K6CAY - November 15, 2003

Otho 'Och' Lawrence

K6CAY(SK)Och was born in Stockton, CA on Sep. 25th, 1907. He attended elementary schools in Lathrop, CA; Mesa, AZ; Tracy, CA; Santa Clara, CA, and he graduated from the Santa Clara High School. While in high school he participated in tennis, football, track, and basketball.

It was during his high school days that Och became interested in amateur radio, because of Harry Engwich (W6HC) and Frank Quement (W6NX). Och was 1st licensed as 6CWD in 1924, but didn't appear in the callbook until 1925. During those early years, Och was more interested in building and fixing rigs than he was in operating them.

After high school, Och attended San Jose State University for just over a year, with a major in sports and a minor in math. Pacific Telephone Co. hired him as a basketball player in 1928, and the team won their industrial league games. A bit later, Och was the only member of the team to pass a test given by the Superintendant of the company, and Och was made a Central Office Repairman. Eventually, he also did outside repairs, "and just about everything else".

During WWII, Och became a teletype repairman for the whole division (from San Louis Obispo to northern CA), and was involved with maintaining "code room" equipment. After the war, Och became a Supervisor for PBX, mobile radio, and teletypes. Because of the mobile radio, Och got his Commercial License, as well as reviving his pre-war amateur license (as K6CAY).

In 1952, Och was transferred to the Chief Engineer's Dept., where he worked on radio transmission and broadband carrier systems in Northern California and Nevada. Och was promoted to Staff Engineer in 1953, and held that title until his retirement in 1972. Och married his 2nd wife Ethel in 1987, and the couple are avid golfers.

Och says, "I am very happy to have been in ham radio for 75 years. I have made friends all over the World. Lately I only enjoy working the nets!"

Och is also a member of SARO, ARRL, SIRARC, SCCARA, IEEE, and the Islam ARC. He is a Blue Lodge Mason, Scottish Rite, Shrine, Argonauts (travel), and OCTA (Pioneer Trails West). His other hobbies are travel, golf, sailing, and gardening.

Congratulations on 75 years, Och, and here's to many more!

Och entered the hospital on November 8th, and died November 15th, 2003 at age 96. He was liked by all his Masonic and Amateur Radio brothers, and will be sorely missed by the same, as well as his wife Ethel, family members, and friends.

Fly high, Och, you're off to a better place -- but we'll miss you!

--- Jim Williams (K6HIO) President of QCWA Chapter 11.