Sam Gorham, N1MPB, on the air from the Kwajalein Amateur Radio Club ham station, circa 2008
Although I didn't know Sam Gorham as long as many of the airport locals did, during the eight years since he retired and returned to Lock Haven, I came to think of him as a brother. Which is ironic, considering that it was his actual brother Ray who introduced us. Ray works part-time on the Piper Memorial Airport, and when Sam came in from time to time to visit his big brother, I started hanging out with the three of them in the Pilot's Lounge between flight lessons. And it is there that I discovered how many interests and how much history I shared with Sam.
Sam was, of course, a pilot, and a ham radio operator, and a communications electronics expert. He and I both served in the US Air Force from 1965 to 1969, although our paths never crossed during Uncle Sam's All-Expense-Paid Asian Vacation (we were only two of nearly three million Americans to serve in that conflict.) We both worked on NASA projects after we were discharged, and both got involved in missile operations and tracking (he on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, me at Lockheed in Sunnyvale CA). In all, Sam spent some 39 years on Kwaj, often operating the club amateur radio station on the facility (I'm sure I must have talked to him during my occasional ham contacts with Kwaj, although I didn't realize it until much later).
Sam was in marginal health during all the years I knew him, and ultimately died of complications from diabetes. I will miss our hangar flying sessions in the Pilot's Lounge, and extend my deepest sympathies to his two daughters and eight surviving siblings. My life was enriched by just knowing him.
If you can drive, you can fly!
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This page last updated 15 May 2017
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