We will miss him greatly.
by Bruce Dover
James Buckberry was many things to many people. He was a caring and loving father…”hard on the outside, but good on the inside”, to his son Justin. He was a proud grandfather to Owen and had just been told, about a week before he died, that there was another grandchild on the way. To his co-workers at Dell and elsewhere, he went by the nickname of “London”. In conversation, he was always ready with a witty comeback, followed by a big smile and laugh.
To those of us who worked with him through SCCA, he was a conscientious Starter with a penchant for enforcing pit out blend line violations. He even had custom shirts printed with “Don’t Violate Me” on the front, along with a diagram of the Blend line at pit out. He had one for Carolina Motorsports Park, in Kershaw, SC and one for VIR and loved to attend the morning Driver’s meeting at both tracks to show them off to the drivers and warn them of the consequences for the violation. He served as Chief Starter at both of those tracks. And, drivers knew when they saw him in the Start stand as they rolled down the straightaway looking for a green flag to start their race, that if they weren’t lined up properly, all they’d see was that big cowboy hat shaking back and forth, telling them to go around and try again. To Jamie D., he was a mentor, who helped usher Jamie from raw rookie (and I do mean raw!) all the way to his National license. There were lots of bumps along the way, but James was always there for Jamie. He was a unique individual and he will be sorely missed.
James was born in London, England in 1950 to George and Gladys Buckberry. His dad worked in an art gallery in London and his mum worked in an office. At the age of 16, he joined the Royal Marines…something he was very proud of and really enjoyed. According to his sister, he basically joined because he was a loner. He served 4 years active duty and 8 years in the reserves. While living in England, he married Christine and had two children, Karen and Ian. In 1986, at age 36, while working for Decision Date, he transferred to the United States. Just one year later, he joined the Sports Car Club of America. In 1989, he earned his U.S. citizenship. He was married to Terri from 1987 until 1995. Son Justin was born in 1986.
After a lifetime of smoking cigarettes, he was diagnosed with COPD toward the end of 2015. That forced him to carry an oxygen bottle around with him and made just climbing the steps to the Start stand at VIR a major effort…something that would leave him out of breath when he reached the top. He made the decision, around Christmas time last year, to step down from his position as Chief Starter and try some other specialty. He then asked the NCR Board of Directors to appoint someone else to that position. However, before that could take place, he had a serious heart-to-heart talk with his good friend, Pete Romanowski, who convinced him that his many years of experience as an SCCA Starter could best be used to train new Starters. Consequently, he withdrew the notice of his intent to resign.
The last SCCA function he attended was the West Chapter meeting on July 5th in Greensboro. He showed up wearing a “boot” and was on crutches. He had broken his foot by tripping over a stump while Justin and he were cutting limbs down in his yard 2 or 3 weeks earlier. Despite all that, he was still talking about going to Charlotte for the Daylight Into Darkness race in August! That was a Central Carolinas Region race and he was their Chief Starter, so he would find a way! That meeting of the West Chapter was held in a building owned by Jerry Pell and the Chapter members were having a cookout around back on the ground floor. The meeting itself was to be held upstairs and there was no elevator available, so James left early, after he’d had a little time to eat and socialize with the attendees.
Two days later, he was cutting his lawn and apparently had a heart attack. His next door neighbor saw him lying in the yard and called 911. James had died. He had just celebrated his 66th birthday 4 days earlier.
His funeral/memorial service was held on July 12th at the Loflin Funeral Home in Liberty, NC and was well attended by many NC Region members who came by to say their farewells.
In the wake of his death, a big void has been created. The Start stands at VIR and Kershaw will never be the same again. Many of us who worked with him will never again see a car cross a blend line without thinking of James. I know I surely won’t.
(Below, left) The early days, prior to the Royal Marines. I’ll bet you could hear him coming a ways off with all that hardware dangling and jangling!
(Below, right) Newly recruited and all squared away!
(Below) With daughter Karen and son Ian in England.
(Below, left) Looking young and buff at Cherry Grove around 1989, with 3 year old Justin. Wait…Is that a shark?!
(Below, right) His first really big hat!
(Below) At Justin’s wedding with ex-wife Terri.
(Below) With newborn Owen.
(Below) Go ahead! I dare you!
There have been a couple of recent passings of note to the racing community and we’d like to share them with you here.
(Thanks to Buddy Matthews and Jerry Pell for bringing them to my attention — Ed.)
