|Jack (in the turntable pit) holding court. Sadly, three folks in this image have now passed on.|
Last week, noted rail, prototype and model, Jack Ozanich passed away. It was rather sudden as he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer just a few weeks before passing.
I first met Jack at an op session in Michigan in 2003 at Bruce Chubb's layout. I was assigned a tower operator job at that session. So, I pretty much stayed in one place the whole time. After a while, I heard a man running a train on the other side of the peninsula where I was sitting. The man was making diesel engine sound effects with his mouth, much like a kid would when playing with a toy train. So I looked up, and who rounds the curve, but Jack with his train. I had to chuckle to myself as here was a professional railroader that drove an engine for his career just having a grand time with model trains.
Jack was a great guy. He was somewhat of a legend in model railroad circles because he ran his HO and live steam layouts like prototype railroads. His op sessions did not take meal breaks and could run for multiple days. I had two chances to operate the HO layout. During a session, he would patrol the layout and provide on the spot corrections (also known as ass chewings) to people that were screwing up. I was lucky in that I escaped his ass chewings. He did try to get me one time for leaving a car while I switched, but when I explained what I was doing, he said, "awww, OK."
However, Jack made up for that by giving me an ass chewing on my own railroad. He showed up late for an afternoon op session and was taking his time filling out his log book, while his train was over an hour late. He chewed me out for rushing him. He being my guest, I didn't have the heart to tell him, the Aquia Line is a Union railroad but not a union railroad. He could have been dismissed on the spot.
We operated together on several other railroads over the years. He was funny, full of energy and just a blast to hang out with. He will be missed.