WPGM Engineer John Rejmer
In January 1991 I made a promise.
It was my privilege to know John Rejmer – and when he went to be with the Lord, I promised that future staff members and new “radio family” listeners would have that privilege too.
In 1964, WPGM AM was located on the second floor of the First National Bank building at the corner of Mill and Walnut Street in Danville. John was the Chief Engineer – which meant that he hand-made a lot of the equipment and was responsible for wiring and making all of the studio gear operational.
In 1968, John wanted to extend the ministry of WPGM to the FM radio band – so he made a presentation to our Board of Directors and said he could do the job for $10,000. And he did. The tower, the fees, the transmitter site and building and equipment – John managed under the leadership of God to get it done for less than $10,000! (Where would WPGM be today without the FM station? The answer to that question lets us know what we owe John Rejmer!)
In 1974, John carried all the equipment down the stairs when the bank needed that second floor to expand their work – and the radio station moved to its present location at 8 East Market Street. He not only got everything re-installed, he even managed to cut our expenses by putting in a “station-transmitter link” to get our programming from the studios to the transmitter.
In 1985, he was given the challenge of making it possible for WPGM FM to stay on the air 24 hours a day. Before the equipment to make it possible arrived, John got anxious and actually combined a series of timers and light bulbs (yes…light bulbs…) to our existing components and we started broadcasting around the clock.
But those facts only represent his resume. It doesn’t really tell you who he was. John was a soft-spoken man of few words. He had a perpetual smile and a gentle laugh. He was active in his church, teaching the fifth-grade Sunday School Class for many years. I met a physicians assistant not long ago and the subject turned to John, and the man said to me, “…all in all….John Rejmer was the nicest man I ever knew.” It was not an unusual observation, but one shared by just about everyone who met John.
In September 1989 we learned that John had cancer. Over the next year and a half, John lived with the disease with the same style and grace with which he did everything else. After a brave and courageous fight, John died on January 21st 1991. He left his wife Debbie, with whom he operated a business in Riverside. He left a son Andy and a daughter Abby. He left us too – along with a host of other friends who loved him and still miss him.
If you appreciate WPGM, perhaps when you pray tonight you might tell the Lord that you too are thankful for John Rejmer – and what He did through John.
I had the privilege to know John, and I wanted you to feel as if you knew him too. You see, in 1991, I made a promise.
By George Vacca – Former Manager of WPGM & WBGM Radio