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Donald J. Hopper (WA6GVJ)
August 28, 2000
Don Hopper, WA6GVJ had been diving at Pescadero Point near Pebble Beach California with his brother on August 28, 2000. Don dove under water with his brother Raymond Hopper, and their friend, Bret Jacoby, both of San Jose. But because visibility was poor, Don's brother decided to come back up to the surface. Don never surfaced.
Raymond and Bret told officials they waited about 20 minutes, then searched under water until exhausting their air supply. The Monterey County sheriff's dive team and the U.S. Coast Guard searched unsuccessfully as well.
Don's body was found December 8th floating on the ocean surface 80 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. He was spotted by an empty oil tanker on the way back to Alaska. The empty tanker, which was too high in the water to do anything, dropped a marker buoy and notified the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard went out and picked him up and found that the air tank had Don's name on it. Don was cremated and his ashes were spread in the ocean by the Neptune Society. Don's ashes were spread at the same Latitude and Longitude as his fathers. (Don's father died 4 days after hearing of Don's scuba diving accident.)
Don had graduated from California Cal-Poly Institute as an Electrical Engineer in March 1967. He received his Masters from the Univ. of CA, Los Angeles Campus. His career began as a power supply designer at JPL in California. Don left JPL and went to work for Hughes Aircraft Company in California in March 1972. In 1994 Don moved his family to Tucson Arizona and continued his work with Hughes (now Raytheon). After a long and successful career Don retired from Raytheon on July 7, 2000. He was regarded by all in his field to be a true expert Power Supply design.
Don first received his Amateur Radio License in 1959. He received a Certificate of Proficiency in Reception of Continental Code from American Radio Relay League on June 17, 1960 - just before his 15th birthday. Don was a member of the Raytheon Catalina Radio Club in Tucson Arizona. Don had also been a member of the American Radio League for over 30 years. Don is missed by all of his friends, colleagues and hams.
Contributed by: Thomas J. Fagan (WB7NXH)
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