An old friend of mine, Don Werts, died on Tuesday, September 25, 2007. One of the proudest things in Don's life was that he was an Amateur (Ham) Radio Operator - N7NKJ, and when Hams die, their (metaphoric) Morse Code key goes silent - a Silent Key.
I'm sad that I'll no longer be able to talk to Don, to see his smiling face, to hear his encouraging words, and just simply enjoy being around him. He was that kind of a guy - that you just enjoyed being around him.
But pleased that Don died trying to make himself whole again. Don, who I *think* was in his early 70's, suffered from severely impaired cardiac function as a result of radiation treatment many years ago. The radiation treatment had scarred his heart muscle and Don's condition had gradually worsened over the years, to the point where it had become debilitating and every breath was a struggle. Don decided to go forward with a rare, high-risk surgery (performed by a very rare surgeon) that if successful would repair the damage and allow Don a pretty normal life. Don's surgery ended up being in two parts as Don's heart was just so fragile. Don survivied the first part of the surgery a few months ago, but not the second part on Tuesday.