Dr. Tom Linde, KZ0T, Silent Key
Dr. Tom Linde, KZ0T, long time Handiham member and volunteer, became a silent key on Monday 15 November 2010 at 1:30 AM. Tom died peacefully in his sleep at home with family members at his side.
As you might expect, Tom and I met each other through amateur radio. I’m not sure when Tom was first licensed, but his accomplishments in amateur radio were pretty amazing and included working all states on 6 meters, something I haven’t done and many of us will never do in our entire amateur radio careers. Yet Tom, whose speech was compromised by his disability, managed to train himself to speak the necessary amateur radio jargon and call signs clearly so that he could accomplish this feat. He made use of Morse code and always enjoyed the competitive and also the social aspects of amateur radio. When I started with the Handiham staff at Courage Center in 1992, it wasn’t long before Sister Alverna O’Laughlin, WA0SGJ, told me about “Dr. Tom”. He had been in Handihams since the late 1970s, and had made a name for himself on the amateur radio bands.
When I first met Dr. Tom, I had to listen up when he spoke. His CP made it difficult for him to form the words clearly, but he was never offended if I asked him to repeat something or say it in a different way so that I would understand. His accomplishments outside amateur radio included earning his PhD in psychology and having a full working life as a professional psychologist. Family was always important to Tom, and he raised his family in the heartland of Iowa with his wife Ann, who preceded him in death nine years ago.
I quickly learned from Tom that he was interested in helping others through the Handiham program. As a volunteer, he assisted at our radio camp sessions, teaching in operating skills so that he could share his experience with other Handiham members who had disabilities. He was also pretty darned good at inspiring those Handiham members who had trouble dealing with their disabilities. After all, as a psychologist he had heard every excuse in the book why the glass was half empty instead of half full, and he knew better from his own life experience. It was hard to complain that you couldn’t do something when Dr. Tom showed you by example that it could indeed be done and that even a severe disability would not stop you from reaching your goals.
Dr. Tom taught at a number of radio camps in both California and Minnesota. He joined the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association where he made many friends, and was active on the air, even trying new things like wheelchair mobile HF operation.
One of the most interesting things I have ever seen was not actually part of amateur radio at all. It was when Dr. Tom conducted the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. Lyle Koehler, K0LR, built a robotic conducting system so that the members of the orchestra could see and follow flashing lights as Dr. Tom directed them. Tom was truly a renaissance man who loved music and art and would frequently catch you off guard with his wry and cerebral sense of humor. He published a book about his life that will carry on inspiring others to overcome their disabilities and accomplish their goals. “I Am Not What I Am: A Psychologist’s Memoir: Notes On Controlling and Managing Personal Misfortune” is available through Amazon.com in print and in spoken word audio from the Handiham system for our blind members. The ISBN-13 designation is: 978-1420867633. I strongly recommend this inspiring book.
His son Peter, N0EDI, in a touching tribute, remembers his father in his 80 years of life as all of these things:
An Extra Class Ham Radio Operator,
A Ph.D. Psychologist,
A Published Author,
A Music Lover,
A Guest Conductor of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra,
A man who pushed the boundaries of CP farther than anyone thought possible,
Ultimately, he was My Dad, without whom I would not be the person I am today.
Memorial services are currently being planned for Rapid City, SD and Sheboygan, WI. Tom, a generous spirit giving even in death, requested that his body be donated to help medical science. There will be a headstone in Knoxville, IA, next to his Wife (Ann) and youngest son (Matt), who preceded him in death.
We will miss the kind wisdom and positive outlook that KZ0T brought to Handihams and to the airwaves. I count myself privileged to have been his friend.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager