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November 15, 1914
-- March 15, 1997
Born: Erie, Pennsylvania
Buried: Erie, Pennsylvania
Spouse: Frank Dawson Bliley
For most people, their mother was or is just about the most important person in their lives. My mother was no exception to that point of view. She managed to give me plenty of love and protection, balanced with the right amount of independence throughout her life.
on her 70th birthday.
There were few things that she told me not to do and the last time was in the Fall of 1997. On the day that Debbie (my wife) and I were leaving on a vacation to New England, Mom called early in the morning and asked me if I was still planning on visiting the airplane museum in Reinbeck, New York and take a ride on an old biplane. I told that was my plan. She told me that she did not want me to take that plane ride and insisted that I promise that I would obey her wish and stay on the ground. Not wanting to disappoint her and yet wanting to take the ride, I carefully crafted my response by saying that I would promise "not to do anything foolish". That seemed to satisfy her.
As we left a few minutes later on the trip, we spotted a very large rainstorm that followed us all the way to Reinbeck. As we arrived in Reinbeck, the storm caught up with us and it rained all night. The next day was cool and damp. We spent over an hour trying to find the museum located well into the countryside and only five miles from our lodging. While the gates of the museum were open, there was no one there, and of course--no one to give me a ride! I was disappointed, but she was delighted when she learned of my fate.
During the World War Two she participated in the Civil Defense's War Emergency Radio Service as a radio operator along with several of her neighbors (both male and female). She got her first official amateur radio license in 1946 just a few months after I was born. She maintained her license until her death 51 years later. She used the callsign phonetics of "W-3 Kitchen Police Everyday". How appropriate for a woman with five kids!
During her 51 years as an amateur radio operator she was assisted in maintaining her license primarily through the efforts of Steve Miller, W3WBT, and later Joe Ciano, K3IVG. Until the 1970's there was a requirement to certify that you had been active during your license period. Both of these fellows arranged for her to get on the air and make the required number of hours of activity. In the late 1950's they assisted her in buying a Gonset Communicator II two meter AM transceiver and coordinating local hams to get on the air to contact for her. She felt awkward about getting on the air, but she did not want to lose her license under any circumstance.
In 1960 I got my first license and used the Gonset radio as my first two meter rig and made hundreds of contacts with the dipole on top of the 65 foot pole in our side yard. A year later I learned that the dipole was cut for the pre-war 112 MHz amateur radio band!
During the two years I was away at college in Fort Wayne Indiana, Mom and I kept in contact on a regular basis on 80M with a brand new Swan 350C. Swan was founded and operated by an old Bliley Electric employee, Herb Johnson.
In 1967 I joined the U.S. Coast Guard and after boot camp and training as an electronics technician, I was off to South Caicos for a year of duty. On South Caicos I acquired the callsign VP5CB and once again maintained a regular schedule with Mom back home in Erie. For the first six months it was a weekly schedule and once every other week for the rest of the year. It was a great experience and it seems as though we talked about everything that was legal over the air. My girlfriend sometimes stopped by the house at 965 Arlington Road to get on the air with my mother. On one such occasion, I asked my girlfriend to marry me! Needless to say, both my mother and my girlfriend were surprised. The answer was yes, but the engagement lasted until her old boyfriend returned after being discharged from the Air Force! That was a major disappointment at the time, but after 30 years of marriage, I am perfectly happy with the choice I made six years later.
When I moved to Rochester, New York, in 1976 I made a few contacts with Mom, but she was starting to have some problems with her hearing and could not tolerate the QRM of 40 and 80 meters and we had to give it up. That ended her activities in amateur radio but she never gave up her interest in her amateur radio friends in Erie. She faithfully read the QUA-RAE and the Sunday Times ham radio column written by Frank Grace, W3NR (SK) and Norma Vanderhoff, W3CG. She cut out the Sunday column and sent it to me for over 15 years with notes attached about the people she knew that were mentioned in the column.
Mom proudly signs her renewed amateur
radio license at the age of 82 in August 1996.
My father Frank Dawson Bliley, W3GV, was the founder and president of the Bliley Electric Company established in 1930 for the manufacture of frequency control products for amateur radio and commercial radio activities. Mom served as his secretary for several years before marrying the "boss" in 1938. He is also regarded as the founder of the RAE radio club and was a very active ham until his death in 1955.
She was a life member of the Radio Association of Erie (RAE). Amateur radio meant a lot to her and she served as one of the club's capital trustee since the sixties.
In the last decade her health slowly deteriorated, but she continued to remain active in the family business until her death. She served for 42 years as the chairwoman of the board of directors of the Bliley Electric Company. She also wanted to maintain her General class amateur license and asked last year she asked again for assistance in renewing her license. This time there was no requirement for activity. The preceding photo shows her proudly signing her last license issued in August 1997 at the age of 82.
She was the perpetual optimist until the end. She died at the age of 82 on March 15, 1997.
73's & 88's to Mom and all her friends in Erie.