Honoring the Honorary!
By Carol R. McGinnis, TCA# HE95-41066 Summer e*Train 2023
You may, or you may not, be aware that there are currently over 80,000 TCA numbers that have been issued since 1954. That’s a whole lot of people over the past 69 years! Of those 80,000 people each one has a story to tell.
Some of those have made such an impact on the Train Collectors Association that they have been presented with an “Honorary Membership.” Officially the TCA Rules and Regulations state: Membership Section 200: 200-01: B6: Honorary Member: A Division Board of Directors may recommend a candidate for Honorary Membership. The Division recommendation shall be acted upon by the National Board of Directors and approved by a two thirds (2/3) vote. Honorary Members will pay no dues, be able to attend all TCA meets and receive TCA publications. Honorary Members shall not have the right to hold office, vote, have tables or engage in the selling of toy trains or related items during national, division, or chapter meets or in the National Headquarters News.”
In the past 69 years TCA has honored several men and women with the designation of Honorary. Are there 11, as indicated in the 2008 Directory, or are there more? These individuals are listed in the printed Directories which were published up until 2008. Keep in mind that Honorary is different than Honor Roll. (And that’s a story for another time!)
- John Coleman Hafner (1897-1993)
John C. Hafner took over The Hafner Manufacturing Company from his father in 1933. Hafner Mfg. was a maker of tinplate clockwork-powered O gauge toy trains, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1914 to 1951. It was formed when its founder and John’s father, William Frederick Hafner, a co-founder of American Flyer, left the AF company in favor of creating his own company.
John was conferred the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership on June 28, 1968 and TCA# 68-2388 by the TCA Board of Directors at the 14th Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. A motion was made at the BOD meeting, seconded, and passed unanimously. “To confer Honorary membership effective upon (the) adoption of (a) new constitution.”
- Maurice H. Romer (1906-1984)
Maury H. Romer, was a long-time employee of the A.C. Gilbert Company (formerly American Flyer) He supervised production of the postwar S gauge line, the A.C. Gilbert Co. He started work in 1927. His knowledge and character most certainly is an asset to TCA.
Maury was conferred the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership on June 28, 1968 by the TCA Board of Directors at the 14th Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. A motion was made at the BOD meeting, seconded, and passed unanimously. “To confer Honorary membership effective upon (the) adoption of (a) new constitution.”
Ed Alexander ( thanks to oscalekings.org)
- Edwin P. Alexander (1905 – 1981)
Edwin P. Alexander founded the American Model Railroad Company in 1927. He built scale model railroad equipment for over 40 years. Examples of his work have been displayed in the Smithsonian Institute and in the Museum of Science & Industry. He was also a prolific author. In addition to writing articles for many model magazines in the 1920’s and 30’s such as “The Modelmaker” and “Railroad Model Craftsman” (Alexander also served as a research editor for Railroad Model Craftsman in the 1950’s), he authored many books about prototype railroads. These included: “American Locomotives” in 1941, “The Pennsylvania Railroad, a Pictorial History” in 1947, “Iron Horses American Locomotives 1829-1900” from 1949, “The Collector’s Book of the Locomotive” in 1966, “Down at the Depot, American Railroad Stations from 1831 to 1920” in 1970, “On The Main Line” in 1971 and “Civil War Railroads and Models” published in 1989.
Ed Alexander was also an early tin-plate toy train collector and along with Bill Krames was one of the 68 founding charter members of the Train Collectors Association. He was CM#-4 as one of the founders of TCA. Ed and Bill first met at Ed’s residence in late 1954. Ed was also a Charter member of the NMRA and was given the 1965 NMRA Distinguished Service Award. In 1985 he was inducted into the Model Railroad Hall of Fame. He was declared an NMRA Pioneer in Model Railroading in 1994, and was inducted into the ‘O’ Scale Hall of Fame in 2000 at New Orleans. Today the models that he manufactured and designed bring excellent prices if they can be found.
Ed was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership on June 27, 1969 at the 15th TCA Convention in Clearwater, Florida.
- William C. Krames (1918-1998)
Bill Krames was one of the 68 Charter Members of TCA, CM#-6. According to the minutes of the BOD meeting in 1969 “Bill and Ed issued a call in June 1954 to toy train collectors to attend a meeting on Yardley, PA. They diligently and actively promoted the formation of an organization of train collectors during the following months culminating in October, 1954 in Yardley. TCA was founded through their diligence and perseverance. The TCA has grown and succeeded in its purpose of promoting the hobby of collecting and operating old toy trains far beyond all expectations of a grateful association. The association wishes to acknowledge its indebtedness. Signed: Don Speidel, Jr. President, Eric Buckley, Jr. Secretary.
On June 27, 1969 Bill was given the TCA Honorary Membership by the BOD at the 15th National Convention in Clearwater, Florida.
- Eleanor Rath (-)
I am looking for information on Eleanor. Her husband, Earl Rath, TCA# 61-529, served as TCA National President from 1969-1970. As a child I met her, and her husband Earl, but I don’t know the history behind her nomination for Honorary Member and her connection to TCA. She is TCA# 82-17277, so I suspect that she received her Honorary Membership in 1982 at the 28th TCA Convention in Denver, Colorado.