The following is reprinted from MMR – My Motorsports Resources
Denise McCluggage – Friends Remember
Nearly a week has gone by since we learned of Denise’s passing. The shock has worn off, and with the sadness that persists has come the realization that a very special being was in our midst. But you already know that.
Thank you to David Bull, Dom Miliano, Tom Burnside, and everyone who wrote to share their thoughts.
Jesse Alexander – Denise was a dear friend and we shared a number of wonderful memories from the middle to the late 1950s when she came to Europe for the racing season. We were both at Le Mans when Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien won the 24 Hours. And then at a spectacular Historic Mille Miglia in the 1980s my son and I shared a Mercedes Benz 190 press car with Denise, giving her an opportunity to REALLY press on. It was great fun. The three of us had a ball. This wondrful lady will be sorely missed by so many.
Toly Arutunoff – She had a depth of insight that went beyond anyone else I know. And when she said insightful things they were so obvious and logical; she was to the car world as Sherlock Holmes was to crime sleuthing. Every conversation with her was a delight. Then there was the estheticism in her writings – her wonderful vocabulary. And don’t forget her photographs. During my last evening-long visit with her, half a dozen years ago doggone it, she brought out a selection of her favorite photographs. Truly wonderful stuff. And as she spread her chosen work on the coffee table we simultaneously said, “Jesse Alexander, eat your heart out!” A conversation with her was never just a “car guy” conversation, as much fun as they are. A huge and irreplaceable loss, from the days when motorsports was truly a sport.
Alain de Cadenet – I only heard the sad news yesterday. What an active soul she was. Always willing to pass on news, views and ideas. Coupled with her tote bag of memories and experiences that made her a very special person and a bridge to a bygone era of decency and excellence that will,hopefully, endure forever in her writing. A pioneer minded lady if ever I met one.
Keith Carlson – Through our publisher, Peter, I had the great good fortune, on a few occasions, to spend several memorable hours with Ms. McCluggage. She was a very charming and vivacious lady. Perhaps of interest to others is one conversation we had when I asked, knowing that she had been at Mills in the late Forties and that Dave Brubeck was studying with Darius Milhaud there, at that time, whether she had met him. “Met him? I lived with him! And with his wife and several others, in a big old house in Oakland.” I said, “So you must have also met Paul Desmond, and Tal Farlow?” She said, “Sure, quite a few musicians hung out there and we had some great parties.” Yet another fine facet of the excellent and enviable life that she had; good for her and good for us for having had her.
Alex Dearborn –
Denise McCluggage in Nassau – In the early ’60s the December Nassau Speed Weeks was the venue favored by GP stars and USA amateurs alike…. Off-season for the former and huge fun for the latter.
I was there for the VWoA – sponsored Formula Vee GP, driving for Autodynamics.
A young woman appeared in my pits dressed in blue Dunlop coveralls and carrying a polka-dotted helmet, instead of the usual halter top and bell-bottoms “Could I borrow your car for the Ladies’ Race?” she inquired.
Huh? The feature race for FV drivers from all over the world was later in the day, and this woman has the temerity to ask to use my car!
Somehow I found myself agreeing to the loan, and off she went. After a few laps, she didn’t come around. I saw Denise walking back to the pits. Er, I had a little shunt on the back straight, she ventured. Ray Caldwell’s crew had to scramble to get the car ready for me to run the feature!
Denise McCluggage at Sugarbush – I suppose, with the appearance of a sports car in the ski area parking lot being a rare thing, it was inevitable that I would see Denise McCluggage. Although a Vermont resident, she was still a motorsports correspondent for the New York Times, and was active racing Ferraris.
She lived up a steep driveway off the access road, and after inviting me to visit, warned that I wouldn’t make it up the driveway in “that car”, referring to my 356 Porsche. Of course, that was the dare I needed to make the try. After a few runs, I parked it at the bottom and walked up, passing her Land Rover which bore the VT license tag, “DOG”. Knocking on her door I asked if the dog was the biting kind. Well, no, Denise replied, “some people have a dog named Rover, but I have a Rover named Dog”. I spotted a piano in the living room, and asked her if she played. “Not too much”, she replied, “but Phil Hill visits once a year to tune it.” Good reason to have one, I thought.
Denise’s definition of a sports car: “It makes the trees blurry”
Larry Edsall – Read a wonderful piece Larry wrote about Denise for ClassicCars.com here.
