Grosso, 85, of West Orange, N.J., passed away on May 25, 2016. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Joseph's Church, 44 Benvenue Ave., West Orange, on Wednesday, June 1. Interment followed at St. Teresa Cemetery in Summit, N.J.
Born in Summit, N.J., the son of Samuel and Annette Grosso, Frank had lived in West Orange since 1956. He was a graduate of Seton Hall Preparatory School and received his bachelor of science degree from Seton Hall University. Frank was an officer and director of LaFera Contracting Company for over 50 years. He was a founder and the first president of the Utility Contractors Association of New Jersey, which grew from 20 members in the early years to over 1,100 today. He served as a director for the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association (UTCA) for over 40 years and also served on its national board. Frank was a member of the New Jersey National Guard for 12 years. He became a licensed amateur radio operator in his teens, which was his lifelong hobby. Frank's other interests ranged from his love of music and literature to flying his Cessna, birdwatching, and boating at the Jersey Shore. Frank was the beloved husband of 63 years to Marianne. He was the loving father of Franklyn Grosso Jr.; Kathryn Saturni and her husband, Tony; Joseph Grosso and his wife, Wendy; the late Minette McKenna and her husband Ken; Christopher Grosso and his wife, Andrea, and Suzanne Loth and her husband, Ted. He is also survived by his 13 cherished grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank's memory may be made to Minette's Angels, P.O. Box 94, Verona, N.J. 07044-0094.
John, N2NO Frank, K2MLB