December 2008 sure was a lousy month for the MRRC mortality rate.
After reeling from the lost of our friend and club member, Robert "Val"
Edwards, W8KIC who also passed away in December fomr cancer, I just
found out this morning from a mutual friend that MRRCer Mike Socha, W8UA
was found dead at his home in Howell, MI the week before Christmas.
There were no signs of foul play, and while the initial diagnosis was
that Mike suffered a fatal stroke, the results of the autopsy to
determine final cause of death are still inconclusive. His funeral was
held during Christmas week.
I met Mike in 1981 through a mutual friend, Jim/K8SS. Mike had an
excellent two-tower station which he allowed me to operate in the 1981
IARU HF Championship, scoring a top ten national finish and getting my
picture in QST.
Over the years we did several multi-ops from the W8UA QTH, had a lot of
fun and many good finishes. I met a lot of great Michigan contesters
thru Mike, and when I joined MRRC in 1982, Mike joined with me. We gave
him a lot of good-natured grief when he signed up for the QCWA in 1991
at the ARRL National Convention in Saginaw, MI.
In recent years, Mike battled health issues such as Lupus and a blood
clot in one leg. However, he did not appear sickly and up til the end
lived an independent, self-sufficient lifestyle in his Howell QTH. To
me, he appeared active and reasonably healthy, although in recent years,
he was less inclined to climb and as a result his antenna farm
deteriorated and so his on the air activity waned somewhat.
Mike maintained his interest in MRRC over the years, and he was also a
member of the Southeastern Michigan DX Association. He was a friend to
many of us in both clubs.
Last weekend in the NAQP CW contest, a number of members of the Mad
River Radio Club and the North Coast Contesters (NCC) honored Bob,
W8KIC by using his nickname "Val" as the name in our contest exchange.
I would propose that we do the same for Mike Socha by using "Mike" as
our name in the NAQP Phone coming up this weekend. The K8MAD multi-op
from the K8CC QTH will certainly do so.
Rest in peace, old friend
Dave Pruett, K8CC
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