Vic Elford – I first met Denise McCluggage over fifty years ago in London. She already had a number of years of circuit racing behind her when she decided that European Rallying might be fun too. In 1963 my co-driver for the Liège-Sofia-Liège rally was Terry Hunter. Perhaps the fact that our car caught fire and burned to a cinder in the middle ofYugoslavia had something to do with the fact that my friend Terry then left me to join Denise as her navigator in her newly acquired Mini.
Denise always had a smile for every occasion and was always in a hurry – especially in a car. About eight years ago Porsche had a rather special event at the Barber track in Birmingham, Alabama where a number of driver/instructors were on hand to drive and be driven in the latest offerings from Stuttgart. I am a lousy passenger under any circumstances and a couple of laps with Denise at the wheel as though she was auditioning for a drive at Le Mans, did nothing to change that!
Au revoir Denise. We will miss you
Michael Furman – I wish I could call Denise and ask her how to write this. The wording would be concise – yet beautifully descriptive. The thoughts would be conveyed with a level of accuracy that left no doubt in anyone’s mind of the enormous respect and admiration I had for her. There would be wonderful stories about a life well-lived expressing wisdom, enthusiasm and a youthful fascination with life.
The words would have that twinkle from her eyes and that big smile she graciously shared for everyone.
It was an honor to know Denise McCluggage and call her a friend.
Dan Gurney – Denise McCluggage was a true original, the way she wrote, the way she talked, the way she behaved and the way she lived her life, nothing was ordinary.
We have been friends ever since she and her great friend Phil Hill picked me up at the airport in Paris in 1958 to drive south to Le Mans together where we all were scheduled to race. Denise was a pioneering racing lady who was not intimidated by famous men on the track, be it the Nuerburgring, Sebring, Riverside or the Targa Florio. She amused generations with her witty observations which she shared in her writings over many decades. I see her in my mind’s eye laughing with old pals, Briggs, Phil, Shelby andStirling. We were young together, we grew old together, I will miss you Denise!
John Lamm – Intelligent. Witty. Fun. Insightful. Honest. Cheerful. Clever. Honest. Sincere. Observant. Wise. Imaginative. Understanding. Literary. So talented. Award-winning writer. Great driver. Dear friend. Missed. Terribly.
Paul Russell – It is somewhat daunting to try and write something meaningful in remembrance of someone like Denise. She was such an colorful, intelligent, multi-skilled person. As much as I admired her athleticism, it was the way she could entertain and inform through her writing that really fascinated me. It seemed to come from the fact that she truly was engaged, whether driving a race car, or having a conversation with a new friend. She was interesting because she was curious and interested in everything, and could quickly distill her reactions like no other.
Her tachometer rests at zero now.
Fred Stevenson – I had the privilege to meet Denise in 1960. I was just out of the Army, lived on Morton St in the Village and worked at a management consultant firm at 22d & Fifth. I used to walk down Cornelia St to go across to Washington Square Parkand then up Fifth, a route that passed by the store front of “Competition Press” which was her “office”. I was a corner worker at the time and finally got nerve one day to stop in and say hello. She was very gracious and whenever I was on my way back to my flat and saw her door open I would stop by for a brief chat. When I started racing I ran in to her on occasion and she was always very pleasant.
I have a personalized autographed copy of her book “By Brooks Too Broad For Leaping” from 1995. A great driver, particularly during that period, and most certainly a brilliant writer. BTW I believe she conceived /started “Competition Press”, not simply being part of the Comp Press/AutoWeek group. She was originally a sports reporter for the ” New York Herald Tribune”.
Lyn St James – Thank you for reaching out to me. Yesterday was a difficult day after hearing the news about Denise’s passing. Peter [from MMR] knew I was working on putting together the pieces to interview Denise for historical preservation and had received the ok from The Henry Ford Museum. She and I were emailing as late as last week and I was just waiting for her to be in a position to feel well enough. I felt so strongly about how important she was and how much better it would have been to be able to have her stories and experiences told by her rather than by others. Those of us who got to hear those stories personally all walked away tickled, sometimes shocked, but always feeling like we’d been touched by a ray of light.
The many tributes I’ve read since her passing are wonderful and capture her accomplishments and significance to each individual. What concerns me is how will future generations know about Denise. And how will that story be told.