- Robert Hafner (-)
Robert Hafner got an Ives train from his father in 1903 and began working for his father, John C. Hafner, in 1915. Married in 1917, Bob maintained a good relationship with Ogden Coleman of American Flyer who sent a gift for his wedding, which was not the commonly shared information about Flyer and Hafner relationships. He had wide knowledge of toy trains and their origins which he freely shared.
Bob was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership in 1984 at the TCA Convention in Pittsburgh, PA and a TCA# 84-20806.
Ronald Reagan (thanks to Pinterest)
- Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
Just before taping a Christmas special for NBC on Dec. 12, 1982, President Reagan wistfully mentioned to a group of reporters and children that he had wanted a toy train for Christmas ever since he was a little boy. Word got out, and the trains started rolling in, literally.
A popular model train in Louis Shempp’s museum collection was a No. 1 gauge German LGB owned by President Ronald Reagan. Because most of the trains from his Presidency were valued at more than $50, they had to be turned over to General Services Administration, who loaned this one to the Shempp Museum for display. (The Shempp Collection)
Ronald Reagan was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership in 1976, in addition to membership number TCA# 76-10096.
Lou at York, 1971
- Louis J. Redman (1916-2002)
Lou Redman, known as Mr. TCA, was a charter member (CM #3) and the first TCA Secretary/Treasurer and Train Collectors Quarterly Editor. Besides the many committees that he served on, he was TCA Historian and authored over 200 articles in the Train Collectors Quarterly. The early issues of Train Collectors Quarterly were typed, edited, and printed in Lou’s home with the assistance of his wife, Jody. Lou’s typewriter is housed in the National Toy Train Library Archives, along with a humorous note about it being “a real clunker”. For a great overview of the first 40 years of TCA, check out Lou’s article, “40 Years of TCA (1954-1994)”, in the October 1994 (Vol. 40, No. 5) issue of Train Collectors Quarterly. #25DaysTCA
On June 26, 1970 Lou was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Member at the 16th TCA Convention in Chicago. The minutes read “Lou Redman will be an Honorary Member for his devoted efforts for the Association over the last 16 years”.
Bicentennial American Freedom Train 1976 (thanks to invaluable.com)
- Gerald Ford (1913-2006)
The minutes of the BOD meeting of June 23, 1976 state that Bill Tunstall moved and Ben Dick seconded that (the following TCA members) Walter White, Gilbert Tosch, Eric Buckley Jr., Jim Crone, Gordon Hinkle, Lou Redman, and Jacques Gersenberger present to the American People through President Ford, Set #1 of the TCA Bicentennial Special (Set). And that an Honorary Membership be accorded to President Ford.
The Smithsonian Museum and the Gerald Ford Museum have been contacted for comment.
- Richard Stafford
I am looking for information on Richard. If you know who he was, and/or what his connection is to TCA, please let me know. He is TCA# 59-371.
- Jody Redman (1924-2008)
And then there is Jody Redman, the wife and confidant of Lou Redman, was mother to Ruth, Lou, Peg, and me. While Dad moved around in his infamous train suit (whether suit #1 or suit #2) she maintained the family unit. She also edited and printed the first years of the Train Collectors Quarterly and the National Newsletter, and the TCA Directory. Now it must be added that “printed” is not what it is today. She used a huge Multilith machine that Dad had moved into the basement. The first machine was hand crank and then “technology” improved and the new machine was electric. (But still nothing even close to the machines of today.)
Many hours were spent churning (kerchucking) out all the publications during those early years of TCA. After getting us kids off to bed she would retire to the basement to crank out all the magazines and newsletters. She became one of only three women to be honored in this fashion. She, and Lou were also the only couple honored in this fashion. She was inconspicuous in her dealings with everyone, remaining in the background which was her preference.
Jody was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Member in 2003 shortly after receiving her TCA# 03-55985. In addition, dedication of “Lionel Standard of the World,” Edition 1 was made to Lou and Jody Redman and Jody was presented with a TCA Annual Award caboose in 1966 tcq61-3.pdf (tcatrains.org)
Drawing by Ward Kimball of himself and his wife, Betty.
- Betty Kimball (1912-2010)
Betty Kimball created and preserved cartoons and trains for future generations. Betty supported all that her husband Ward did. Ward, as one of Disney’s 9 Old Men, was directly responsible for rekindling Walt Disney’s love of railroading, and this led to Disneyland and the modern theme park. Betty worked her way up through the ranks of Walt Disney’s animators and always was an ambassador for trains.
Betty was given the distinguished TCA Honorary Membership in 2009 and is TCA# 09-64264.
So these are the members who have been awarded an Honorary Membership with TCA. They truly represent a range of talents, backgrounds, and interests that represent the depth and breadth of TCA. If you have any additional information on any of these distinguished individuals, please contact me at [email protected].
Yours in Train-ing.
tcq23-2a.pdf (tcatrains.org) (Dedication of Lionel Standard of the World to the Redmans)
tcq61-3.pdf (tcatrains.org) (Award caboose)
oscalekings.org (this site is no longer active)
invaluable.com (Auction site for Art, Jewelry, Furniture, and Collectibles)