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Layton Ruse - W4VBQ - SK (Nov 16, 2005)

On behalf of the net, let me express my profound sadness after hearing of Layton's passing.  He had been a net control station since the net was founded.  He always had a joke (sometimes not the best and he would admit it) and he was always available to assist the net when required.  My sincere condolences to his family for their loss.


Here is an entry at the Library of Congress concerning Layton's devotion to the hobby.

(Extension of Remarks - April 30, 1992)

HON. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN in the House of Representatives
Thursday, April 30, 1992

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Layton Ruse for his devotion to helping people through the use of his ham radio.  For three decades, Layton Ruse has traveled the world from his radio console, helping folks in trouble, and giving vital information.  He has kept communication alive when natural and other disasters have severed normal lines of communication.  The Miami Herald profiled his work in the follow article:

You can tell where Layton Ruse lives.  His is the house with the 60-foot-tall antennas reaching to the sky to touch the world.

He has good friends he has never met, and yet at times the world beats a path to his door.

Ruse 71, has been a ham radio operator for more than 30 years.  Through his call letters, W4VBQ, he has talked to other hams--he won't hazard a guess as to how many--in hundreds of countries, including Russia, Finland, Africa, Burman and China.

'You make a lot of friends, but you nearly never get to meet or see them,' he says.

In the specially built garage room at his West Miami home, Ruse has power supplies, antenna controls, a phone patch control and a transceiver for transmitting and receiving calls.

As a ham, a licensed operator of an amateur radio station, he sometimes spends up to four hours a day scanning the radio bands designated for hams by the Federal Communications Commission.

'It's something that just grows on you,' said Ruse, who worked for the Dictaphone company for 33 years until he retired at 65.

He gets the most satisfaction as amateur radio coordinator for the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, He's in charge of 18 hams who work in shifts and relay information to weather forecasters when hurricanes threaten within 300 miles of a land mass.  They pick up weather information from islands, ships and planes.

'Many areas, especially islands, have no other way of communicating or learning of hurricanes except through hams,' said Ruse, who has worked with the center for 12 years.

Vivian Jorge, administrative officer at the center, said the hams were a big help when communications were cut.

'They get through, and they'll have information before anybody else,' she said.  'They definitely perform a valuable service.'

One of Ruse's most trying times came during three weeks in September 1965, when an army general in the Dominican Republic rebelled against the government.  'There was rioting, our government lost contact with officials and it relied on amateur radio operators for communications,' said Ruse.

His wife, Virginia Mae, his XYL--ex-young lady in ham parlance--is supportive.  'A lot of wives don't like it,' says Ruse's wife of 50 years.  'But it keeps him out of trouble.'

And it gets other people out of trouble, too.

'You help a lot of people,' Ruse said, 'and probably save a lot of lives'.

Mr. Speaker, I commend Layton Ruse for turning his hobby into a means of community service.  I wish W4VBQ many more years on the air.

The National Hurricane Center (WX4NHC) has also posted a tribute to Layton.  Click here.

Obituary In The Miami Herald
RUSE, LAYTON NEWMAN, was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, on July 9, 1917, and moved to Miami at the age of six, where he lived with his parents, Orla Allen Ruse and Lena Belle Wiseman Ruse, and his sisters, Maxine and Beverly. He attended classes at area schools, including Gables Elementary and Ponce de Leon and Miami Senior High Schools. Layton's wife Virginia Mae also attended Miami High, but they did not meet there. Among other jobs, he worked as a Police Photographer, a background artist on "Popeye" cartoons, and for more than 30 years with Dictaphone Corporation, as a technician and then as District Service Manager. Layton served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II as a radio operator, mechanic, and gunner on heavy bombers; he and the rest of his B-17 crew were once shot down by a German U-Boat while on a mission between Florida and South America, and were picked up by the crew of a U.S. Navy ship. He was a member of the American Legion, Coral Gables Post 98. An avid Amateur Radio operator, Layton enjoyed making contact and building friendships over the air with other "Ham" operators around the country and the world, and was thankful for the many friends he met over the years. He served as Net Control on the Intercontinental Traffic Net, Hurricane Watch Net, Maritime Mobile and Coast Guard Nets since the early days of those nets. Layton was for many years a volunteer radio operator with the National Hurricane Center in Miami and for eight years served as the Coordinator for the Ham volunteers manning the station there. He frequently did volunteer work as a radio communicator with the March of Dimes Walkathon and with the Dade County School System's "Odyssey of the Mind program." His other main hobby was leather craft, and the leather project of which he was most proud was the custom-made leather wristband worn by actor Paul Hogan in the 1996 Universal Pictures movie, "Flipper." Layton is survived by his wife of 63 years, Virginia Mae Ruse; his son, Gary Alan Ruse; his sister, Maxine Hostetter; his nephew, Kurt Hostetter; niece, Donna Hostetter Frederick; and grand- nephew, Jason Frederick. He passed away on the night of November 16th after a long illness. His sense of humor, ready wit and desire to help others endeared him to many. A devoted family man and loyal friend, Layton will be greatly missed by all who knew him. The viewing will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22 at the Van Orsdel Funeral Home at 4600 S.W. 8th Street, Coral Gables. Services will be held at the Van Orsdel Chapel at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 23, with burial at Woodlawn Cemetery.

To visit this Guest Book Online, go to
Published in The Miami Herald on 11/21/2005