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Sidney Purser (WD5CPZ)
(This is going to be a rambling discussion about the time that WD5CPZ and I were friends.)
Sidney Purser, WD5CPZ (SK), was an attorney living in the Austin (Tx) area when I knew him in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
I'd grown up in San Marcos (near Austin) in the 1960's and early 1970's but then a tour in the Air Force took me far away
from central Texas and when I got back, to finish up college, it had been over four years since I'd been on the air from home.
I think that Sidney had not been a ham before I went off to the Air Force and so I was a new voice to him on the Austin repeaters when he heard me on the air in the late 1970's from his (then) home on Onion Creek, out in the country near Austin.
Sidney told me later that he'd noticed me on the repeaters when I spoke with my old friend Mr. James Hodge (W5AEQ, SK) due to the fact that I addressed Mr. Hodge as 'Mister Hodge'. (I'd first met Mr. Hodge when I was in high school and, as he was quite senior to me, I'd always addressed him formally.) When Sidney told me that (much later) I smiled to myself.
I can't remember how Sidney and I first met but it was probably on one of the Austin 2M repeaters and in short order he invited me out to see his ham station. Sidney's place on Onion Creek looked like it was out of the Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) catalog and 'Better Homes And Gardens Magazine'; everything was just like it should be. The house had a stunning view of Onion Creek out the back and Sidney's ham gear was the stuff that most hams only dreamed about.
Sidney wasn't one to talk about himself but I gathered that he'd taught Law at the University Of Texas (Austin) at one time and that he'd been a practicing Attorney for many years in Austin.
When Sidney and I first met I'd gone back to college (Texas A&M) and so I was in-and-out from home (by then Lockhart,
south of Austin) and so my contacts with Sidney were intermittent.
When I graduated I got a job as a Microwave Field Engineer for Rockwell-Collins and that also (like being off at school and the Air Force) kept me away from home a lot but I'd see Sidney when home for holidays and vacations.
Sidney was good about keeping in-touch with my mother (she lived by herself in Lockhart when I was gone off somewhere about the country on my job) and I thought for awhile that Sidney had talked mom into learning the Morse Code (I'd tried to interest her for years).
I don't know much about Sidney's personal life except that he had been married and had a son living in or near Blacksburg, Virginia.
By about 1980 Sidney had sold his place on Onion Creek and bought into a condominium in Austin. The building had been apartments previously and when Sidney bought into the condos he got signed-on as the attorney, so got to write the restrictions; he wrote in his right to put up a tower and antennas ....
My job kept me traveling all the time and so I was flying in-and-out of Austin every few months as I'd get home to see my mother and then go back on another job. Several times I can remember looking out the window of the plane and seeing Sidney's KLM beam shinning in the sunlight(I knew what to look for).
During one Christmas holiday (1981 I think) Sidney and I went to Houston and went to the ham stores plus visited people and places from our childhoods (Sidney had been a child in Houston and so had I - about 25 years difference).
One of his childhood chums was an elementary school principal (in a part of Houston that I wasn't familiar with, a few miles north, or NNW, of downtown).
(This rambling discussion is about
to end in a sad way so be prepared.)
I last saw Sidney in May 1982 (I was in Austin to do some shopping and stopped by to say hello) and after being home for a few days (visiting my mother) I went off on a microwave job in eastern Kentucky. A few weeks later, as Field Day approached, I was planning to set up a portable station from a hilltop and I tried to contact Sidney to set up a schedule but I couldn't reach him. It was a bit over a month later that my mother told me (during a phone call) that she'd heard the night before, on one of the Austin TV stations, that a local attorney had died some weeks after being in an automobile accident. She wasn't sure but she thought that she'd heard Sidney's name. I phoned another Austin area ham that I'd known for years, Tom Williams, W5LUL (SK), and he confirmed the sad news. Several weeks before Sidney had been driving early one morning to meet a client at breakfast and he was involved in an accident with a truck.
The news of Sidney's death was very painful and I managed to get to take a few days off and return to Texas for the memorial service in Austin.
This isn't a satisfactory telling about a man's life but it's better than not saying anything.
Sidney was my friend, a good and
decent man, and I'm sorry that
I didn't get to know him longer.
- Paul Nix, WB5AGF
19 May 2008
Contributed by: Paul N. Nix (WB5AGF)
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