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Scudder Georgia (KD3P)
26 December 2000
"W. Scudder Georgia, Jr. 86, Covert Communications Expert, Medal of Freedom Recipient" (Based on his obituary in the Washington Post, 28 December 2000)
W. Scudder Georgia, Jr. 86, a covert communications expert who was awarded the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, for his services to the nation during World War II, died of cancer Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 26, 2000) at his home in Bethesda, Md., with family at his bedside. After attending Hobart College, he was recruited by the OSS because of his extensive Amateur Radio experience. He trained U.S. and Allied radio operators, and served in North Africa, Italy, Greece and China, often parachuting in and setting up clandestine radio stations behind enemy lines.
After the war, he became a charter member of the newly formed CIA, operating in many countries including Germany and Britain, where he was Chief Of Communications for Europe, and holding key communications roles during the Bay of Pigs and the Kennedy assassination, among others. He also held chief posts at CIA headquarters in Langley, including acting as the Agency's senior representative to the National Communications System. He retired from the Agency in 1973, after more than 25 years exceptional service, and was awarded the Career Intelligence Medal.
Georgia then began a new career of community service, with work at the Landon School in Bethesda, performing jobs ranging from Headmaster's Assistant to school bus driver, and volunteer work at the National Lutheran Home in Rockville, MD, where he was a frequent and well-loved visitor to the elderly residents. He was a co-founder and faithful pillar of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bethesda, serving as President of the Church Council among many other posts. He also regularly swam and went ice-skating with handicapped and learning-disabled children, up until a year before his death. For his support to the community, he was named the Montgomery Journal's Man of the Year in 1995.
His avocations were as varied and adventurous as his work. During his years with the CIA, he built and raced automobiles and hydroplanes. He took up SCUBA diving at the age of 74, and liked it so well that he encouraged some of his children, and even his grandchildren, to learn the sport, so they could go diving with him. He parachuted out of an airplane for his 80th birthday, having decided that his previous parachute experiences - from approximately 100 ft, under cover of darkness and under enemy fire - had not been particularly enjoyable. He had an extensive network of friends and admirers among Amateur Radio Operators around the world, among whom the quality and wit of his transmissions were universally acknowledged. He was an avid DXer and cw operator, a former contester and member of the PVRC, and an elmer and ragchew companion to many. (His best friend, Richard "Scotty" Scott, W3EFZ, with whom he kept a thrice-weekly schedule for decades, became an SK in February, 2000).
Survivors include his wife, Gladys Georgia, a teacher of art and art history at Landon School from 1948 to 1982, his sons Willis S. Georgia III, a financial planner, his son Jeffrey D. Georgia (N1DZT), an interventional radiologist at the National Naval Medical Center, and his daughter, Jennifer Georgia, a speechwriter, as well as his sister, Elizabeth Stevens, and six grandchildren.
Contributed by: Maury A. Peiperl (W3EF)
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