I’m sorry to report that Roger, W8ZRF, has passed. Here’s the obituary that appeared in the Ann Arbor News:
Age 98, [Roger] passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Roger was born in Schererville, IN on February 26, 1920. He married Merna Patrick of Dansville, MI on February 23, 1946 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, and is survived by their four children: Maureen (Mike) Watassek of Ann Arbor, Dianna (Tim) Kellman of Ypsilanti, Bob Place of Naples, FL, and Tom (Amy) Place of Brookhaven, GA. He was blessed with eight grandchildren: Lauren (Jennifer) Boik-Watassek, Midori Watassek, Andy (Jodee) Kellman, David Kellman, Brian (Chris) Place, Sean (Robin) Place, Taylor (Carly) Place, Jessie Place. And four great-grandchildren: Luke and Noah Boik-Watassek, Adrian and Geneva Kellman. His only sibling, Vivian Peifer of Schererville, IN also survives. He was preceded in death by Merna, his wife of 57 years, on February 8, 2003, and Lauren Boik-Watassek, his first grandchild, on June 26, 2018. Roger was a proud veteran of World War II, having served his country as a Radioman 3rd Class in the US Navy, Pacific Theatre. Following his discharge, he returned to work at Argus Camera, and spent several years at The University of Michigan, Bendix Aerospace and KMS Industries prior to retirement. A devout and active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus Council 587, Roger was also a proud member of the “”Ave Maria Pew Crew””, which constructed the craftsman style oak pews for the Ave Maria Oratory, Ave Maria, FL. In addition to being an avid amateur radio operator/examiner with a love for travel, he was a dedicated community volunteer, youth baseball/basketball coach, golfer, and bowler. Memories of his unwavering support of family, thought-provoking one-liners, and unending DIY home projects will always be cherished. Visitation will take place at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 530 Elizabeth St., Ann Arbor, on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm, with a rosary service at 5:00pm. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Thomas on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 10:00am with Fr. Bill Ashbaugh officiating. Roger’s family will receive guests in the Parish Hall, immediately following Mass. Contributions in Roger’s memory may be made to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 530 Elizabeth St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
Here are some remembrances from ARROW members:
I am very sorry to hear this. Roger and Clay really kept ARROW/amateur radio alive in the 1990s and early 2000s here in Ann Arbor by regularly conducting amateur radio exams. He was such a nice guy and always ready to help out with things as he could.
I just Googled Roger and found this oral history recorded at the library just last year: https://aadl.org/aadl_argus-roger_place. I learned a lot about Roger that I didn’t know. And, here’s a picture of his QSL card from 1953: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70251312@N00/8421879190.
I’m sorry to hear that. I took my Technician exam from them in November 2004. Some years later after being elected Arrow president, Roger made a gift of the Extra Class license manual. I took it as a gentle suggestion that I really ought to make the upgrade. Five months later, in Dayton, I took and passed the exam. I’ve always been grateful to roger for that subtle suggestion.
Roger and Clay were like toast and tea. Warm and comforting, never the least bit objectionable. With both of them now gone, there is a large empty space in the goodness of the world.
Roger and Clay were my first contacts with ARROW and with ham radio in general. They always made me feel welcome, and made sure to chat with me at my first few meetings (such as they were back then). I’m honored to have their signatures on my Tech and Extra exams. I’ll always remember the look of delight on their faces as they told me I had passed. May we all be like W8ZRF and W8JNZ, the best ham radio ambassadors I’ve known.