ARRL Southeastern Division Vice Director Sandy Donahue, W4RU (SK) The ARRL is sad to report that Southeastern Division Vice Director Sandy Donahue, W4RU, of Dothan, Alabama, passed away on May 4. He was 63. Donahue, an ARRL Life Member, served as Vice Director since January 2002 and as Georgia Section Manager from 1997-2001. In his professional life, Donahue worked at a television station in Atlanta for almost 25 years before retiring.
Licensed for almost 50 years, Donahue received his first call sign -- WA4ABY -- at age 15. Exhibiting a lifelong commitment to public service throughout his amateur career, he always supported the ARRL and the Amateur Radio Service. Donahue was a fixture at every major hamfest in Southeastern Division -- and many across the country -- as well as many of the smaller ones in his area, promoting the ARRL. He spent the weekend of May 2-3 at the Birming Hamfest 2009.
Former Southeastern Division Director and current ARRL Honorary Vice President Frank Butler, W4RH, appointed Donahue as an Assistant Director in 1982. "We spent hours and hours together at the ARRL table at so many hamfests and conventions," Butler recalled. "Sandy became my Vice Director in 2002, and in the next six years, I got to really know him. Over the past 26 years, we must have sold more than $100,000 worth of ARRL books, study guides, operating aids, pins, patches and stickers. Sandy was always promoting the League to hams, encouraging them to become active members of the ARRL. He took great pride in the number of people who joined the ARRL through him."
Butler said that after a hard day's work at the ARRL booth, "all Sandy ever wanted was a good dinner! He loved to eat, and he showed me many fine places to do that, from Atlanta to Birmingham, to Orlando to Miami! I'm glad we got to do that again the last weekend of his life -- at the BirmingHamfest 2009."
Current Southeastern Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, fondly remembered Donahue: "I was happy to say that I spent this past weekend with Sandy where he spent the last day of his life doing what he loved -- in the ARRL booth, representing the ARRL at the Birmingham, Alabama hamfest, catching up with old friends. Sandy was, as usual, in rare form all weekend, joking and having a good time."
Sarratt said that on Sunday, May 3, "Breakfast began with Sandy surrounded by a group of friends, where he, as usual, did his dead level best to get the best of me with a joke. On this occasion, he managed to succeed, and, in fact, he continued to enjoy this until we parted ways at the conclusion of the hamfest. Sandy could relate to all hams, both old and young. He -- and his sense of humor -- will be sorely missed."
ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said that even before Donahue sought elective office in the ARRL, "Sandy was a fixture at conventions and hamfests, promoting the League and supporting the association in any way he could. Sandy thought of the ARRL as his family, and he was an important part of it."
Jeff Beals, WA4AW, was a long-time friend of Donahue's. "I've known Sandy for more than 25 years," he told the ARRL. "He was very, very devoted to Amateur Radio, especially the public service side: Emergency Communications, traffic handling and helping out wherever and whenever he could. We had a lot in common." Beals currently serves as an Assistant Section Manager and Affiliated Club Coordinator in the ARRL's Southern Florida Section.
"Sandy had developed an interest in community theatre these past couple of years," Beals said. "He had been involved in a few productions with The Featured Players group in Dothan."
ARRL Technical Relations Manager Brennan Price, N4QX, said that Donahue was one of the three ARRL Volunteer Examiners who administered his first license exam back in 1997: "He was helpful after the exam as well, always eager to share his experience with a variety of Amateur Radio activities with me and other impressionable young hams at the Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club. While I suspect that his stories were sometimes accompanied by a degree of exaggeration for dramatic effect, I enjoyed them and will miss them."
A graveside service will be held at 4 PM on Saturday, May 9 at Sunset Memorial Park, 1700 Barrington Rd, Midland City, Alabama. An additional service will be held on June 6 at 1 PM in conjunction with the Atlanta Hamfest at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, Georgia. ( from www.arrl.org )
Subject: Nelson 'Sandy' Donahue, W4RU SK
Sandy Donahue, W4RU, is currently Vice Director of the Southeastern Division of the ARRL. I now reside in Dothan Alabama after living in Atlanta, Ga for over 30 years. I was first licensed as WA4ABY in 1961 when I was just 15 and living in Aiken SC. I was Section Manager of Georgia for 3 terms and specialize in public service and emergency communications as well as club activities and hamfest organization. You may have met me at various hamfests throughout the division, manning the ARRL booth with Director Frank Butler, W4RH, or recently with Ga SM Susan Swiderski, AF4FO. While in college at the University of Florida (TEL 68)I was active in the Gator ARC W4DFU. At that time I was active in NTS nets, both phone and CW. After college I was in Miami for several years, serving on the staff of Florida Skip and its legendary editor, Andy Clark, W4IYT, who was SEC of EFLA, and mentored me in EMCOMM skills. After moving to Atlanta in 1974, I became involved in Atlanta Radio Club activities, holding several elective offices and the Atlanta Hamfest committee including the 1987 ARRL National Convention held at the Ga World Congress Center. I am a member of AMSAT and served on two AMSAT National Space Symposium committees: 1988 and 2001. I am a member of the Southeastern VHF Society which sponsors an annual VHF Conference, the most recent and successful, last April in Atlanta. As your current Vice Director, I am proud of the past six years assisting retiring Director Butler in administering the affairs of the League. Board meetings are a revelation in how a multi-million dollar national (and world-wide) organization makes decisions affecting the future of our hobby. ( from www.qrz.com )