Contesting luminary Gary Senesac, AL9A, of Wasilla, Alaska, died suddenly on March 15 after suffering a pulmonary embolism while vacationing in Florida. An ARRL Life Member, he was 72. Senesac, an Illinois native, moved to Alaska in 2003 after he retired, and his was a familiar call sign in many operating events. During the ARRL Centennial in 2014, he took part in the W1AW/KL7 operation. He also invited anyone needing Alaska for an operating award to contact him to set up a schedule.
“Gary was an avid contester,” said fellow Alaskan Corliss Kimmel, AL1G. “Seems like he was in just about every contest. And he was an excellent contester. He was also very technically knowledgeable and helpful to anyone who needed advice.” She said he had a great sense of humor and was devoted to his family.
Senesac enjoyed operating all modes, but he may be best known as a CW and RTTY contester. He operated most major contests, from the ARRL November Sweepstakes to the CQ World Wide events and the North American QSO Party and Sprints.
He was a member of the Matanuska Amateur Radio Association, the Fox River Radio League, and the ARRL A1 Operators Club. A strong advocate for CW, Senesac was preparing to teach a code class for newcomers. In addition to his participation in the W1AW ARRL Centennial year operation, AL9A also recently was part of the KL7RST special event, and he served as a mentor to many operators.
A US Air Force veteran, he held an MBA from Western Illinois University and post-graduate certification from Aurora College. He had worked for Caterpillar as a buyer and in IT for 30 years before retiring.
“He will be dearly missed by us all,” Kimmel said. “I will miss his posts, seeing his amazing scores, and laughing at his jokes.”