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Alan F . Toale Memoriam 1997

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In Memoriam - ALAN F. TOALE
Railfan - Secretary WNYRHS - Editor - Trustee - 1959 - 1997
by Rick Henn

          During the past year the WNYRHS lost two valued and active members, John G. Frazer and Alan F. Toale. They believed in and were dedicated to the goals and ideals of the WNYRHS. More importantly they were personal friends to many of us. And while their passing is very sad I don't think they should be remembered with sadness. Instead we should remember their a accomplishments and celebrate their lives. The WNYRHS has done this by adding their names to our "Roll of Honor." I am sure you will agree that they are deserving of the recognition.

Alan became a member of the WNYRHS in 1981 and was soon active in many aspects of the society . He served as a car attendant on excursions and was always present at work parties and special events. At least once a week, even in the winter, he would be out checking to see that the equipment stored in Hamburg was safe and secure. Alan was always ready to do whatever needed to be done no matter how dirty or seemingly trivial. If a job needed doing, Alan was there to do it. Besides his time spent at work parties, Alan served very capably as editor of the "Railway Flyer" and he sat on the Board of Trustees.

While he enjoyed all aspects of railroading, Alan had a special affinity for chasing trains. He could often be seen racing ahead of a train to set up the next photograph. Sometimes he didn't make it though. His brother said that during the "Glass City Limited" trips, the year they were pulled by the Pennsy E-8s, Alan could be seen racing along side barely able to keep up let alone get ahead. It was said, unofficially of course, that the train was pushing 80 mph.

Alan' s favorite worksite was the Orchard Park depot. He loved the setting and he especially loved to get his hands in the dirt and do gardening. He had big plans for the gardens that are now named in his memory.

Full scale trains were not Alan's only railroad interest as he was an avid collector and operator of Lionel trains. Alan was quite knowledgeable in this area and was quite capable in repairing items and locating unusual pieces. He and his brother Art had a large layout in Art's attic where Alan was known to reside for hours at a time.

Alan contributed much to the success of the WNYRHS and to the lives of those who had the privilege to know him. He will be missed. I would like to thank his brother, Art Toale, for his assistance in preparing this article.

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