On april 06, 2006, Chris Allan of Joshua Tree & Southern posted the following mail on my 7- plus-ngm – mailinglist:
Our beloved Rudy passed away around 9 PM last night. He was surrounded by his family and a few friends.
Rudy was a driving force at JT&S and owner of Como Roundhouse Products. He has provided tremendous leadership for many years and his generous contributions have made many things possible. But most of all, Rudy was a great friend. We all will miss him.
Please keep Rudy’s wife, daughter and family in your thoughts.
Posted by the Joshua Tree and Southern Railroad Museum Directors.
And on april 17, 2006, he put the Spring JT&S Newsletter online, which contained a bio of Rudy, written by a member of his family, under http://www.jtsrr.org/browsers/spring06a.pdf
The photo and the text from this newsletter:
R udy van Wingen was born on November 10, 1938. Even as a young child he was well traveled, spending his time in Oklahoma, Oregon and California. In Oregon he came to know and love his father Rudy’s new wife, Marylou and his new sisters, Susie and Sally.
Rudy graduated from San Marino High School and entered the navy. After his discharge he attended USC where he met his fraternity brothers and life-long friends as well as the love of his life, Esther.
Rudy and Esther married in 1963 and settled in Pasadena.
Rudy worked for Connor Spring Manufacturing. In 1965 the arrival of their daughter Lissa marked a new direction in the couple’s life.
Rudy’s interest in model railroading began in his teens. His Uncle Gill was an HO scale enthusiast and Rudy’s love of science and engineering seemed a perfect match for his new- found hobby. Rudy’s soon discovered the beauty of narrow gauge. He along with Loren Brown, Ron Baisley, Tom Pollock and Bill Plunkett were the original founders to make the Slim Gauge Guild a reality. Later Rudy became an active member of Los Angeles Live Steamers and Riverside Live Steamers, but in later life his heart was always in Joshua Tree. Nothing could lift his spirits like an upcoming weekend with “the boys.”
Through a long chain of events Rudy ended up in the small niche of live steam modelers and built several 1 ½ inch scale, 4 ¾ gauge locomotives.
Rudy’s love of railroading was such that it was no surprise when he left Connor to start his own business utilizing his expertise in spring manufacturing and locomotive design.
Through his long time association with Francis Moseley, Rudy learned a great deal about the various steam appliances that are used on model locomotives and in time came to form Como Roundhouse Products. Como Roundhouse specialized in furnishing 2 ½ scale car and locomotive hardware to modelersin the growing fi eld of the live steam hobby. The success of the business allowed Rudy and Esther to travel quite a bit and believe it or not, every trip did not revolve around trains.
Rudy will be remembered as a wonderful husband, loving father and a source of wisdom and strength to all who knew him. He will be dearly missed but we are fortunate to have known him in our own way.
Thank you to the Van Wingen family for this wonderful biography.
Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go out to Esther, Lissa and all of Rudy’s family and friends. -ed. ☼
Photo by Peter Moseley
We Say Goodbye to Rudy.
Como Roundhouse Products, his business for the livesteam-hobby, was taken over by Paul Lavacot before Rudy passed away.
His website is http://www.ridgwayroundhouseproducts.com
(above information was submitted by Hubert “The Goose” Wetekamp, Moderator of the 7-plus-ngm – mailing list)