Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dave McKay memorial services

Memorial services for Dave McKay will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, January 22nd, at the Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 2780 Noble, Cleveland Heights. This is north of Mayfield Road, up near the CHUH Public Library branch.

Dave was a founding member of the Northern Ohio Association of Railway Societies, an avid model railroader and a talented photographer of railroad trains and facilities. He died just after Christmas, not many days after joining fellow NOARS members for their annual holiday dinner at the Pufferbelly, in Berea.


At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Allen McKay was the "Dean" of Cleveland Railfans. He was a modeler, collector of timetables, railroad china and most importantly a photographer. Everyone in the Forest City Division of RRE learned how to take photos with their 35-mm cameras from Dave. Dave showed us how to take "Composition Photos" that really stood out from a normal snap shot. On the 1990 trip to St. Louis for the NRHS Convention, several of us wrote a song "Railfanning with Dave McKay". One of the lines was "When you railfan with Dave McKay you get up at the break of day". Can remember leaving Cleveland one night around 7:30 p.m. and arriving in Bluefield, West Virginia around 1:00 a.m. only to get back up at 5:30 a.m. to drive to Roanoke to get a shot of the N&W 1218 leaving at 8:00 a.m. Another line was "Move to the left, move to the right, Dave McKay says this shot is tight". This is where one learned how to take a Composition Photo from Dave. Looking into you view finder you would create the photo before the train arrived. Thanks to Dave, about half of the present members of the Forest City Division of the RRE have had pictures published in National Magazines and posted on the Internet.

Dave also retained a wealth of information about the Nickel Plate, Erie-Lackawanna, New York Central and his beloved Santa Fe. When you had a question about any of these railroads you could ask Dave the question and 99% of the time he knew the answer.

My most memorable road trip with Dave was in September, 1992 when the Santa Fe ran an 18 day Employee Special from Los Angeles to Chicago with restored steam engine ATSF 3751. Dave and Al Clum left on Friday for Amarillo, Texas in his one month old Saturn and looked for photo locations along the way on the Santa Fe Mainline. I left on Saturday morning and meet them the following evening in Amarillo. That Monday we drove on to Belen, N.M. looking for photo locations and meet Dave Shepherd who had gone to Los Angeles. We stayed at the Super 8 in Belen and found out that the crew for 3751 also stayed there that night and we got a lot of information from them about the trip. We chased the 3751 from Belen to Topeka, Kansas on what was one the best and wildest trips I ever had with Dave. We drove into a flash flood at Fredonia, Texas and all three cars "swam" out of the flood. In Bovina, Texas there were several people in the way of our "Composition" shot. When Dave complained about it, a lady next to us told a man to clear out the shot for us. After the 3751 came through at 65 mph we found out the lady was the Mayor and the guy was the Police Chief. The next day of the trip we actually got a local grain dealer let us get up on top of their silos to take a picture! What turned out to be the highlight of the trip came early in the morning at Valley Center, Kansas when we were set up for a shot of the 3751 coming past a Santa Fe signal. A guy came across the tracks to ask us about the train and if we were from the area. It turns out that he was the editor of THE ARK VALLEY NEWS, the local newspaper. After the train passed he ran across the tracks and asked me for our names and my address. The following week the September 10, 1992 edition of "The Ark Valley News" arrived at my house and on the front page was a picture of the 3751 rolling though town and below it a picture of the four of us in a photo line and a little story about us.

The "Dean" of Cleveland Railfans may be gone, but we all have our memories of him and thankful that he shared part of his life with us. It’s to bad that he did not live to April 1st to see his book, "Railfanning Around Cleveland, 1965 TO 1978," released. The book will be a fitting final tribute to him and his photos.

-- Denis Bydash

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Tom Cowing said...

To All: (7-11-06)

My name is Tom Cowing. I just purchased David's last book "Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979".

I never knew David but would like to say that I feel that I am his kindred brother. I live in California, however I was born in Canton, Ohio in the 40s, and went to Collinwood High School, right where he wrote about the Collinwood rail yard are on E.152 nd Street in Cleveland.

His love of train matches mine I believe, and maybe more.

I was wondering if anyone who reads this would contact me because I know that in my heart of hearts that Dave and I, if we had ever met, would have been good friends. I have never said anything like this before about a stranger.

After reading his biography in his book, and knowing when and where he came from, and his love of trains, it's just too strong to deny.

I would like to contact someone in his family to express my feelings about this, and if anyone sees this, please contact me by email: tcowing@pacbell.net .

I was truly saddened about hearing of his passing, and I only found out when I opened his book. The publisher inserted a memorium notice about his passing right after the books publication.

When I read about his youth in the book, his background and childhood in Ohio, I noticed that I had been in every city that he had been in Ohio, and I am sure that we probably passed each other on the road.

Well that's it, and if you could let someone in his family know about this writting, it would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Tom Cowing


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