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Bob Golder - W1WYZ - SK (Dec 8, 2008)

South Portland, ME

A Tribute From Bob's close friend Dana Luke

We all lost so much from our lives with the recent, totally unexpected passing of Bob W1WYZ.  The shock of his sudden passing will take days or weeks to sink in...  as I write this I still can't believe that he's gone from our lives.  Bob passed while alone in his office on Congress Street on Monday, December 8th.  The cause was something so sudden that Bob was never able to call for help and was found passed out, already dead, on the floor.  There was no signs that he suffered or had any distress...  he just seemed to have passed out, maybe from an aneurism, heart attack, or heart arrhythmia (which he had been diagnosed with 30 or so years ago.)

Bob was as close to an Elmer as I had when I was 15 years old and getting into Ham radio.  Bob had recently moved back to Maine from Salt Lake City Utah, and was establishing himself in the typewriter repair business (remember the IBM Selectric?).  His wife, who had moved here with him, had decided to divorce and move back to Salt Lake City, so Bob put the house they had recently purchased on the market.  It so happened that Bob heard me on channel 16 lower sideband on CB and decided that I was maybe Ham radio material, so he would talk to me on his Yaesu FT-101 that he had installed in his Chevy El Camino (remember those?  half car, half pickup truck).  Eventually he stopped by our house one day and showed me his rig and how he operated on the MARS nets.  I was totally blown away by how professional he was as an operator and his overall demeanor.  And I fell in love with that Yaesu and the El Camino.  My dad also met Bob and they became friends too...  and my parents bought Bob's house.  He left behind his 40' tower, which served me well for the next 12 years that I lived there.

After a year of so, Bob had remarried and sort of drifted away from the Ham radio thing.  He was only a Novice class license and back then they were not renewable!  We lost contact over time except for the occasional run-in at a restaurant or on the street.

3 years ago, I got a call from Bob telling me that he was getting back into Ham radio, and could I give him some advice about what rig to buy, etc., and help him get caught up on what's going on in the hobby?  It was great to have him back!  Bob quickly got his Tech and General tickets and, with no little amount of "Elmering" from yours truly, quickly put together a world-class station with a Yaesu FT-920, FL-7000 KW amp, 70' tower, and a SteppIR beam.  Oh, and 3 FT-2800's, an FT-8900, a VX-7r (black), and a VX-3r.  He worked 3000 stations last year alone.  He was one of the primary Net Control stations on the Maritime Net, and handled traffic locally too.  Many local hams have gotten phone calls from Bob with traffic that there license was due for renewal, or congratulations on an upgrade, etc.  Everything Bob did he did with total commitment and competence.  From his personal appearance, to his car, his home, his station, his boat... whatever he did it was always done the right way.

Bob was always there to help and give back to all he met.  He put up several towers and antennas for other hams, lent out gear to those in need, gave people rides to ham fests, and most of all was a good and true friend to all who met him.  He was a guy you could just totally depend on.  If Bob gave you his word, there was no doubt he would carry through what he said he'd do.  He was a real "class act", always comporting himself in such a way that you were proud to be known as his friend.  He had that kind of self-confidence that allowed him to be the target for lots of jokes without ever taking it the wrong way.  You might say he had "thick skin" and a huge heart to go along with it.  In all the years I've known him, Bob never seemed to have any enemies, only friends and people he hadn't made friends with yet.

Bob was like an older brother to me... he was a man I totally respected and in many ways I saw things in him that I admired and wanted to emulate in my own life.  We are all lucky in our lifetimes if we meet and have somebody in our lives like Bob...  even if it's for way too short a time.  His life touched mine and I'm so much better of for having known him.  I know I'll miss him for the rest of my life in so many ways.  We always joked with Bob and called him "Go Ahead Bob"...  well, now he truly has gone ahead, ahead to a new spiritual place where I hope he's able to find peace and solace and all the antennas have a 1:1 SWR.  Goodbye my friend.