I also wanted to offer my condolences to Grace, Crystal, and the rest of Alan's family. I first met Alan back in 2007 when we had the original Gathering back in Chicago. I definitely had some trepidation about going to Chicago to meet a bunch of people that I knew only from online postings, but I had a great time and have continued to come ever since.
As someone with mobility issues, Alan went out of his way to always allow plenty of time between connections when planning the itineraries. He always made a point to let me know not to feel like I was slowing the group down and he made me feel genuinely appreciated.
When I met him at the Chicago Gathering, I commented that I had always wanted to ride the Acela in First. He looked at me casually and said, next time you're in New York, let me know and we'll plan a trip. Granted, I didn't feel like I had to twist his arm too hard, when I told him I was planning a trip a few months later.
He helped me make all the necessary arrangements and we boarded Train 2252 December 9, 2007 en route from New York to Boston. When we boarded the train he ordered his usual glass of white wine and chatted with Wilson, the First Class attendant whom Alan knew from previous trips.
Apart from chatting with me and pointing out all the interesting scenery, he was also listening to his scanner to check for any upcoming delays. About an hour later, the train stopped for a few minutes and Alan told me we were going to be delayed, while we waited for another train to pass, but that we should be moving shortly.
A few minutes later, Wilson came came strolling by to ask if we would like any additional drinks or refreshments, turned to Alan, smiled, and said, "How are we doing for time boss?" Alan told him the delay would be minimal and we would be rolling shortly.
You have to know that Alan was truly knowledgeable about riding the rails when even veteran Amtrak employees would look to him as their primary source of information.
We had a nice dinner in Boston that night and I took a train back to Wisconsin the next day, while Alan headed back to New York.
A few year later, when I was in New York again, he planned a mini Gathering and we spent the afternoon just riding in and around Penn Station. He was always willing to give of himself and share his unending knowledge and enthusiasm for trains.
I sent him a quick text on June 23 and we chatted about family, life and the upcoming OTOL fest. I had also mentioned that I wanted to get together before or after the upcoming AU Gathering. Sadly, I won't have that chance.
Your son was a wonderful human being that had a personal impact on my life, and he will be truly missed.
Edited by diesteldorf, 15 July 2018 - 06:52 PM.