Obituary for Floyd Shell (member 1999-2018)

The news of Floyds passing has left all of us in the club deeply saddened. Floyd was a tremendous asset to the club in building high quality rolling stock and structures and was always available to help repair locos, rolling stock and buildings.

My introduction to Floyd 2 years ago when I first joined the club, was in the context of finding a box car on the layout which had a missing 3/16th inch long coupler spring. A fellow member said “just give it to Floyd, he fixes those sorts of things”. On handing over the box car to him, I noticed that the box car suddenly started oscillating violently about 6 inches in all directions. Floyd had the Shakes. I wondered if I would ever see the box car again let alone the fitting of a 3/16th spring… The Shakes are a debilitating condition not unfamiliar to me since my own Father suffers from the same affliction, and watching him try and eat a plate of peas with a fork was met with mixed emotions. In fact my father had to give up his woodworking hobby as a result. Floyd on the other hand was different.  30mins later the box car was returned complete with fitted coupler spring. “How on earth did he do that?”, I thought. Floyd had developed a technique of bracing himself to minimize his condition.  So much so that he was able to build structures and rolling stock with very fine detail.  I enclose a picture of his signature piece on the layout.

Of course there are some in the club that say this determination of his extended to his voting direction when it came to motions made at a business meeting. The singular and plaintive cry of “Nay” when the question “all those against?” was raised was eagerly followed by laughter from the rest of the club.  Although, thinking on some of the motions raised at the business meetings, maybe Floyd had a point!

Watching him struggle through the door with about ½ ton of crammed full plastic boxes on club days always left me feeling guilty especially when I had left some tool or other at home. “Floyd has one” was a frequent cry and he never let anyone down in rummaging through his stuff to find the right tool for your use. The truth is he was always there for us, whether it be in fixing rolling stock at operation sessions or diagnosing problems on the layout. He may have said “no” at business meetings but he never, ever said “no” when anyone requested help. And that is how I for one will remember him, as someone who donated his expertise, skills and time to the betterment of others. He will be sorely missed.

written by Keith Waddell