We have lost another good QSME friend and member. On Saturday January 13th Don died in Sunset home. He had spent the past 15 years there after suffering a devastating stroke in 1992. However it did not keep him from still enjoying his model railroad hobby.
His son and daughter credited the Blessing Hospital rehabilitation unit and the caring staff of Sunset Home. They also credited two model railroaders, Terry Wensing and George Effrein.
It was George who convinced the club shortly after Don’s stroke to build the lower Level Ashtabula yard and docks so Don could operate them from his wheelchair. As you can see in the above photo Don never lost his love of the hobby.
Not long after he recovered to the point where he could make serious decisions, he decided to sell his home. That led to what to do with his layout in the basement. I first saw the layout in the mid 1960s during the round-table days of our club. I marveled at the design and how well it ran.
Don hated to tear it down, but it still runs today because Hank Murray agreed to house it in his large shed.
George crawled over and under, around and about the layout measuring, checking the supports, the track and the wiring. Finally he determined it could be done.
At the same time we went through the other railroad related items in the basement. Don sat at a kitchen table and agreed where the things would go. Many of them were donated to QSME.
Prior to his stroke I mentioned to Don that we had a wide open space behind the Keating Engine facility and it would be nice if we had some housing for railroad workers.
Don took the challenge and came up with a trio of what used to be called homes “on the wrong side of the tracks”, a phrase still politically correct in 1958.
It is really complete with people, pets, babies, old cars and a sign which reads, “Another Fine project of Meyer and Peter Architects”. Hank made the sign.
Don also built and donated the huge water tank at Keating and the one at Portland Mills. If you are operating steam and need a tender filled, thank Don for the tanks. Kelle Slough sent the following. It is a great tribute.
“He (Don) was such a wonderful man and always pleasant to speak with. The world and the club surely now have a void. Even after his stroke he still participated in club activities. That tells me that the QSME was extremely important to him and that if everyone associated with the club could have only half of his devotion to life, think of what could be done.”