A Sad Day, Indeed

Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by Gadfly » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:35 pm

Yesterday, I had the sad duty of attending the funeral of a great all-round guy and his wife. Kay and "Max" were great people. He was a great father and friend, they were both faithful at their Church, Sunset Forest Baptist Church where she was pianist/organist. Max was a railfan, the good kind, the fellow you didn't mind---even looked forward to seeing. For over 30 years, Max could be seen at trackside in Lowell, NC and other favorite spots----sometimes as late as 2 AM on a weekend awaiting Amtrak 819. I met Max when I first attempted to hire out to Southern. He used to bring his son, Marcus, with him out to where I was working when he was just a small boy. Always interested in trains, but always respectful and out of the way, he was the epitomy of what a railfan should be. I never thought of Max as a "foamer", but someone I could depend on if I needed something-railroad or otherwise. I didn't even consider him a railfan, but one of "US". Alas, Max had health problems that prevented him from gaining employment on the railroad, and if there has ever been someone who 'deserved' to have this dream that he always harbored since childhood, it was Max. But his son carries on that tradition as an employee of CSX, of which I know Max and Kay were proud.

I hadn't seen Max in a long time: I was hired to Southern in the 70's, he was not. I got married, had a daughter, had work in other places (everyone knows how the Extra Board is!), and we kinda drifted apart. He was a fan, I was not, and I never "hung out" trackside; my interest was more professional than hobby. I knew Max was out there, and I used to see him when I "deadheaded" on the engines, and we would "give him a shout" on the radio (Hello there, MAX, O-VAAAAAAH): We knew he'd be listening on his scanner. Most of the Piedmont crews knew Max.That spot near Lowell will be now empty.

On Tuesday of this week, Max apparently suffered a seizure and crashed into a tree, killing himself and Kay almost instantly. There were railroad men in attendance, one engineer (that I recognized) from Norfolk Southern serving as a pallbearer and NS and CSX employees there as well. You could judge the love Max and Kay had, and the friends who admired them, for the funeral procession stretched for almost a half mile! It took over 40 minutes for the procession to reach the cemetary, and people were along the road, hats in hand, one lady crying on a shoulder: THAT'S the kind of people Max and Kay were. How wonderful it must have been to have a Dad and Mom like that! Flower arrangements read, "From Norfolk Southern, Crew of 118" and "From CSX Railroad: Pinoca Yard" and others I didn't get to read. Again, he was absolutely "one of US".

When we arrived at Hillcrest Gardens, burial site, there was a tribute, tho I'm sure an accidental one. There was a CSX train in siding awaiting a meet right across the road, and I thought, "What a fine thing. Max would've loved this." Even the minister commented on the fact.

So now, Max. my friend, you've got a "green board". "Enter thou into the joys of The Lord forever". We will miss them!


GF

Freddy
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:48 pm
Location: Walker Co. Alabama

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by Freddy » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:24 pm

GF
Sorry to here it, he sounds like a hell of a guy.

Freddy

Jtgshu
Posts: 11744
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:32 pm
Location: MP 39.1

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by Jtgshu » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:39 am

Wow GF, im so sorry for your loss....

Your tribute could have almost been the eulogy - what a wonderful write up.

I know what you mean, about being "one of us" i know a few people like that, they don't work on teh railroad but they have a better understanding of it than most of the people who do. And you can talk full fledged railroading with them and not have to dumb it down. Also, they would be the person who wouldn't hesistate to pick you up if you needed a ride to/from a train, or back to a switch, or back to the yard to get more (alive) power or whatever. They respect the industry, respect the crews, respect the work and respect the railroad itself.

Glad to see such a response by your fellow railroaders to him. Really seems like he and his wife were amazing people.

Highball max!
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.

cjvrr
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Morris County, NJ

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by cjvrr » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:53 pm

Wonderfull tribute, thanks for sharing it with us.
CV the Civil E

Alloy
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:02 am
Location: Burlingame, CA

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by Alloy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:05 pm

Thanks, Gadfly, Max's story was very interesting to me.

>>When we arrived at Hillcrest Gardens, burial site, there was a tribute, tho I'm sure an accidental one. There was a CSX train in siding awaiting a meet right across the road, and I thought, "What a fine thing. Max would've loved this." Even the minister commented on the fact.

That was great!
Farrell Wills

Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by Gadfly » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:09 pm

Jtgshu wrote:Wow GF, im so sorry for your loss....

Your tribute could have almost been the eulogy - what a wonderful write up.

I know what you mean, about being "one of us" i know a few people like that, they don't work on teh railroad but they have a better understanding of it than most of the people who do. And you can talk full fledged railroading with them and not have to dumb it down. Also, they would be the person who wouldn't hesistate to pick you up if you needed a ride to/from a train, or back to a switch, or back to the yard to get more (alive) power or whatever. They respect the industry, respect the crews, respect the work and respect the railroad itself.

Glad to see such a response by your fellow railroaders to him. Really seems like he and his wife were amazing people.

Highball max!

Thank you! I meant it. I wish every fan, even potential employees, that I ever met could have met Max! If they had "cubbed the job" with him, they would learn something! Lowell, NC will now be a very quiet place on weekends without that Ford pickup sitting there waiting for Amtrak.

GF

railroadcarmover
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:39 am

Re: A Sad Day, Indeed

Post by railroadcarmover » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:10 am

Gadfly, your tribute was amazing. I do not know Max personally but while reading your tribute, my eyes started to tear. My condolences to the loss of your friend. He is a legacy and I am sure will be remembered as such.

Return to “Norfolk Southern”