I’m not a writer and while I knew Denise, I wish I had known her better. I think while she was an original, she represented an era in society and in racing that is vanishing in front of our very eyes. Vintage racing and the many celebrations of previous eras of automobiles and people which has grown exponentially in the last few years is helping us grasp the glorious past. Losing Denise makes me want to hug Dan, Stirling, and the other greats still living the next time I see them. I guess when we continue to invite them and honor them in a sense we are hugging them.
I met Denise about 30 years ago at a Ford media event where they pitted us against each other to drag race Mustangs. I only knew her at that time as a journalist from Autoweek, and I remember thinking then “hot damn she can drive for an older woman; I better step up my game.” It wasn’t until after that, and I’m ashamed to say many years later, that I came to learn the amazing and significant things she had done and who she was. That’s why in 2007 we honored her with our Pioneer Award at our annual Women in the Winner’s Circle celebration. Besides wanting to honor her I wanted all the other women drivers to know about her and to meet her. It gave me such joy to watch her interact with them. I think it was a learning experience for them all.
There will only be one Denise McCluggage. She will be missed. I hope her legacy will be authentically remembered and shared.
Janos Wimpffen – The name Denise McCluggage resonates with anyone raised on American motor racing from the 1950s forward. She was such a multi-dimensional force that it is difficult, and wholly unnecessary, to rank her accomplishments as to their importance to sports car racing.
Denise will be remembered as one of the most successful pioneer woman racers of the period. Moving from a Jaguar XK140 in 1956, to a Porsche 550 for the next two seasons, and then an Osca in 1959, she was a regular on the scene in the Northeast andMidwest. Soon she was no stranger on the international stage either. Often co-driving with other prominent women of the day such as Ruth Levy and Isabel Haskell, McCluggage raced in 11 World Endurance Championship events. Highlights included a GT class win with a Ferrari at the Sebring 12 Hours of 1961, and a second in class at Sebring in her final major race there in 1967.
Throughout this time she brought a unique sensibility to the journalistic coverage of the sport. All too often, coverage of motor racing was of the dry “he was fast, he led, he won” style. Denise came from a broad New York literary background and was already writing on many other subjects, including another sport that she loved-skiing. McCluggage introduced a new ethos to motor sport coverage, imbued in large part by her close friendships with many of the participants. This also informed her excellent photography. Denise’s portraits of drivers and action during that period are some of the most poignant in existence.
Denise was also a keen businesswoman. She was the creative force behind Competition Press which became AutoWeek, one of the most significant publications in the field. Even after leaving the helm of the magazine, she certainly never retired. Denise continued to write extensively, including several books, countless articles and many commentaries appearing on websites in recent years. She was a much sought after speaker at car events and lectures, where she was invariably entertaining, informative, and enthralling.
Perhaps above it all, Ms. McCluggage spent the last few decades as a mentor. She guided and encouraged several young women who were new to the sport. Denise was always there to help with projects related to the history of the sport. It was in that capacity that I first met her. Beginning in the mid-1990s when I embarked on my literary journey into the field, she was one of my first champions. Denise provided me with ample tidbits about her period in the sport and introduced me to many other people. Given her stature in the sport she could have been reticent to open up or she could have been intimidating. Denise was neither. She was always there to guide and to help. Meeting with her or just listening to her stories was worth every minute. Those times will be sorely missed.
above image © Tom Burnside
I have known about Denise through her AutoWeek columns for what I consider eons, and though I got to know her personally a mere three years ago, it feels like decades. Denise came to New England for a series of lectures arranged by MMR and we spent the better part of a week together. Our major connection was of course cars, more precisely motorsports, and our second and equally important shared passion was “words”. She was a Word Person. Often described or introduced as a Racing Journalist, she would demur and gently remind the speaker that she was a journalist first, “That’s how I earn my living” she would say. At various times she was also a racer and a skier and a writer, but she was always a journalist.
We tend to forget that Denise McCluggage was a very good photographer. There is a rather good picture of Enzo Ferrari and Phil Hill in which Phil is standing just a bit behind and to the right of Enzo and both are pointing to an unseen object ahead of them. Denise explained that whenever Enzo saw a camera pointed at him he would raise his arm and point at something… anything. This gave him the aura of command. In this picture Phil is behind Enzo mimicking him. Great picture. Now you know the secret.
