Archive for the My Past Category

Dave Kosh – Gone but not forgotten…

Posted in My Past on December 9, 2007 by wizbandit

Wow, another of my co-workers from WBBH TV passed away this week.  My old friend Laura Mickler was kind enough to send me EMAIL about Dave. He lost his battle with cancer.

I met Dave in 1983 when I started work at WBBH TV in Fort Myers, Florida.  I was hired as a maintenance engineer / electrician.  In 1984, around February, Dave asked if I would like to attend the Miami Hamfest, the “Tropical Hamboree”. I was not a HAM but he told me it was full of all kinds of neat electronic parts as well as computer parts.  I was required to “split the gas” but that was okay, it was an Isusu diesel car and got good mileage. Cost like 14$ round trip from Fort Myers to Miami and back.  I remember the trip over like it was yesterday. A foggy early morning on Alligator Alley, so thick you could not see more than a few car lengths in front.  Then, this truck pulling a big boat passed us, scared the both of us right off to the shoulder of the road. A real fool.

I loaded up on all kinds of neat electronic parts and computer parts, I was in heaven there.  Up until I moved away from Fort Myers I never missed a Miami Hamfest.  Fifteen of them in a row to be exact. After moving to Tarpon Springs the drive was just too much, I did manage to attend two from here but decided to just do the Orlando one.

I often thought of writing a book about Dave.  I think a good name for it would be “Dave’s trials & tribulations”.  Dave had a black cloud that seemed to follow him around, it was not easy keeping out from under it but mostly we took Liberty with it as Dave’s intentions were admiral, most of the time.  I remember Dave and the weather man went out in the gulf fishing and Dave’s boat konked out requiring the Coast Guard to tow them back to shore.  Freeze plugs rusted out flooding the engine with salt water.   There was the time Dave took a flywheel from his wife’s car to get it “turned & balanced”, he left it outside of his favorite shop with a note to call him when it was ready.  He never looked in the window to see the “FOR RENT” sign.  Yep, the place was closed down, when he came back looking for his flywheel it was gone.  I don’t know if he ever tracked it down.

There was the time Dave was stopped at a light on Fowler Street and a homeless man ran his bike right into the side of Dave’s front fender, sending the man flying over the car and unto the street.  I guess the man was hurt and I do remember Dave saying something like his car insurance had to pay all “the bums” Medical bills.  Dave claimed it was not his fault and I kind of believe him, maybe the black cloud cast a shadow over the bike.

Now Dave would drive 10 miles to save a nickle.  His auto repair shop of choice was way out in East Fort Myers.  One morning he needed to drop his car off and asked “Oz”, a co-worker and my “best man”, to pick him up.  If I recall correctly they were running late, probably because of Dave’s haggling with the auto repair guy so Oz was heavy on the gas.  Yep, he got a speeding ticket on the way back to work.  Dave didn’t even offer to pay it.  I remember Oz grumbling about it as Dave had said “I never drive fast through there, the police are always using radar there”.

There still are many more stories like this but I just can’t think of them right now.  Dave was always nice to me, he gave me my old cat “Rusty” that he found wandering around the station one day and asked if I would take him.

It was many years later I saw a mailing label with Dave’s address on it, it was kind of spooky too.  It was something like 1313 13th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL.  WOW, Go figure!

I’m just sorry I didn’t get to stop in and see him on my last visit to Fort Myers this year.  Dave Kosh was a heck of a good guy, he hated no one and helped everyone.  His work at WBBH was his life.  Even through all the “heckling” from Oz and I Dave never got mad, I guess it’s just his nature to accept people for the way they are.

I, for one, will miss you Dave .  Be at peace.

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Robert Marvin Cleveland… My mentor, My Old Silent Friend.

Posted in My Past on October 16, 2007 by wizbandit

   I received an email from my old time friend and former co-worker Laura Mickler last evening.  Bob Cleveland passed away over the past weekend.

   Bob was my boss when I worked for Waterman Broadcasting in Fort Myers, FL from 1983-1996.  He was my mentor, my teacher, my friend.  No one had a stronger influence on my life than Bob. He set me on my path, he gave me my start in Broadcast Engineering, he taught me the value of doing things right the first time.  The year was 1983, I was young, just 26 years old, foolish, funny, just married and starting a family.  I was working as a Journeyman Electrician on Waterman’s new transmitter building when I met Bob.  Bob was a good talker, in a calm, quiet kind of way.  Very technical, very straight forward with an attempt at humor at times.  We started chatting one day and he seemed really impressed with my knowledge of electronics, mechanics and “the way things work” in general.  A week later Bob approached me and told me he just had an opening in his Engineering Department, would I like a job?   At the time I was working for $10 an hour, not bad for 1983 I guess, he said it would be a “lateral job advancement” which meant he was offering me $10 to move to his staff.  Well, after working for for 6 years as an electrician, in the hot Florida summers, digging trenches for conduits, working in 99 degree ceiling spaces in shopping malls, I decided this might be a better thing for me.

  Over the years, some of the best years of my life, I learned from Bob, just as I did from my own father, I had fun and I divorced my first wife.  The two of us made a great team, working on the Transmitter overnights, boy was that tiring work.  We kept WBBH TV on the air, along with the rest of the great TV-20 Engineering staff which included , Thaddeus Ozenkowski “Oz”, Rich Foley and Dave Kosh.  Later additions to the staff included Mark Statzer, Tom McKleroy and Mike Hildiego. I worked as Transmitter Supervisor for many years and then accepted the position as Engineering Supervisor.

  I left WBBH in the early spring of 1996 when my present wife Linda, an Air Traffic Controller at Page Field in Fort Myers was transferred to Clearwater-Saint Pete Airport.  I spent most of my remaining working career in or near broadcasting, with a brief stint with SONY in 1996.  I worked for Time Warner from 1997-2000 when I decided, at age 43, I needed to retire to stay home and raise our three young children.  Michael, now 17 is on his way to becoming a Professional Electrical & Mechanical Engineer.  Alex now 16, is going to finish high school, get some college in and then come help with the family Solar Electrical Business I now have.  Natalie, my youngest will sadly be “always our little girl”, she is our lovable Downs Syndrome Child, now 14.

   Bob “retired” from WBBH before I left, the year I can’t remember, along with many other things from the past, that’s what I get for accepting my 50th birthday this year.  I tryed a few times to get in touch with Bob but he was a private, removed person in his retirement.

  I will miss him.