Stanley L. Burghardt, WØIT, SK

Stan Burghardt

As most of you already know, Stan Burghardt has become a silent key. Stan was a major influence to many amateur radio operators around the world, and we would like you to share your memories and experiences of Stan with everyone here.

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Submitted by Jim Smith, WØMJY:

WØIT at his station

Stanley L. Burghardt (WØIT) passed away on Sunday August 29, 2004. He would have celebrated his 94th birthday on September 3 of this year. He was licensed in 1931 and was very active right up to the time of his death especially on 6 meters. He began selling amateur radio parts in 1937 and was active in the company until January of 2002. That is a lot of years. He will be sorely missed.

73 ol' Buddy from all the Burghardt Staff

Obituary (also submitted by Jim Smith, WØMJY):

Tuesday, August 31, 2004 10:11 AM CDT

Stanley L. Burghardt, 93, (would have been 94 on Sept 3) Watertown, died Sunday, Aug. 29, 2004, in a Watertown Hospital. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the Holy Name Catholic Church at Watertown with the Rev. John Lantsberger officiating. Music will be provided by organist Donna Sheehan and soloist Blaine Martian.

Burial, with military graveside rites provided by Codington County Post 17 of the American Legion, will be in St. Mary's Cemetery at Watertown. Honorary pallbearers will be Kermit Frantz, Burghardt employees and members of the 34th Signal Co. Active pallbearers will be his four grandsons, Jeff Burghardt, John Burghardt, Joe Burghardt and Jason Burghardt and Bruce Rieffenberger and Jim Smith. Visitation will be in the Crawford Funeral Chapel at Watertown today (Tuesday) from 4 to 8 p.m. with a Scripture wake service at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue Wednesday preceding services in the church. The family is asked to meet in the church Wednesday at 10 a.m. to attend the service.

Stanley LeRoy Burghardt was born Sept. 3, 1910, in Omaha, Neb., to Paul LeRoy and Emily (Haakenson) Burghardt. He lived in Omaha before moving to Watertown. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1928. He lived a short time in Wisconsin before serving during World War II. He was a charter member of the 34th Signal Co. SDNG formed in 1929. He was inducted into Federal service as a 2nd Lt. with the Company in February 1941. The unit trained at Camp Claiborne, La., until January 1942. In February 1942, the unit was sent to northern Ireland. He was a captain and company commander at that time. In northern Ireland, he was transferred to Division Headquarters and later became Division Signal Officer in North Africa. He servied also in this capacity during the 21 months of the Italian Campaign and was promoted to Lt. Colonel. His overseas tour of duty was three and one-half years. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Military Valor Cross for his performance in the Italian Campaign. Following his discharge, he returned to Watertown and has resided here since. From 1930 to 1937, he worked for Watertown Motor Accessories, now known as Cave Supply Co. He founded Burghardt Radio Supply in 1937 and operated that until 1970 when he founded Burghardt Amateur Center.
He married Clara Marie Falk Sept 22, 1937, at I.C. Parish in Watertown.

He was a founding member of Holy Name Catholic Church where he served as finance chairman during the construction of the church. He was a member of the American Legion and VFW. He and his wife enjoyed spending time at Big Stone Lake. He was an avid amateur radio operator, licensed in 1931 and enjoyed fishing which he began at Lake Kampeska in 1916 at the age of 6.

He was preceded in death by one sone, Bill.
Survivors include his wife, Clara Burghardt of Watertown; one son, Bruce Burghardt of Watertown; one daughter, Ellen Tomaszewski of Watertown; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Submitted by JC Smith, KØHPS:

I've known Stan since I was a kid in Watertown Junior High in 1961. Burghardt Radio and Supply was located in the building that now houses the Salvation Army, near the old Bartron Clinic. To encourage our hobby, Stan sponsored ham radio classes which were sometimes held there at the store. He also allowed the store to be used as a testing location for the license exams. I took both my Novice and General (Conditional) exams there. That was right after the peak years of the greatest sunspot cycle ever recorded, SSB was just catching on and it was an exciting time to hang out at the radio store.

I also knew Stan outside our hobby. His daughter was my classmate in high school, he was a founder of the Holy Name Church and School (as were my parents) and he was a fishing partner of my Uncle Jim. In later years Uncle Jim would stop off at the Amateur Center to have coffee with Stan, and I happened to be in there at the same time one day. That was after Jim had purchased the business from Stan so he was there too. That made for three Jim Smiths together there at the store (the J in JC is for Jim). The comment was made that we could start the Watertown branch of the Jim Smith Club.

My last radio contact with Stan was about ten years ago, on AO-10 when it came back to life. At that point I hadn't seen Stan in many years, but he still remembered who I was. That was a thrill for me because I was fairly new to operating on the satellites and Stan was one of my Amateur Radio Heroes. It was a special QSO and we carried on for about a half hour, when the bird suddenly went dead (it crossed the terminator and the batteries had long since failed).

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