Topics

FW: Ron Sebastian - Des Plaines Hobbies

Charlie Vlk
 

All-

 

Barb and I are still stunned by the news of Ron’s passing on Wednesday morning.

 

I was just up in Illinois for the recent Burlington Route Historical Society Meet and I enjoyed spending the entire Monday afternoon prior to the meet kibitzing with Ron at Des Plaines Hobbies.

He always referred to me as “Charlie buy-a-vowel” and reminded me he was younger (by a year).  

 

He not only ran one of the best Model Railroad Hobby Shops (more of an Institution than a mere store!)  in the country (if not the best!) but was responsible for the creation of O, S, and N products under Des Plaines Hobbies, S Scale America and Centralia brands.  He was very generous with his knowledge and expertise and cooperated with many well-known manufacturer / importers in supplying prototype information for their products.

 

I appreciate reading everyone’s memories of Ron…..learning things about a great friend that I did not know about.

Ron worked back in the day when he still had hair at the famed All Nations Hobby Shop in Chicago….prior to the time I worked there in the mid-1960s. I believe he also had a career as a FAA Crash Investigator besides his military helicopter service both in the Army and National Guard.  

He had a brief stint working in train service on the Chicago & North Western.   He would never reveal his railroad nickname and none of his shop employees ever found anyone who had worked with him that would reveal it…..a sign that there was a really good story attached to the moniker!!!

 

Barb and I extend our deepest sympathies to Sue and his family and we have Ron and all of the Des Plaines Hobbies fraternity in our thoughts and prayers!

 

Charlie Vlk

Mt. Juliet, TN

 

Dennis Storzek
 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 09:27 AM, Charlie Vlk wrote:
I believe he also had a career as a FAA Crash Investigator besides his military helicopter service both in the Army and National Guard.  
Since we are discussing Ron's CV, there is a chapter missing. I know Ron flew choppers in Nam, but when I met him in the eighties at his original vest pocket store in Des Plaines, he was already out of the army (don't know about the National Guard) and was working as a civilian pilot for some gov't agency. That came to an end with his heart attack, which occurred after he had moved the shop to the big store in the shopping center. Yes, he did take a position as an investigator with the FAA, but it wasn't long before he decided that wasn't for him and took his pension and devoted his full energies to the store.

Dennis Storzek

Michael Gross
 

I have already commented on the sad loss of Des Plaines Hobby's Ron Sebastian, but today recalled a photo my cousin took of me during the Chicagoland RPM weekend a few years ago.  It was taken at Des Plaines Hobby, and illustrates the magic a well-stocked "bricks and mortar" model railroad hobby shop can still invoke for a life-long hobbiest like myself.  Ron was the magician who created that magic.  He and his like are sorely missed.
--
Michael Gross
Pasadena, CA

skibbs4
 

Oh, the Cubs hat too. Great photo. But first the Cubs died, then Ted’s wife, and now Ron. Please be kind to Chicagoans at RPM in a few weeks. We’ve reached our threes. 

I had the pleasure of working for Ron for 8 years, and learned so much about the industry and manufacturing. The fountain of knowledge was worth the few times he crashed the server at the shop because he was surfing the internet on the *important* computer running the inventory... the shop was less fun at 2am than during the day!  We also tried forever to learn what his nickname was on the railroad. That secret may have gone to the grave with both Ron and his good friend Dummy. I’m sure they are catching up again. 

Mike Skibbe





On Oct 4, 2019, at 12:40 PM, Michael Gross <ActorMichaelGross@...> wrote:

I have already commented on the sad loss of Des Plaines Hobby's Ron Sebastian, but today recalled a photo my cousin took of me during the Chicagoland RPM weekend a few years ago.  It was taken at Des Plaines Hobby, and illustrates the magic a well-stocked "bricks and mortar" model railroad hobby shop can still invoke for a life-long hobbiest like myself.  Ron was the magician who created that magic.  He and his like are sorely missed.
--
Michael Gross
Pasadena, CA
<So Many Trains 2.jpg>

Charlie Vlk
 

Michael-

 

Is the caption “I may be an actor on TV and the movies but in real life I am a Model Railroader?”

 

You are right about the magic;  my post relating that Ron worked at All-Nations Hobby Shop in Chicago triggered several emails from ex-All Nations employees and a number of posts from Des Plaines Hobbies customers.

Somehow a package from Amazon arriving on the doorstep isn’t quite the same as dropping into your Local Hobby Shop (where, like Cheers, everybody knows your name!!) and bringing home a new treasure when all you went there for is to pick up the latest MR or a bottle of paint…..

 

Charlie Vlk

 

I have already commented on the sad loss of Des Plaines Hobby's Ron Sebastian, but today recalled a photo my cousin took of me during the Chicagoland RPM weekend a few years ago.  It was taken at Des Plaines Hobby, and illustrates the magic a well-stocked "bricks and mortar" model railroad hobby shop can still invoke for a life-long hobbiest like myself.  Ron was the magician who created that magic.  He and his like are sorely missed.
--
Michael Gross
Pasadena, CA

 

Rich C
 

Guys, It came to me as a shock. I would see Ron once or twice a month as I live in Racine and my modular clubs are in Illinois. As Michael said " well stocked brick & mortar store" , I ditto that. I still find things that are long sold out elsewhere. Always has the decals I need.


He will always be remembered

Rich Christie

On Friday, October 4, 2019, 02:24:59 PM CDT, Charlie Vlk <cvlk@...> wrote:


Michael-

 

Is the caption “I may be an actor on TV and the movies but in real life I am a Model Railroader?”

 

You are right about the magic;  my post relating that Ron worked at All-Nations Hobby Shop in Chicago triggered several emails from ex-All Nations employees and a number of posts from Des Plaines Hobbies customers.

Somehow a package from Amazon arriving on the doorstep isn’t quite the same as dropping into your Local Hobby Shop (where, like Cheers, everybody knows your name!!) and bringing home a new treasure when all you went there for is to pick up the latest MR or a bottle of paint…..

 

Charlie Vlk

 

I have already commented on the sad loss of Des Plaines Hobby's Ron Sebastian, but today recalled a photo my cousin took of me during the Chicagoland RPM weekend a few years ago.  It was taken at Des Plaines Hobby, and illustrates the magic a well-stocked "bricks and mortar" model railroad hobby shop can still invoke for a life-long hobbiest like myself.  Ron was the magician who created that magic.  He and his like are sorely missed.
--
Michael Gross
Pasadena, CA

 

Steve and Barb Hile
 

I can't remember the first time I visited Des Plaines Hobbies.  It was probably in the late 1980's or early 90's.  In those days, I often had a meeting in Racine, Wisconsin and on my return trip to Naperville, I could visit Iron Horse Hobbies in Kenosha and/or DPH.  I remember the smaller store at the north side of the strip mall and that Ron was excited to move to the larger store to the south.  I had to get off the Tri-State at Golf Road and wind my way through the forest preserve and downtown Des Plaines to get to the shop.

I remember Ron being an acerbic wit, but always extremely friendly and helpful once I got to know him.

My sincere condolences to Sue and the family.

Thanking Ron for his service to his country and his customers in the hobby,
Steve Hile