Two years ago Denise and I were at Pebble Beach together. She was staying at a great hotel in the heart of Monterey. She was invited to an event on Saturday night but didn’t feel well enough to go. I asked if she wanted to do a quiet dinner but she said no. I told her I would get something for her. She also mentioned that she had forgotten her broad brim “Judges” hat. I came back in a little while with an assortment of ProBars, “a complete meal” as they say on the package. Unquestionably nutritious, questionably tasty. I also had a woven straw hat. She was delighted. Where did you get the hat, she asked? Try the Raisin & Oatmeal treat I said, it’s my favorite. What about the hat, she persisted? Whole Foods, I replied. She said, Terrific! I’ll wrap a bandana around the brim and it will be perfect. About the ProBar, they are right about them, she said the next morning, you eat one and you have had enough.
There are books you read because it’s your job or you are interested in the subject. There are those you read for entertainment. Every once in a while you find a book that is so well written that the subject becomes less important than the reading experience. The Centered Skier is such a book. One, I believe this is her best writing. Two, you will learn about Denise McCluggage and the journey that brought her to writing the book. And, three you may even learn something about skiing.
I mentioned earlier that I got to “know” her three years ago. That’s true but I met her in 1995 at the Monterey Historics. I was looking for Denise simply to introduce myself and say thanks for all the great stories when I spotted Phil Hill in the Road & Track tent. I asked him if he knew where Denise was and he said he was going to see her and would take us there. As we walked along we chatted about the cars he was driving that day and the cars he had raced. When we finally met Denise, he introduced me as his friend and she was very welcoming. I told her how much I enjoyed her work and she asked me if I had seen the book she wrote with Tom Burnside entitled American Racer. She introduced me to Tom and I bought a signed copy. I treasure that book. Tom has a few left and you can have one signed by him and Denise. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a fortunate man. I met a person of shared interests and for a while we walked the same road. We were soul mates. And the remarkable thing about Denise McCluggage is that everyone who knew her well felt exactly the same way. Wasn’t she terrific?
We wish to thank the following MMR Newsletter advertisers for foregoing their traditional ads for this special edition: Reliable Carriers, Coachbuilt Press, Racemaker Press, Volante Classics & Autosports Marketing Associates.
George Paul Arnold
GREENSBORO, NC — George Paul Arnold passed away April 24, 2015 at Carriage House Memory Care. Born February 9, 1926, in Indianapolis, he was the elder son of George Arnold and Margaret Schako Arnold. Following high school, he entered the US Navy in 1943. At the end of WW II he remained in the Navy in order to go on an Antarctic Expedition, Operation Highjump, led by Admiral Richard E. Byrd. It was a wonderful experience for a young man at that time in his life.
Following his discharge from the Navy, he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and graduated with a BFA. He was invited to study and have his art work critiqued at the Barnes Collection, at that time located in Merion, PA. Relocating to North Carolina in the 1950’s, he was instrumental in designing the Virginia International Raceway, along with fellow sports car enthusiasts Ed Welch, Ed Alexander and Hooper Johnson. None were engineers or track designers, and the radius of Turn One was determined by the turning circle of a construction contractor’s bulldozer. Car and Driver magazine has named VIR as one of America’s best road courses.
George taught art at both NC State school of design and UNC-G. He subsequently worked in graphic arts and design, and for a number of years owned and operated George Arnold Associates, a graphic design and trade show display business. He also worked and was skilled in fine art restoration. He was a painter of pictures, both in oils and his favorite medium watercolor. His works are in a number of private and public collections.
In 1987 George and friends Bob Kelley, Norman Graham and John Fisher went to Peru to work on an international Habitat for Humanity project. Their project was in Puno, a small village on the shores of Lake Titicaca near the border with Bolivia. Upon their return to Greensboro, they were the catalysts for the establishment of a chapter of Habitat for Humanity. George was on the first board of directors and a committed volunteer and promoter of that organization. George also volunteered for Friday morning breakfasts at Greensboro Urban Ministry as long as he was able. He was a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow.
George loved BMW motorcycles and took many trips with his cycling friends all over the country. They attended BMW rallies and trips across country. He and his wife Tommie (who did not share the motorcycle trips) traveled together extensively in Mexico and Europe.
George was a member of First Lutheran Church, Greensboro.
He is survived by his wife, Tommie Foscue Arnold, and several cousins and many friends. He was predeceased by his parents and his younger brother, Max Richard Arnold.
Gifts to honor George’s memory are suggested to First Lutheran, Emergency Assistance; Greensboro Urban Ministry; Habitat for Humanity for Greater Greensboro; or the Alzheimers Association of Western NC.
