On my way home from being the guest speaker at a club meeting last
night, I realized I hadn’t spoken to Bill Pasternak in a few weeks and
thought to myself that a chat with Bill while I was driving home would
be fun. But I got his voice mail instead of himself, and I left a
“I’m in the car and will be until 7:30 your time,” I said. “If you get
back before then, give me a call. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you
Sadly, tomorrow will not come as Bill became a Silent Key last night.
Bill, WA6ITF, was a Brooklyn boy whose roots went deep in the borough.
He was a New Yorker who lived in California. He first became a ham in
1959 with the call of WA2HVK. That boyhood interest in all things
electronic led him into his lifelong love of radio and a career in
radio and television that lasted until the day he died.
His list of accomplishments are long. Please read his bio at:
and, of course, don’t skip the photo of his as a young man in from of
his plane on QRZ.
I first met Bill in 2004 after I had become the ARES DEC for New York
City. Bill, who was an original member of RACES in New York City back
in the early 60s, called me on the phone and said that he was making
one of his semi-annual trips back home (yes, to Brooklyn, which was
always “home”) and he wanted to do a story for ARNewsline. We became
friends as we talked for hours about radio, RACES, NYC, Brooklyn, New
York City. (I’ve attached a photo of his RACES badge – I believe the
only one from NYC still in
existence. He was very proud of that!) We found that we shared a
common love of the theatre. Bill would always see a few shows when he
was in town.
We talked periodically over the ensuing years. I would call to say hi,
he would do the same. As his health began its decline, the trips to New
York went from difficult to impossible. The last time I saw Bill was a
few years ago. We spent the day together as I drove him from stop to
stop throughout the City. He came into New York to see to the care of
a friend of his who was living in a facility in Brooklyn. To travel
across the country to care for a friend despite his own declining
health spoke volumes of his character. He was, as we say, a mensch.
I often wonder how you measure a person’s success in life. Some would
say that you measure an individual by the amount of wealth they’ve
acquired. I would say that the true measure of value of an individual
is by the amount lives they’ve touched. If that is the case, then Bill
died a very wealthy man.
The thousands of us who have crossed his path are truly blessed for
knowing him. Bill was 73 years young.
Too soon. Too soon.