Re: Larry Jackman 1931-2009
The subject of Larry came up on Andy Harman's Diesel List the end of November, which prompted several posts. I had the opportunity to get to know Larry pretty well, a little better than the semi casual we do with people we meet through this hobby and keep in touch with with letters, phone calls, e-mail or seeing at various meets. Here is a reposting of what I wrote to Andy's List:toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
This discussion about Larry Jackman got me digging through my files. I first met Larry through Ed Ryan back in the late 1980's. Ed was working in the Seattle area and somehow had been introduced to Larry (I think it was through Bob Hundman of Mainline Modeler). I went up to see Ed and he took me to visit Larry. Talk about the mad professor/shade tree mechanic, his garage was full of "stuff" for making the parts he was selling under the Smokey Valley line. He had some attachment for his drill press that heated plastic pellets that were then squeezed into a mold that he just clamped in a mill vise. Very basic for small parts. He had several molds that were made from the 3M Tartan process that used a sintered metal powder to capture the detail off of a male master. Thru Ed we became friends.
In 1989 Rail Power Products introduced their SD60 shell, and Larry had the late Joel Berling tool him a three window cab to convert the SD60 into a SD60M. Ed had moved back to Southern California and moved in with me. Larry asked Ed and I to build him a display model for the Houston NMRA Convention for his display. Later I wrote and article on the model that ran in the January 1990 issue of Mainline Modeler. Later that year I had scratch built a Dynamic Brake Section to make a Phase II GP50 out of an Athearn GP50. At Larry's request I made drawings for the dynamic section that I sent to Larry in June 1990. He had Joel make the tooling for the dynamic and then also the Blomberg Type M truck side frame.
Over the years we kept in touch and saw each other at shows, and he was always after me for other ideas that he could make. After he sold Smokey Valley to Bob Wright (Wright Track, who subsiquently sold the Smokey Valley part of it to Larry Burt) there was a period that he could not compete. I think this is when he and is wife moved to Florida, and he got involved in S Scale stuff, and later back into HO with the switcher side frames. His connection with Joel was fruitful for Larry and the hobby. Joel was one of those master "behind the scenes" toolmakers who did projects for lots of small companies from Detail Associates, Smokey Valley, Des Plaines Hobbies, PBL, Hi Tech Details, Wright Track, and many others. He could work from sketches and photographs and produce quality molds. Joel passed away in 2006 not long after Gordon Cannon. Without Joel, Larry lost his toolmaker.
I last saw him at one of the Cocoa Beach meets a few years ago, but he didn't spend much time as his wife was not doing well and he wanted to get back home. Many of you only know him from his stories and/or rants on the various lists but anyone who met him will remember him as someone with a lot of knowledge and a will to share it.
Larry we (at least me) miss you.
PS Tom, Thanks
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