The North Carolina Region has lost a dear friend. Sam Overstreet passed away early Friday morning, March 20th, after a lengthy illness. No services are planned and her husband, Mo, asks that you not contact him by phone. Also, if you’re going to send a card, don’t send a sad, gloomy one…try to be positive, maybe a fond remembrance of Sam. Mo’s had enough “sad” lately!
Chuck Stanley, former F&C Chief for NCR posted the following on Facebook:
“It’s been 24 hours since I woke to find a dear friend, a sister Warrior in White was finally rid of a most hideous disease that robbed us all of her being with us any longer. Sam fought with dignity, grace and the charm only she had. So many friends, so many stories and memories but one thing can also never be forgotten. Her loyalty grew loyalty and her dear husband, Mo, will always be remembered side by side, sharing his undying love for Sam while he supported her through this terminal journey. A chunk of my heart is in Sam’s hands and will remain, she was a true friend and compatriot no one can match. Rest in Peace my dear friend, your journey here is now through but save a spot on a corner in heaven and know all your friends here are looking still to your guidance.”
Some time back, Chuck wrote a Member Profile about Mo & Sam. see it here
The following obituary is from The News & Advance of Lynchburg, Va
Elda Prudden Overstreet, known by all as “Sam”, of Rustburg Va., died on Friday, March 20, 2015. Sam was born on December 14, 1946, in Perth Amboy, N.J. to the late Orrin Dwight Prudden and the late Elinor Cash Prudden. She attended and graduated from Stratford College in Danville, Va. and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. Sam married Michael “Mo” Overstreet on January 2, 1981, and they enjoyed 34 years of marriage together. In 2007, she retired from Framatome/Areva after thirty-two years. In addition to her parents, Sam was preceded in death by a brother, Neil Prudden. Sam leaves behind her husband, Mo; a sister-in-law, Betty Prudden of Indian Trail, N.C.; and four nieces, Liz Prudden of Charlotte, N.C., Alexandra Prudden of Brush Prairie, Wash., Meredith Goins of Maryville, Tenn., and Jenny Greene of Matthews, N.C. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, macaroni and cheeses, etc., please consider making a donation in Sam’s memory at www.psp.org. Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg, is assisting the family, (434) 237-9424. To send condolences please go to www.tharpfuneralhome.com.
Jack Rafferty, long-time Tech volunteer and former racer has died as the result of a stroke. He was 75 years old.
There will be a visitation at Lowe Funeral Home, 2205 S. Church Street in Burlington on Sunday, February 8th from 3:00 to 3:45pm, followed by the funeral service at 4:00pm.
Below, is a remembrance of Jack, written by his good friend, Buddy Matthews.
Jack was a world traveler and had been everywhere and done a bunch. He raced with SCCA in a SR and then a SRF after the changeover. He kept his car out at the SCCA garage in Greensboro and he helped me in Tech for years, until some back problems stopped him a few years ago. I could frequently talk him into coming to a Chapter meeting and his mere presence at the meeting brought out a bit of cheer from all in the room. Everyone was always glad to see Jack.
Jack became a writer a few years back and a couple of his books got published. His book that I got on my Kindle from Amazon was called Blue Smoke and White Crystals, a drug trading story about smuggling drugs in frozen lobsters. The chief detective in this case and one of the main characters was named Rusty Matthews. How’s that for a friend?!
I recently assisted Jack in moving a washing machine to Angier for a rental home Jack owned there and I wish I had a movie of us two old guys letting a washing machine whip our asses. I couldn’t believe that it could be so heavy. I’m sure happy that I talked him into letting me go on that job because it would have killed him two months ago!
I can’t remember when he appeared so fit as recently and was totally knocked off my feet when Connie, his wife, called me in St. Simon and told me that Jack had had a stroke and was in the hospital. Last Sunday night when I saw him sleeping in the hospital I never guessed that the next message I got was that he was gone. Damn, we had actually talked about him helping me in Tech this year and now that ain’t gonna happen.
Thanks for the memories old friend.
Buddy Matthews, friend indeed of Jack Rafferty
In the photo below, that’s Jack in the burgundy sweatshirt.
The Turn @ MCAS Cherry Point, June 22, 2014 — The SCCA Solo community and NC Region lost one of its most beloved members this morning as James Feinberg passed, surrounded by Solo friends. James succumbed to an undetermined condition while hospitalized after collapsing at this event on Sunday.
