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Gordon Smith, K7HFV (SK):

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend Gordon Smith, K7HFV on April 21, 2022.

Having always had a fascination with things technical, Gordon was licensed at the age of 14 in 1958 - the interest in radio having been spurred by the finding of an old radio that received shortwave bands. In those days, many hams were still using AM on HF frequencies and he would spend hours listening to the conversations that flew by through the ether. One day, he heard one of the hams in the conversation give his address or phone number (this person may have been Dee Christensen, W7YPC) and Gordon contacted him. Himself the recipient of the kindess of his "Elmer" (an amateur radio mentor) he paid back the favor many-fold over the course of his life.

Gordon, near Swazey Peak in 2007 enjoying several of his favorite things all at once during the preparation of a 173 mile lightbeam contact: Hiking, Ham Radio and Electronics.
You may read about that event here
Click on the image for a larger version.
Gordon, operating simplex over the 173 mile path
For most of his life he was a stalwart member of the Utah Amateur Radio club, the constant voice of reason over the decades. During this time, he helped with the construction and maintenance of the club's repeaters, playing a large part in designing and building circuits that have reliably withstood the harsh mountaintop environments. Almost since its inception, Gordon was also in charge of the club's efforts in the Volunteer Examiner's Program where he and other volunteers administered amateur radio exams to thousands of people - and when many of those people got on the air themselves, they probably found Gordon, willing to give encouragement and advice.

It was because of his decades of such service and generosity that he was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the ARRL Utah section on April 13, 2022 with many of his friends present. This award, bearing his name, will henceforth be given yearly to a deserving individual - but it will be difficult for anyone to attain the high bar set by his example.

Preceding his love for amateur radio, Gordon also loved music, learning to play the piano by the age of eight and by the age of eleven, he had increased the breadth of his knowledge to include the classical organ, playing for different local churches from then on. In 1971, he became the organist at the Mount Tabor Lutheran Church (the round building on the corner of 2nd South and 7th East) and he played there in that capacity for a week short of 51 years - his last service being April 2, 2022. He'd hoped to be able to play for the 2022 Maundy Thursday and Easter services, but this was not to be.

Another of Gordon's great loves was the red rock country of southeastern Utah where he cumulatively spent nearly a year of his life over the decades camping, backpacking and exploring the Maze district of Canyonlands - and introducing his friends to the area. The combination of scenery, adventure and quietude suited him but he could not resist the opportunity to "play radio" in some of the most remote areas of the continental U.S. with the people that accompanied him on these trips - most of which (but not all!) were also amateur radio operators.

Even if it wasn't in Red Rock country, Gordon loved to hike. Since the mid-late 1980s, he was part of a group that met after work during the summer months - an activity that became known as the "Wednesday Night Hikes." Even though these hikes are of modest length (3-6 miles) it has been calculated that over the years he hiked well over 2000 miles in the Millcreek and Big and Little Cottonwood canyons just during those Wednesday evenings with friends. Even after his last hike with the group on September 23 of 2020 link, this activity has carried on - and will continue to do so.

In the last 3 years of his life he bravely fought cancer, and while it slowed him down, it didn't stop him from getting on the air to talk to his friends - new and old - and doing what he could to get out to play the organ and see his beloved red rock country. His last trip, bouncing along bumpy Jeep roads to his favorite area in Utah was just weeks before his passing and while it may have been uncomfortable for him, but he said that he wouldn't have missed the trip for the world. Gordon defied the original predictions of his doctors and hung in there for about a year and a half longer than the original prognosis and did his best to make the best of it. At the end, he was helped and surrounded by some of his best friends.

Memorial service

A memorial service was held for Gordon on May 15, 2022 and was recorded - and is available on YouTube HERE.

Gordon's congregation had a memorial the Sunday after Gordon's passing (on April 24) and that may be viewed HERE.

Please Note: The audio on April 24 memorial video may be a bit low. You do NOT need to log on to Facebook to watch this service: If it asks you to log in, simply ignore it and continue.

Gordon will be greatly missed!