We're all getting older, but we're never ready to lose good friends, no matter the age.
The following members were lost to us over the last several years.
Bob was an accountant, married to Jean and a close friend of Norm, also of our club and no longer with us. His Saddle Mountain Railroad was about half scenicked and before he passed, was up and running.
Bob was warm and friendly, supportive and generous, always asking after one, and caring.
He'd tried retirement but returned to work, even spending time travelling back and forth to Colorado for his employer, taking the opportunity to visit the Denver and Rio Grande and other local railroad attractions.
Bob would let any of the club work on his layout, with never a harsh word and a great deal of patience, somehow figuring it would all work out in the end,
Norm was a media relations consultant, married to Linda, with two children. As a model railroader, he freely admitted his was a klutz, and any strengths in modelling related to either getting someone else to do the work, or he was a whiz at deconstruction. I don't think he was ever happier than when he took an ax and sledge hammer to my closet for expansion of my layout. A few years ago, we did some new wiring on Norm's layout, and behind layers of boxes we discovered a power pack, plugged in and warm - and best we figured - it had been running for at least 17 years.
Norm liked to take charge (expertise was not a prerequisite), and could be abrasive, but at the same time, Norm could be the absolutely most supportive friend you could ask for and many of us in the club were recipients of unstinting help from Norm.
Norm was famous for his wonderful stories, whether talking about the many people in power he was friends with (CP Rail CEO's, premiers, etc.), or of his adventures in running things like the World Jamboree held in Kananaskis Country.
Al was an engineer, married to Heather. Many of us benefited from the time when AL worked for a Laser Cutting company, taking home a variety of steel weights that were cutouts from the work he did - great for holding down track and roadbed while the glue dries.
In modelling, Al's philosophy was 'the more complicated the better'. I met him because he'd successfully built a PMP112 command control system, long before prepackaged decoders and control units - this was transistors and capacitors and soldering. He was also famous for his incredible skill in hand laying track. He never blinked if he needed to run a curved turnout through the middle of a double slip switch - and they worked perfectly. Mind you, he's also the one who when he couldn't find a short, applied 117 volts to the track, and voila, the track spikes from adjacent rails no longer connected, with a spark and puff of smoke, the problem magically went away.
Neil lived in Lakeview, like myself so soon became a very good friend in the club as we drove to meetings together and worked on each other's layout.
Neil was a lawyer by profession, of rigid high ethical standards which probably didn't make life easy for him, or financially rewarding. He was married to Dauna, and she got involved in the hobby with Neil, helping construct models and scenes.
Neil was very quiet, but nothing got past him (well, except when he routinely fell asleep during videos and slide shows). He'd be quiet for several minutes, then suddenly would pronounce something extremely funny and witty.
He helped guide the club and made sure we met all the necessary standards.
One day I asked for a Dremel Tool. He rummaged around for a while, and brought out a box, complete with original unbroken celophane. He'd had the tool for many years and had never once taken it out of the box.
Neil worked for many years part time at Trains N' Such. He was a very helpful salesman, never pushy, but were you to let him know you could use a few cheap coal gons - well look out - you'd own hundreds of the damn things before you could slow him down.
Bob was an Edmonton boy, a boy scout and a railroad fan, and in his younger days a railroad worker as an assistant cook. He was very involved in the Calgary modelling scene, with Rail.. 79, Model Engineers and for many years in South Bank.
Bob was not spare in his criticism of fools and politicians (isn't that the same), and especially of certain members of City Council.
He was always there to help and when he became a bit more frail in the last few years gave us carte blanche to work on his layout including radical changes and what turned out to be improvements.
Bob was a great railroad photographer, He had friends all over.