Feinberg, seen below after winning the Super Challenge at the DC Pro, claimed a Solo National Championship in 2011. More than a fierce competitor behind the wheel, however, James was known nationwide as a magnetic personality within our sport. Jim always met our community and approached competition with a smile.
Thanks to SoloMatters.com
by James Shanks
The North Carolina Region has lost one of its great souls. On August 20th of this year, Phil Hennrich passed away from natural causes. Near the end, he was not able to recognize his oldest friends, but we all remember him. It’s truly amazing how many people with a long history in this Region have said to me, when I would ask how they got started in the Club, “Phil Hennrich was the first member of NCR I ever met,” and following that they’d have a story about a race at Rockingham or a solo in the Raleigh area. From his earliest days, and he joined in April of 1974, Phil volunteered his time to make this Club a success. He was an active driver, the Region’s Treasurer for many years before computerization and afterward, the radio guy, and basically the go-to guy. He worked tirelessly at VIR when the Region presented that facility with its gazebo corner stations in 2002, helping to transport them and set them up and practically single-handedly built the South Course Start stand. Always ready to pitch in and help, that was Phil. We gave him a Lifetime Service award in 2005 (below, that’s then RE Kaye Fairer presenting it), but it wasn’t enough.
We’ll miss you, Phil. I’d say more, but I cannot match the eloquence and poignancy of the eulogy written by his closest friend, Chuck Stanley, our former Flag Chief.
Over to you, Chuck…
Never to Be Imitated
It is said the best compliment is imitation. In many ways this can be viewed as accurate, but in other ways there are some things, some people in your lives that just stand by themselves. Phil Hennrich was one of those people in my life who Stands Alone, rightfully and respectfully so.
I first met Phil when I came to the NCR Region in 1989 from Florida. Phil was actually the first NCR person who greeted me at Rockingham when I went down to watch a region event on a Saturday, and get the lay of the land of my newly found region. I arrived at 6:15 a.m. that morning and did not go down with the intent to work the race. Phil was at the registration trailer and immediately asked if I could carry this, or move that, as he was frantically trying to get some of the infrastructure ready so others could race that morning. I asked him if I was required to register, he just said come on with him and we would come back later. I gladly jumped in and within 90 minutes he had transformed three tirewalls that were all in disarray, we dug too many holes to remember to replace Armco barriers, and he got the radios going all before the scheduled green course. He then asked me, if I didn’t mind, could I help him get a few tires out of his race car as he was in the second race group and was running out of time. I had met Phil, the Phil I affectionately have come to know as the most dedicated NCR member I ever have met, and I doubt anyone will ever come close to passing beyond that, for me.
Phil and I spent many hours together since those early days from Rockingham, Roebling Road as our interim home, and then VIR. No one is a Phil Hennrich, nor will anyone ever be able to imitate him. That is not a non-complimentary comment, it is an honorable compliment toward what Phil was as a man, an NCR member, and a true friend. There was no other like Phil, and God made sure that is true. From helping layout the reopening of VIR, to keeping Rockingham up to date with his thoughts and ideas as our Region continued negotiations with track ownership in possible use and their growth, to being by my side countless hours in what I called the “Perch” at VIR, Phil was there for everyone.
I received the email from James relative to Phil’s passing just 30 minutes ago. The last few times I had gone over to see Phil I had witnessed his decline, to the point he was not aware of who I was the last 4 times I stopped in. This decline was devastating to me to see, I was beginning to feel selfish a tad in that I was watching such a great person and friend leave me… Rather it became very evident a collective group of people in Phil’s life were losing a great friend, a comrade who did for all while he put himself at the back of the bus. How else could anyone explain why, for all that time, would a guy race a frickin Pinto, if it were not that they are thinking of others over themselves?
(below, Phil’s Pinto on track at VIR in 2003)
There are many ways to express love, appreciation, dedication and friendship. Phil fit the bill of all that and more to me. Since Phil became inactive in our racing world I have felt a personal void I am still dealing with. Now that he has passed, and having witnessed the stages, I know my good friend is only saving me a spot at the “Perch” and one day we will be once again trading stories, we will be drinking Orange soda and eating baloney sandwiches, watching each other’s backs. Godspeed my friend, my heart aches.
