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William Quick Memoriam 2016

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Railfan - National Director - Announcer - 1938 - 2016
by John T. Slater

          When the news hit of Bill Quick's sudden passing on the morning of April 5, 2016 while vacationing with his wife Eve, it was met with shock and dismay. The sadness was expressed by an immediate flow of condolences, prayers, and praises from friends, members of his church, the Iroquois school community, and railfans, both local and around the country. When Leslie asked me to write a tribute to Bill for the newsletter, I was honored but wanted to explore beyond the facts noted in his  Obituary in the "Buffalo News"  and help provide an insight into one of the areas most prominent advocates for the preservation of local railroad history.

Having grown up in Blasdell, Bill was exposed to railroads at an early age and spent a great deal of time watching trains at Lake Avenue and GB. His fondness for the Nickel Plate's Berkshires, PA-1 Bluebirds, and High Speed Service cabooses was interpreted through his modeling and, eventually, through his service to the Western New York Railway Historical Society and the Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society. His model railroad layouts focused on the Nickel Plate, as did much of his collection of brass locomotives and rolling stock. He became active in the WNYRHS and volunteered at the Orchard Park depot, was a regular car host on society excursions, and announced at the Train Show for several years.

As a member of both the WNYRHS and NKPHTS, Bill worked with Devan Lawton to bring an NKPHTS annual convention to Buffalo in 1985, thus establishing a link between the two organizations that would remain intact for the remainder of his life. By 1994, Bill had become very active in the NKPHTS and, in 1997, began his almost 19 years of service on the NKPHTS Board, ten of them as National Director; the non-profit corporation's Officiating Officer.

The first time I met Bill Quick was at the NKPHTS Dunkirk convention in the Fall of 1993 (one of four such events he was involved in promoting on behalf of the society). Eight years later, well into his second term as National Director and knowing of my Board involvement in the early years of the NKPHTS, Bill urged me to come out of retirement and assist him with conducting an operational audit of the non-profit corporation. Over the next two years, we worked together on the Society's first-ever strategic plan and a constitutional reorganization that restructured the Board and paved the way for an expansion of member services. During that time, Bill and I ate a lot of French toast - his favorite morning meal - at our breakfast meetings at the old Bob Evans on Walden Avenue. We served on the Board together until I retired (for the second time) in 2008 and accepted a Board appointment as Director Emeritus.

During his extended tenure as Past National Director, I continued to work with Bill on various projects related to collections assessment and policy administration. Along with the late David B. Allen, Jr. we brought a second NKPHTS convention to the Buffalo area (Grand Island) in 2009 and another - hosted by the Heritage Discovery Center - in September 2015. As with so many past conventions, Bill took the podium in his role as auctioneer at the Society's fund-raising auction and as Master of Ceremonies at the annual banquet; something he enjoyed doing for more than two decades.

When the Cleveland State University Administration decided to rescind its Repository Agreement with the NKPHTS in 2013, Bill again enlisted my assistance in developing a strategy to move the Society's corporate archive and Nickel Plate Road Historical CollectionsTM to the Heritage Discovery Center. Approved by both Boards of Directors, the new Repository Agreement between the NKPHTS and the WNYRHS has been mutually beneficial and a model for additional archive placements at the Heritage Discovery Center. The monumental project of moving the collections was recently completed, but not
before the addition of a first-floor Archive Annex to supplement the original Archive Room off the Library.

The WNYRHS unanimously voted to re-name Room 202 at the Heritage Discovery Center the "NKPHTS WILLIAM C. QUICK ARCHIVE ROOM" as a lasting tribute to Bill's long-time dedication to both the WNYRHS and the NKPHTS. On June 11th, 2016, I hosted Bill Quick's family with a tour and conducted a ceremony for the naming of the "Archive Room."

Bill had an engaging personality and the ability to put people at ease, no matter what the surroundings or situation. Those of us who knew Bill recognized his vision, sense of purpose, dedication, and quite often experienced his infectious sense of humor. His presence at our train shows and at WNYRHS meetings will be sorely missed, but his absence from the position of leadership he held with the NKPHTS will never be adequately replaced.

John T. Slater, WNYRHS Life Member, NKPHTS Director Emeritus.

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