Indianapolis Entrepreneur, Politician, Publisher Beurt SerVaas, W9WVO, SK
Beurt SerVaas, W9WVO, of Indianapolis, Indiana, died February 2. He was 94. Known in his home city as the politician who revamped Indianapolis and Marion County politics, he presided over the City-County Council for three decades. Outside of Indianapolis politics, though, he may be best remembered as the person whose publishing company rescued The Saturday Evening Post magazine in the 1970s and moved it to Indianapolis.
“Indianapolis has lost one of its greatest champions and chief architect of its success," said a statement issued by Mayor Greg Ballard. “Beurt set a gold standard for public service in this city that all current and future leaders should emulate.”
A World War II US Navy veteran, SerVaas served as an OSS intelligence officer during the war and later worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. According to his obituary in The Indianapolis Star, The Saturday Evening Post was one of an eclectic variety of businesses that SerVaas owned or started. His first was an electroplating business he bought in the 1950s. He entered politics in the early 1960s, winning election to the Indianapolis City Council. He retired from politics in 2002 and, then in his 80s, sold off most of his businesses at around the same time.
SerVaas also was an ARRL member and staunch supporter of the League during his active years.
“Beurt was a generous and gracious donor,” said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. “On a visit to Indianapolis he gave me a tour of the city and shared his fascinating experiences with the OSS. He was truly a remarkable man!”
Elsewhere in the Amateur Radio arena, SerVaas played an integral role in establishing popular special event station W9IMS at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“After a number of years meeting with the Speedway about the possibility of operating a special event station during the Indy 500, the owner of The Saturday Evening Post and club member Beurt SerVaas met with Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George in April 2004,” the W9IMS QRZ.com page relates, “and on May 25, 2004, W9IMS became the Official Amateur Radio Club of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — the first time in history that a ham radio club has received this designation.” The first-ever W9IMS contact in 2004 was with W9WVO.
The City-County Council meets in the Dr Beurt R. SerVaas Public Assembly Room, named to honor the individual who helped establish and guide that governing body over the years.
Survivors include his wife Cory Jane, who ran The Saturday Evening Post for decades, as well as five children. Services will be February 8. — Thanks to Brian D. Smith, W9IND