Respectfully Your Friend
On many occasions over the years, Phil has visited the Start Stand at VIR during an event to bring replacement radios or headsets or just to visit. Having built the South Course Start Stand, he was always very aware of the less-than-ideal construction of the main one and sometimes even brought a hammer to make repairs! He once told me, “Y’know, people could hurt themselves on these nails sticking out here!”. As Chuck said, always thinking of others. I really miss you, Phil!
My first memory of Phil was attending an SCCA autocross before I was an SCCA member. I recall being surprised that he appeared to be putting on the event all by himself! The event went well and everyone had a good time so apparently he was able to pull it off.
My later memories of Phil were about how incredibly dedicated he was, how “invisible” he was in all that he did for the Region, and how challenging he was to keep on topic! I wish I had a dime for every time he said “anyway”
or “moving right along”. Whatever had to be done, Phil was there, taking care of business without any complaints.
Others probably have a better handle on his contributions but I recall he had major roles in doing what was necessary so we could run at Rockingham, installation of the gazebos at VIR, purchasing, hauling, distributing, and keeping up all of the Region’s equipment, and serving as Treasurer for many years (I think we had to pry that duty out of his hands 🙂 )
Phil was always the one who spent his time during the “social” hours Saturday evenings repairing the guardrails at Rockingham so we could race on Sunday. That was Phil; always doing what had to be done without having to be told, helping others and asking nothing in return. A true treasure to the club and will be sorely missed.
The following photos were contributed by Pete Romanowski:
Phil on track at VIR in SARRC/MARRS 2010.
Paul Hoecke, Phil, Pete Romanowski. I guess the old Pinto gave out on this day!
If you would like to submit your own “Phil” story or photos to be added to this memoir, please send then to
Bruce Dover at email@example.com. Please include caption info with photos.
ALTON, VA – (NCRSCCA) – At the Goblin’s Go event at VIR , the volunteers had a small memorial for our departed friend David “Santa” Page who left us in 2011. His wife Jan had donated David’s worker gear to us and we held a raffle for it. Richard Mosely won David’s orange vest and a pair of orange gloves; Jean Quick walked away with his white zippered sweatshirt, bucket hat, and whistle, Chris Sigmon won David’s MG shop apron, work gloves, and green vest; and Grid Chief Johnny Dunbar got the grand prize, David’s Radio Shack scanner. And Race Chair/Flag Chief Eric Danielsen got a new pair of orange gloves to replace the ones he had given away to a new volunteer that morning. We cheered David’s memory and thanked him posthumously for the stuff. We miss you David!
Above (left to right), David Page, Canadian flagger Arlene Chase, Mark Biamonte and David Turner, the “Senna corner” 2A crew at the 2007 Canadian F1 Grand Prix.
David in his beloved Sprite.
The members of the North Carolina Region express our sincere condolences to fellow member and accomplished racer Chuck Hines on the sudden passing of his mother, Emogene Lucille Hines. Mrs. Hines, of Cameron, passed away on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
Services will be held on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM at Hillmon Grove Church in Cameron followed by burial in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at a visitation at the Adcock Funeral Home & Crematory in Spring Lake, North Carolina, adjacent to Fort Bragg and Pope Army Air Base, on Monday, October 1, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
UPDATE (10/11/12): Phil’s old race cars and trailers are for sale here.
RALEIGH, NC – (NCRSCCA) – “Hey! Where’s ‘Radio Phil?’” is a question we’ve been hearing at VIR since the 13-hour enduro of last October. Well, Phil Hennrich, also known as “Mr. Equipment” is alive and well at the Wake Assisted Living facility in Raleigh. A 38-year veteran of this club and long-time volunteer, Phil wore a variety of hats over the years, including Solo Safety Steward, Rally Steward, Club Treasurer, and competition driver, as well as F&C and radio tech (yes, Carolina, he has an SCCA license in that specialty too!). And, if I am not mistaken, he may still hold the SCCA class record in GT3 on the VIR Grand Course in his Pinto.
If you ever saw him race it (we’ll call it “beige” just to be kind), you’d never forget it. In any case, Phil is now receiving visitors at 2800 Kidd Road in Raleigh (27610). Drop by and say hello, or give him a call at 919-212-0038. Cards and letters would be appreciated too, since he still doesn’t get out much. Here’s hoping he’ll make one of our events soon.
Additionally, the North Carolina Region would like to extend our condolences to Phil and the entire Hennrich family on the recent passing of his mother, who died suddenly on July 22nd.
– James Shanks