QST Managing Editor Joel Kleinman, N1BKE (SK) -- UPDATED
QST Managing Editor Joel P. Kleinman, N1BKE, of Meriden, Connecticut, died August 18 from injuries received during a house fire. He was 64. Kleinman was responsible for the coordination, organization, control and completion of all aspects of QST’s editorial content each month. Kleinman’s wife Jayne survived the fire, but is currently in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
“Joel was obsessed with making QST the best Amateur Radio magazine it could be, but he pursued that obsession with uncommon dignity and kindness,” said QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY. “He was the quiet man behind the scenes, shouldering much of the burden that comes with creating 164 pages of new content every month. Joel set a high standard for all who may follow him.”
After graduating from the University of Montana with a MA in Journalism, Kleinman came to ARRL’s Club and Training Department in June 1976 to lead a program aimed at introducing students to space science using Amateur Radio satellites. It was in this capacity that he contributed to the five-part series “Getting to Know OSCAR from the Ground Up” that was published in QST in 1977. Less than year later, Kleinman moved over to the ARRL’s Production Department as an editorial assistant before becoming the ARRL Features Editor, then Editorial Supervisor, then Editorial/Production Supervisor. In 1988, he became Book Team Supervisor, where he was responsible for the development and editorial integrity of ARRL books and other media. He was named as QST Managing Editor in April 2001.
Kleinman was not licensed prior to beginning his career at ARRL Headquarters: “When I came on board, I didn’t know much about ham radio,” he remarked in a “Behind the Diamond” feature in the June 1979 issue of QST. “But it was made very clear to me that I soon would -- and I did!” Before long, Kleinman had written such QST articles as “The Lure of 2 Meters -- Part 1,” the OSCAR articles and “Network Hams: A Hobby Becomes a Career,” which focused on hams who worked at ABC, CBS and NBC: “It’s not often that a person gets to go on behind-the-scenes tours of the headquarters of all three broadcast networks in two days.” [Editor’s note: You must be an ARRL member and logged in to the ARRL website to access the linked articles.]
“With the passing of Joel Kleinman, N1BKE, we have lost not only a respected professional colleague, but also a friend,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. “The shocking circumstances of his death sharpen the sadness we feel. The ARRL sends our deepest sympathy to all of Joel’s friends and family. I would like to thank the many amateurs who have expressed condolences through social media and by other means. Although you may not have known Joel personally, you feel his loss as a member of the extended Amateur Radio family. Your kindness and words of comfort are sincerely appreciated.”
According to the Meriden Record-Journal, David Chester -- who lives across the street from the Kleinmans -- and about 20 others who were in his backyard at the time of the fire were the first responders to the blaze. “It was crazy,” Chester told the newspaper. “Somebody smelled smoke, and most everyone went over there immediately.” Others immediately ran into the house to save Jayne Kleinman. “Steve [one of Chester’s friends] said he saw her legs and pulled on them,” Chester said. “The other two grabbed her from her back, and together they brought her out onto the front lawn.”
Meriden Assistant Fire Chief Mark Finnegan told the Record-Journal that the Meriden Fire Department received a call around 5:15 PM on August 18, reporting a fire on the second floor of the single-family home. The fire was contained to the second floor of the home, and was put out by firefighters within 10 minutes.
Firefighters were able to locate Joel Kleinman in a bedroom on the second floor and paramedics treated him at the scene, but he died later at a local hospital. “When they got to the top of the stairs, the guy told me they saw [Jayne’s] foot and they grabbed her foot and dragged her down the stairs,” Meriden Fire Chief James Trainor told the Hartford Courant. “I guess they tried to go back in but it was untenable. There was so much smoke he just couldn’t make it.” Trainor said that the fire was in an upstairs room and may have been burning for a while before rescuers arrived.
“Joel was a gifted writer and editor,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “Amateur Radio is the richer today because he chose to devote his talents to the work of the ARRL.”
Kleinman was a former president of the Newington Amateur Radio League (NARL) and a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA). Funeral arrangements are pending. The ARRL is collecting condolence messages to forward on to Joel’s family. If you would like send a message, please submit it here. -- Thanks to the Meriden Record-Journal and The Hartford Courant for some information