My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Dr. Dave Toth, VE3GYQ, died on Friday afternoon after a long battle with brain cancer. Dave was the past president of TAPR (2005-2009) and was a member of its Board of Directors (1987-1993 and 2004-2010).

Dave was born Aug. 11, 1954, in Windsor, Ontario. On June 16, 2009, he married Ronda S. Nartker, who survives in Spencerville, Ohio.

VE3GYQ graduated from the University of Western Ontario Medical School in 1978 and practiced family medicine in London, Ontario. He moved to the U.S. in 1993 and began a career in emergency medicine. He was a partner of Premier Health Care Services, in Dayton, Ohio, and worked at Lima (Ohio) Memorial Health System and St. Rita’s Medical Center (also in Lima) until the time of his illness.

That's Dave in the photo above, front and center wearing the "Watch For It!" T-shirt surrounded by some of the packet radio makers and shakers at the 1986 Computer Networking Conference, which was the precursor of today's ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference. (Dave had a great dry sense of humor and I am sure the group is reacting to something Dave said during the photo shoot.)

Dave was also a great manager during his tenure at the head of TAPR. I give him a lot of credit for the success of TAPR's involvement in the HPSDR projects.

Dave was a humanitarian, too. Last year, I drove Dave around Dayton during the Hamvention and the guy was having trouble expressing himself. Throughout the roadtrip, Steve Bible, N7HPR, and I were finishing his sentences for him to help him complete his thoughts. It was sad to see what cancer had done to Dave's brain, but then, out of the blue, he asked about my wife's health. I think I mentioned my wife's health to him years previous to that day and despite all of Dave's current health issues, he recalled what I had said and seemed truly interested in her current status. I was touched.

The ham radio world has lost one of its best with VE3GYQ's passing. 73 to you, Dave.

1 comment:

  1. I first met Dave in the mid-1970's when I was running a 10-watt repeater out of my parent's home in Parma, OH, just south of Cleveland. We were experiencing severe interference problems from another repeater on 147.18 MHz with the call sign of VE3TTT from London, Ontario operated by one David Toth. We're talking a distance of around 100 miles across Lake Erie and "Triple T" was clobbering my repeater on summer nights when I was at the end of my driveway, maybe 150 feet from the antenna. Some evenings I would just shut off my repeater and we would use TTT instead. He always claimed it was just "good propagation." Hmmm.

    Dave invited several of us to his wedding in London, offering to let us stay in his apartment and probably not expecting we would make the trip. Heck, we were barely in our 20's so a road trip seemed like a good idea. :-)

    I remember the night we arrived. We met up with someone who had a key and we were all asleep on his floor late that night when the door opened and someone asked "What smells so bad in here?" We. of course, asked "Who the heck are you?" and that was the very first time we actually met. We made another trip or two to London for the local ham radio club's hamfest flea market and Dave would take us to a restaurant called The Corkscrew.

    We kept in touch on and off as he did his residency in Detroit, when he moved to North Carolina and when he finally ended up in Lima. Each year we would get together at the Dayton Hamfest and the last time I saw him was at Dayton in 2009. We all were hoping and praying he would make it to 2010, but although he beat the odds for awhile, it was not to be.

    Many people are experts in one or maybe two fields. Dave was an expert in many fields but you sure couldn't tell it from his behavior. Electronics, family medicine, emergency medicine, astronomy, aviation, whew. He did more in his short life than multiple people would do if their lives were combined and he was a superb human being as well.

    Whenever we got together he would get us up to date on what his children were up to. He was very proud of them.

    Even though we knew this was coming for almost a year, it's still very, very devastating. The world has lost a great person.

    I once remember reading that you're never really dead until no one remembers you. Dave's friends, patients and family will keep him alive in our hearts for many, many decades. And since he had an asteroid named after him last summer and some NASA sites have his astrophotographs on them, his memory may live on for centuries. It would be very fitting.