Saturday, January 16, 2010

Farewell Old Friend

WilberA Bill CarringtonCARRINGTON - Wilbur "Bill" A. Carrington, age 84, of Grand Rapids, died peacefully at home on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2009.

Born March 2, 1925 in Detroit, MI, Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Vera C. Hunter and Foster Carrington; stepfather, Archie Hunter; and wife of 52 years, Joan (Burnham) Carrington.

Bill's lifelong fascination for radios, electronics, and all things scientific was sparked early by his interest in his father's short-lived Carrington Radio Company and other electronic repair ventures. Graduating from Detroit's Eastern High School in 1942, Bill attended the then Wayne University for a year before being drafted into WWII. He served in the Army Signal Corps on the Japanese island of Okinawa as a High Speed Radio Operator until the war's end.

Back on U.S. soil, he immediately put his advanced radio and Morse code skills to work and became licensed in 1946 as an amateur radio operator. He proudly displayed his call sign, W8YCI, each year on his automobile license plate and remained an active "ham" throughout his life. He operated his mostly self-built gear while attending the University of Michigan, graduating in 1950 with both a BSE degree in Electrical Engineering and a fianceƩ, soon-to-be wife, Joan.

Married in 1950, Bill moved to Grand Rapids with his new wife and began his long electrical engineering career in aerospace product design and development at Lear Inc., later Lear-Siegler and, at the time of his retirement in 1987, Smiths Industries. He served in various positions and his contributions included work on aeronautics and missile navigational instruments including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and fiber optic applications. He is named on two U.S. patents.

Bill was a 60-year member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), proudly becoming a Life Senior Member in 2001. He was also a member of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and a 20-year member of the Navy-Marine Corps Military Affiliate Radio Station (MARS) program, facilitating communications between members of the Armed Forces and authorized U.S. government civilian personnel stationed in Antarctica and their families and loved ones back in the States. In later years, he spent most of his time on the Internet and tinkering with his Macintosh desktop computer. Photography was a secondary hobby, along with a steady diet of reading everything possible in all fields of science and history. A stickler for accuracy and proper punctuation, grammar, and syntax, he was a frequent contributor to the Grand Rapids Press editorial page. As a selective sports fan, he restricted his following to the Detroit Tigers, U-M football, and surprisingly in his later years, Tiger Woods's golf tournaments. He enjoyed classical music, jazz, and old cowboy songs-songs that were sung in the car on many a family vacation.

Bill was a devoted brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Surviving are daughters, Beverly (Daniel) Wesche of Big Rapids, MI, Janis (Gary Michel) Carrington of Olympia, WA, and Linda (Gregory Krupp) Carrington of Grand Rapids, MI; granddaughters, Amber (Christopher) Jenson and Erin Wesche; great-grandson, Derek Jenson; sister, Shirley (Robert) Miller; brother, Ian (Carol) Hunter; and nieces and nephews. He fostered in his family and others around him a keen sense of curiosity about the world, pride in knowledge, achievement and higher education, resourcefulness and creative problem solving, and a spirited sense of humor that carried him through to the very end. He felt satisfied and content with his life, grateful for the gifts and passions he was able to use in his work, and proud of his daughters and their families.

A Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at the Raybrook Manor Chapel, 2121 Raybrook SE in Grand Rapids, with reception following in Raybrook's Friendship Room. Private inurnment at Graceland Memorial Park & Mausoleum, 4341 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids Township. A special thank you to the patient and caring staff at Holland Home's Raybrook Manor whose quality care enabled us to have an unexpected bonus year with Bill. Memorial contributions may be made to Special Olympics Michigan, WGVU Public Broadcasting, or to the charitable organization of one's choice.

"This is Bill Carrington, W8YCI, signing clear for the last time after a very enjoyable 84-year eyeball QSO with all my friends and loved ones. 73 es 88 de W8YCI SK".

The Pederson Funeral Home Rockford

Published in Grand Rapids Press on January 3 and January 10, 2010

To my recollection, Bill not only handled communications with the Station at Antarctica via MARS, but also wintered over there once (either shortly before or right after he retired).