Handiham stalwart Sister Alverna O’Laughlin, ex-WA0SGJ, of Rochester, Minnesota, died on May 30. She was 84. Sister Alverna joined the then-fledgling organization in its earliest days, when founder Ned Carman, W0ZSW, came up with the idea of sharing Amateur Radio with people who had disabilities.
“Ned enlisted the help of a group of local nuns, the Sisters of St Francis, on April 30, 1967,” retired Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, recounted on the Handiham website. “[T]he sisters were committed to helping Ned with his new project, and several received their licenses. Among them was Sister Alverna O’Laughlin, WA0SGJ, who would eventually become the Educational Coordinator for the Handiham System at Courage Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota.”
Tice praised Sister Alverna’s “kindness and patience” and said her guidance, encouragement, and hard work led to many new radio amateurs over the years. “She knew that radio would open a line of communications between those she taught and the rest of the world,” Tice said.
“Making friends on the radio, learning the math and science of electronics, and striving toward goals were all things that would make the lives of Handiham members better.”