John Merrick

John Bruno Marachini (changed to Merrick in 1958), was born in Toronto on April 28th, 1917, of two devoted and faithful Italian parents who raised two talented sisters of John's also, one becoming a school teacher, the other a music teacher.

During his Secondary Education he became interested in Radio and after completing High School he joined the locomotive repair shops of the Canadian Pacific Railway about 1935 which proved to satisfy his mechanical bent until the threat of W.W.II occurred. He received his Radio Amateur Licence (VE3AUB) in 1938 at the age of 21, somewhat remarkable in those days in Canada.

John joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in 1939, 5 days prior to Canada's declaration of war with Germany. As such he had a rare five digit Enlistment Number. And as young as he was, his technical knowledge was immediately put to good use by being rushed overseas to train many older troops in England in radio. Later he went to Europe and saw action in Belgium, Holland and France where he remained to the end of the War. John was wounded and decorated for his bravery.

They shipped John home in '45 along with his outfit, somewhat shell-shocked (as it was then called). After about a year of recovery with his caring family he enrolled in the Serviceman's scheme for University Education, naturally opting for Electrical Engineering. It was rather difficult for John, not having Calculus, for instance, but having two clever sisters at his side to coach him helped immensely.

The huge pre-war radio manufacturing firm of Rogers-Majestic re-opened close to his home after the war, to which he went as a systems Engineer to their new Mobile Radio Division and which became later Motorola Canada. He remained there for many years, designing and prototyping large VHF Transmitting equipment for the rapidly burgeoning mobile radio applications.

He finally married in 1964 -- ("finally! as his sisters both said.) It was a union made in Heaven and continued to his beloved wife's death in 1990. His talented artist-wife was both adept at radio technology and loved opera, something that John to which as a child was constantly exposed, being a member of a music-loving Italian family. John and his wife often went to New York just to see a few performances of the "Met".

These last fifteen years were extremely hard on John as he never for a day truly overcame his wife's death. He moved from their house to a high-rise condo and with plenty of padding on the floor, installed his small lathe and milling machine in one corner of the fairly spacious bedroom, and endeavored to keep busy making brass telegraph instruments which he shipped all over the world. Never once did he advertise other than to allow others to generously spread the word of his workmanship. He also reinstated himself as VE3AWA and was active a little, mainly on 40 metre CW.

The last ten years saw John's old wartime injury eventually cause complications that required surgery. He had to have cataracts repaired and eventually his heart started to seriously concern the cardiac specialists. Although they managed to get him to the hospital after his frantic 911 call, he never regained consciousness, and died the next morning, March 2nd, 2005 at the age of 86, attended by his step-grandchildren. His elder stepson Donald was in Cuba at the time and rushed home but it was too late. John was the only real father that his stepson ever had, and they would talk on the telephone every night without fail these last fifteen years since Donald's mother had passed away. Like John, Donald is an Electrical Engineer, a Ham, and a musician, thus conversations were happily technical or musical!

John Bruno Merrick is already sorely missed but his instruments will remain to hopefully bring joy and pride to his aficionados for many years to come. Sic transit gloria mundi.