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David Toth (VE3GYQ)
February 26, 2010
As I have been getting re-introduced into HF and CW, after being out of it for nearly 10 years, I can't help but think of my good friend Dave.
Dave was born Aug. 11, 1954, in Windsor, Ontario. He was a year younger than I. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario Medical School in 1978 and practiced family medicine in London Ontario. He moved to the United States in 1993 and began a career in the ER, working at the nearby St. Rita’s Medical Center here in Lima until the time of his illness.
Dave's hobbies were not limited to ham radio, he was also into astronomy, flying, and I'm sure there were other things. He stayed busy and loved life. We would go to hamfests together in Toledo, Ft Wayne, Findlay, and occasionally Dayton. My schedule was usually the pits so sometimes we would miss some together. But... if I didn't go, he usually met me at the IHOP for breakfast the next week and filled me in on what was going on.
Those who knew Dave could safely say he was ornery at times. but under that tough persona he was a true humanitarian that just wanted the best for people.
If one of my kids was in the hospital, somehow he would find out and appear and make sure that medical staff was attending to their needs. He was very concerned for me, sometimes calling just to check up on how I was feeling when I had weeks of 14 hour days.
Dave pushed me kicking and screaming into DSTAR, which I use today, and also into IRLP and other digital modes. It was because of him that I decided that I would start rebuilding my HF station and re-learn CW. I'm sadden by the fact he never lived long enough to see some of my contacts since the rebuild.
Perhaps them best memory I have is in the last week of his life. He was in bed, unable to speak, and was fighting just to move. Knowing the end was near I said, "we'll always be friends". Dave mustered enough strength to nod his head to the affirmative.
God now has a wonderful person in his kingdom. I can only hope that I can get my CW skills back to the point where if Dave was living today he would smile and say, "See, I told you that you could do it!"
Contributed by: Frederick R. Vobbe (W8HDU)
I first became aware of Dave when I
operated a 10-watt repeater on 78/18 about
twenty miles south of Cleveland, OH in the
early 1970's. When the band opened up
across Lake Erie this repeater called
VE3TTT in London, ON would clobber mine.
By "clobber" I mean I could walk to the
end of my driveway, about 70 feet from my
antenna, and TTT was almost wiping my
repeater's signal out.
Dave jumped into our of our ***** sessions
about the interference and introduced
himself. We all became good friends even
though we had never met. He invited us to
his wedding in London, probably not
expecting any of us to accept. We all did.
Road trip! We drove through Detroit to get
to London, when London is almost due north
of Cleveland so it was a really long
drive. Dave, still never having met any of
us, told us where he put the key to his
apartment so we went in and made ourselves
home. He came home about 10 PM, opened the
door and promptly commented on, not all
the people, but the smell. :-)
He took us to his parents home, we went to
the wedding and became lifelong friends.
Coincidentally I was also a
firefighter/paramedic and Dave later
became the medical director for the EMS
services in the Lima, OH area. I remember
talking to some of the paramedics there
and they said they were having a hard time
keeping a medical director for even a year
but Dave did it for over a decade, I
think. They really liked him. At his
funeral an EMS helicopter did a flyover of
Dave was a truly amazing person, and as
W8HDU noted, not just an MD but an
astronomer with at least one supernova
discovery to his credit, a private pilot,
President of TAPR and I'm sure much more.
It's fairly common to meet someone who is
an expert in one field but it's very rare
to meet someone who was also an expert in
several fields and never behaved like it.
At his funeral his father related that
when Dave told him he wanted to become an
astronomer, his dad got mad and told him
he should become a doctor instead so he
could afford to buy a telescope. Probably
unexpectedly, Dave decided that was a
great idea so he did. That's the type of
person he was. No excuses, no waffling, he
just did what needed to be done. And
always with a lot of humor and
friendliness. I really miss you, Dave. And
yeah, he pushed me into DSTAR as well. :-)
Contributed by: Ray Pesek (WB8NXR)
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