Silent Key Memorials

Don Whitney K9DRW

Don joined RACES in the mid-70’s. He served as Emergency Coordinator since 1996. He was a Life Member of the ARRL and attended well over 20 Dayton Hamvention’s. Don really enjoyed a yearly trip to Dayton and frequently went with long time friend Dave Pritchard (W9QL).

Don was a regular at Field Day having served as its coordinator for many years in the 90’s and early 2000s.  He always handled the HF Voice station and recruited new operators.  The Pine Club was a favorite restaurant (top 10 steakhouses in the country) and it was a regular stop for he and Dave on Thursday night after cocktails in Don’s hotel room (known as K9BAR).  

Don graduated from Northern Illinois University (NIU) with a degree in electrical engineering but a college job as the dispatcher for the NIU campus police engaged his passion for public safety communication. Don joined Motorola eventually leading to Association Relationship Management until retirement. His work engaged him in national associations such as the Public-Safety Communications Officials where he served on the executive council, chaired the Commercial Advisory Council and received the prestigious Jack Daniel Award of Distinction. Don was a passionate amateur radio operator (K9DRW) serving with the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service that coordinated with the Lake County Emergency Service Agency. Until his death he provided radio training for Lake County located police and fire personnel. In recognition of his lifelong service to public safety communication initiatives, he was appointed a Fellow of the Radio Club of America in 2021.


John Rice K9IJ

 John F. Rice, 77, passed away peacefully on June 22, 2021. He was born on January 24, 1944, in Atlanta, GA, to the late John W. and Edytha (nee Bell) Rice. As a young man, John proudly served in the United States Navy. He went on to work for the telephone industry for many years until his retirement. John had a passion for computers and HAM radio and was a member of The Suburban UHF Amateur Repeater Society (SHUFARS) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).  John was a member of the VE Examiner team and never missed a session.

Gilbert Pilz K9IQP

He was born September 7, 1936 in Oak Park, IL and had been a Libertyville resident since 1971.
Following his service with the U.S. Air Force in Germany, he returned to his native Illinois and worked as an electronic designer for 28 years at Flo Tech Inc. in Mundelein. He later became a private design consultant for the Racine Federated Company of Wisconsin. After trying retirement for 1 month in 1999, Gil started a new career as an Electronics Teacher at the Great lakes Naval Training Center. He was an amateur radio operator since 1956 and an active member of the Lake County RACES, (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services).