In memory of our friend,
Charles H. Coleman II - K5LZO (ex-WA2WBH)
January 23, 1942 - March 29, 1999
Chuck's biography written by his loving wife, Barbara Coleman - WB5RUS
Charles H. "Chuck" Coleman II was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 23, 1942. "In the south wing of the hospital", he insisted!
After WW2 ended, they moved to California, then to Houston around the end of 1956, I believe. His dad, Clem Colman-K5LIA, later W5VQ, encouraged him to become a ham. In 1957, he became KN5LZO at the age of 15. In 1960, his family moved back to New Jersey, where his call became WA2WBH. He made several trips to St. Pierre & Miquelon, where his call was FP8CB.
In 1964, he and Tom Taormina (WA2GGB, now K5RC), went to Tahiti. Chuck was the first American to obtain permission to operate there as FP8CB/FO8. While there he was called for the draft. He hurried home taking a short-cut through Houston. He failed his physical due to a good Texas doctor. He returned to Houston, and we were married in September of 1964. We bought a house, and put up a tower. I think he borrowed a rig from Max Busick. In 1969, he started an air conditioning company, and later added Montesa bikes & cycles, etc.
He loved to contest, especially the Sprint Contest. He won many awards from all kinds of contests. To "finesse" a contact through a DX pileup was one of his greatest thrills. He thoroughly enjoyed the trips to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to contest from XE2FU (me, too). The Mexican Hams from the Crantac Radio Club and their families were fantastic. The pileups were great and the XE2FU callsign was neat!
During 1983, he was Vice President of the Texas DX Society, which he jokingly referred to as "President in charge of Vice".
He became a Radio Officer in the Merchant Marines in 1990, and wound up on the USNS Chauvenet on the edges of the Desert Storm campaign. Good old ham radio came through as we could all talk to him and get the latest news from the front. He spent the following years working as a RO Temp. for Chevron on various tankers. Radio Operators were phased out in 1999, as was Chuck...he died of congestive heart failure on March 29, 1999 (his son's birthday). He is survived by his wife Barbara, (WB5RUS); Mother, Elly Coleman; a sister, Carol Coleman; daughter, Cassandra Coleman, (KD5RGH); son, Charles H. Coleman III (now K5LZO, ex-N5IVF); daughter, Danica Sweeden; 7 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Tributes posted on eHam.net:
As many of you so well know, Chuck was an intense and skilled contester who not only ranked among the very best of operators, but one who also shared his enthusiasm and knowledge with others. Those who operated the multis from his home, made the trips south to XE, or survived countless FDs with Chuck, always came away the better for the experience. His was a major contribution to the proud heritage of the Texas DX Society. He will be missed.
Chuck was always the one 'constant' I could count on working in ANY big domestic contest. He'never had to ask for a repeat, and his CW was always flawless. I'll never forget the one and only time I met Chuck... at HamComm a number of years ago... his son (I believe) had just passed his ham exam (unfortunately, I don't recall the license class, but I want to say General), and Chuck was just BEAMING with pride!
73, pal.. It's been great working you...
Tom Hammond N0SS (ex-K0RPH)
Though we worked each other in almost every SS contest since 1968 and both live in Texas, the first time I met Chuck was during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Chuck's vessel was in the shipyard in A6-Dubai, UAE for repairs and we were offloading cargo. Chuck spent the last few years, as I have, traveling as Radio Officers aboard U.S. flagged commercial cargo ships. We found a bar in some hotel that served beer (it was even fairly cold) and told contest 'war' stories until the wee hours of the morning, taking both of our minds off of what was about to happen in a few days in the Persian Gulf. In the end, the beer won over us, and we retreated back to our staterooms aboard our assigned vessels. I will always remember Chuck as a great story teller, a good friend, and one who always spoke highly of his relationship with his XYL and family. A true family man. Chuck, we'll miss ya ole boy. Thanks for the memories. Bon voyage Sparkie.....sk
Ron Marra - AA5DX
During production of a "contest video," I had the chance to interview Chuck. We'd worked, of course, hundreds of times in SS/FD & so on, & I knew some of his history with Tom, K5RC, in M-M, etc. This was all preamble--chatting prior to actually rolling tape. So when I did roll, Chuck knew the question was to be "Why do you contest?" I'll never forget his answer--"It's fun!" but delivered with the most enthusiasm I ever encountered during the project (which is on-going). He jammed a cigar back in his mouth & grinned at me, because I'm sure he knew how he'd surprised me, after all we'd just talked about. It was truly, as Truffaut described it, a privileged moment....
Don Daso - K4ZA
Photo's courtesy of N5LZ, KN5H and W9DX