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Frederick Benbow Holsclaw

Quinn, SD

1934, 793, Hill City, F-9 Member
1935, District Headquarters, Ft. Meade detached/Company 793

"His amateur radio "ham" call-sign was W9GTG. Amateur call signs always have a single-digit number in the "prefix" portion, after the part that identifies the country ("W", "K", or "N" for the USA). The digit identifies the region of the country where the station is licensed. The call sign usually belongs to the individual holding the license. In the 1930's the region indicated by the "9" included the state of South Dakota, along with most of the mid-western region of the US. In 1946, right after WW II, the FCC re-drew that region map and put South Dakota into the "10th" region, indicated by the digit "0", so my dad's call sign was changed to W0GTG at that time.

There is an image of my father's "QSL" card that he used while in the Hill City CCC camp. This is a postcard of the type hams exchange with each other to acknowledge making contact on the air with another ham. Hams collect these as souvenirs and often use them as a wall-decoration. The cryptic abbreviations on the card are ham-radio telegraphic jargon for basic data about the contact: the call-sign of the other station, the date, time, radio frequency, signal strength/quality report, and information about the equipment used.

QSL card Fred Holsclaw used at Hill City CCC campCopy of Fred Holsclaw QSL used at Hill City CCC camp - Courtesy Russ Holsclaw

Dad worked for some time as engineer for a broadcast radio station in Rapid City. I'm not certain whether that only came after his leaving the CCC, or if he somehow did both for a while.

Dad often told me about having worked as a radio operator on the ground during the flight of the Explorer II balloon, launched on Nov 11, 1935 from the "Stratobowl" in the Black Hills area near Rapid City. That flight was, in a sense, the beginning of the "space race", although with balloons instead of rockets. This flight was jointly sponsored by the US Army and the National Geographic Society, and resulted in a new high-altitude record for the time. I don't know if this involvement was connected with the CCC, the broadcast station, or some other basis. I do know that some transmissions from the balloon were broadcast across the country by NBC, via the station in Rapid City. I'd love to find any source of information that could further document his involvement with that".. . . . . Russ Holsclaw

Photo of Fred Holsclaw operating radio equipment courtesy Peggy Sanders and family of Fred Holsclaw. Information about Camp F-9 Hill City mentions Mr. Holsclaw operating the radio equipment.

Frederick Benbow Holsclaw, of Glendale, AZ, died on December 16, 2011 at the age of 99 years, ten months and two days. Born on February 14, 1912 in Sioux Falls, SD to Fred Harrison Holsclaw and Hassel Marie (Benbow) Holsclaw, he was the same age, to the day, as the state of Arizona, and had been looking forward to the state's centennial celebration. He served a long career with the Federal Aviation Administration, first as a radio technician and then as an electronics engineer, specializing in radio-navigation systems for aviation. In his travels installing and maintaining ground air-navigation stations, he met Ruth Miller in Hayes Center NE and they were married in 1940 at Kearney, NE. They travelled together throughout seven states of the region, settling in Omaha NE for two years and seven in the Kansas City Regional Office. Then, as an engineer, he was sent to Madrid, Spain in 1955 to 1960 to assist the development of aviation infrastructure there. After a five-year stint at FAA headquarters in Washington DC, he returned to foreign aid in Guatemala City, Guatemala, then to head the assistance mission in Seoul, South Korea.

Frederick Benbow HolsclawFred Holsclaw

In 1972, after Korea, he and Ruth retired to life in a travel trailer, traversing the US and Canada for several years. They finally settled in Peoria, AZ, at the Casa Del Sol retirement community for nearly 30 years. There, they were both active in social activities, and Fred participated in several dance bands, singing, playing drums and banjo. From 2006 until their deaths, he and Ruth were in the care of Ligia's Loving Adult Care home in Glendale, AZ.

Surviving children are Linda Ruth Meiser (Bruce, deceased) of Orlean, VA; Janet (Grattan) Holsclaw Kerans, of Tucson, AZ; and Russell Paul Holsclaw (Roberta, deceased) of Longmont, CO. Grandchildren are Kathryn Meiser (Jay) Theado of Richmond, VA, Christina Meiser Venetsanos of Warrenton, VA, Craig (Diane) Meiser of Annandale, VA, Carolyn Meiser (Mark) Thompson of Belmont, CA, Kevin Meiser of Orlean, VA, Heather Holsclaw of Lansing, MI, William Frederick Holsclaw of Longmont, CO, and Timothy (Khiota) Kerans of Seattle, WA; and ten great-grandchildren.

Surviving siblings are brother Marvin (Shirley) Holsclaw of Overland Park, KS; sister Marilyn (Donald) Holsclaw Snell of Pioneer, CA; brother Robert (Sharon) Holsclaw of Gettysburg, PA; sister Priscilla (Raymond) Holsclaw Schuchman of Unionville, MO; and sister Janice Holsclaw Farrier of Sun City, CA.

He was preceded in death in 2007 by Ruth G. Holsclaw, wife of 66 years; sister Lois Holsclaw Murdy Roth; brother William Holsclaw; brother Richard Holsclaw; sister Jean Holsclaw; brother Paul Holsclaw; and brother James Holsclaw.

The memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 1:00 P.M. at the First United Methodist Church of Sun City, 9849 N. 105th Ave., Sun City AZ. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made in his name to your local food bank.

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