Nathan Pottorff, Pac Tel Exec., Water Board Member, Iwo Jima Survivor

Nathan Pottorff passed away, this December 11, 1999. Born March 14, 1924 in the farm community of Pixley, California, Mr. Pottorff was soon placed in the McKinley Home for Boys, as his mother, a domestic, left alone, was unable to care for him.

Growing up in Van Nuys, California, Mr. Pottorff, a football player, played on the "Wonder Team" of 1940, earning himself a scholarship to Arizona State, where he earned League honors. His scholarship was curtailed, however, by the onset of World War II, whereupon Mr. Pottorff enlisted in the United States' Marine Corps. Mr. Pottorff briefly played on the Marine Corps' team, but was reassigned as part of the occupying forces of Tarawa, and a member of the initial invasion of Iwo Jima. A radio repairmen, by class, he was assigned to the rear, however the radio man was hit during the first hour, moving him to the front, whereupon the forward observer was hit, putting Mr. Pottorff in a spotting position behind enemy lines. A subsequent Banzai charge decimated the "safe" positions leaving the FO team stranded and incommunicado for 10 days with fellow Marines, although they continued spotting artillery targets for the warships offshore. Mr. Pottorff was "missing in action" for these 10 days. After fierce battles, including an all-night charge that the team fended off with hand grenades, Mr. Pottorff finally made it back, only to be struck in the chest by a bullet that first impacted the stock of his M-1 carbine, "Margie," the namesake of the woman that was to become his wife of 53 years. Mr. Pottorff sustained two other hits in the battle, but steadfastly refused to apply for the commensurate "Purple Hearts," in deference to his friends who did not survive to show off their bullet holes.

Mr. Pottorff was employed by the Pacific Telephone Company for over 30 years-taking part in the development of its microwave capabilities, interfacing with Bell Labs, and in overseeing real assets and the company's motor vehicle fleet.

He was first elected to the Board of the Lakeside Irrigation District in the early 1960s and served for 30 years, priding himself for his role in keeping Lakeside's water rates among the most competitive in the County.

Mr. Pottorff's retirement found him traveling abroad, talking to worldwide friends in his "hamshack," producing wine in his backyard vineyard, and doting on his grandsons. Mr. Pottorff was a former member of Toastmasters and the Lakeside Optimist Club, serving more than one term as an officer. An avid bridge player, Mr. Pottorff could boast 3 victories in the Optimist sponsored tournament-with three different partners-his wife, his sister-in-law, and his son.

An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Pottorff loved to hunt and fish, passing that tradition on to his children-one of whom is a County Fish and Wildlife Commissioner. Mr. Pottorff was a member of many conservation organizations and was a federally licensed migratory bird breeder.

Amateur radio, however, was Mr. Pottorff's greatest passion as he was active on multiple frequencies. He received his first radio station license prior to WWII. Sadly, radio station W6ERF has ceased broadcasting.

His wife Margaret, his daughter and son-in-law, Yvonne and Ronald Peck, two grandsons, Aaron and Ryan Peck, of Oxnard, and his son Michael, of Oceanside, survive Mr. Pottorff.