In Memory of Les Schmarder
My thoughts on Les, by Dave Schmarder
Hello friends. It is mid August 2001. It has been two years since we learned that Les had cancer of the pancreas. This sure was a real bummer. But this story isn't being written to tell the sad story, but the earlier happier story.My brother Ray told it best — "He sure was a goof". Les always had the funny story to tell. If you put in a quip, it was likely that he would back with one to top yours. This was kind of the Schmarder humor that my grandfather, uncle and my father also had.
There is one story where I got the best of him. We were at the Arby's in Riverside, NY. We came in just as a bus load of people were finishing their lunch. We were lucky when we came because we got served quickly. After our lunch, as we were leaving, we were standing close to one of the employees. He was just a kid, probably in high school. Anyway, I said "Hey Les, look, a couple more busses are pulling in." There weren't, but it was funny just to see the looks on that kids face. At his expense, after we got in the car, we laughed for miles and miles.
One of our favorite things to do would be the "The 3 Stooges" routines. You know how it goes, nyuk, nyuk, then two fingers towards the eyes, with the other putting his hand in front of the face to stop the poking. Les and I would do that all the time. Sometimes to show off to his kids. We never needed much of an excuse.
I wonder where they learned that?
Les always liked the mountains. He lived for many years in Buffalo, NY. When Les and Mary Lou moved 120 miles north of Albany, NY, there was a change. I felt that this is where he always wanted to be. His ham radio activity increased, and was a major reason for the local radio club starting up again. New blood!
Les also put the volunteer ham radio testing on a firm footing with regularly scheduled testing. He was a little tough about the CW testing. No multiple choice tests for his candidates! But I believe that there was a finer ham that came out of this. I have met a lot of them, and they are all first class.
The high point of Les's public service ham radio career was the northeast ice storm of 1998. Les took vacation time to operate the radios, help the military get their stuff working and helped deliver people to different spots as needed. He ended up giving talks to ham radio groups all over the northeast US. This was truly his finest hour!
Les Directing Traffic At Field Day 1997
I won't say that Les was without fault, who is? But all I can say is that I was sure honored to be his brother.
Update 2010 It's been over 10 years since Les hasn't been with us. It seems so long but yet so short. All that knew him have the good memories still.
I thought about this page as I was updating the entire Schmarder family website. I may add a few more pictures and tidbits to this page as time goes along.
The other news is that in 2009, Les' ham radio call sign WA2AEA has now passed to his son, Will. The call was originally issued to his dad, Bob Schmarder. So with 52 years on one call, that is quite a feat. But it was done in the "Schmarder way". That is, three had to own the call to get the longevity.