Jim Fitzgerald

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by r_i_straw, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    NTRAK's Jim FitzGerald

    I just got this from a friend.
  2. fitz

    fitz Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm sorry to hear of his passing. We never met, but share the same name, except he capitalized the Gerald part.
  3. PacRail

    PacRail TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Very sad news. He did many things for N Scale and was a true legend. RIP.
  4. Dave Porter

    Dave Porter TrainBoard Member

    It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of Jim Fitzgerald, an early pioneer, President and newsletter editor of NTRAK.
    For 40 years, Jim FitzGerald ensured that every other month, NTRAK members received their newsletter with updates on Ntrak standards, activities, events and organizational notices as well as news and information about N scale in general. For many years, Jim FitzGerald was a coordinator for the NTRAK layout at the National Train Show, the public event of the NMRA national convention and that is how many people had a chance to meet him, face-to-face. Jim worked with his wife Lee to help get T-Trak going as an alternative modular standard and today T-Trak continues to grow and thrive as it is used at shows as well as for home layouts.
    When Jim first started with NTRAK, N scale was in its infancy and a very small part of model railroading. It was through NTRAK layouts that model railroading and specifically N scale was introduced to the public at shopping malls, hospital and museum shows as well as at train shows. It was NTRAK that took model railroading from the private basement to the pubic venue and it was Jim FitzGerald who helped guide, organize, publicize and encourage the NTRAK clubs that sprung up across the country.
    The history of NTRAK takes up the entire July/August 2013 issue and includes a brief history of Jim’s life before NTRAK. A copy of the issue can be found at:
    Jim will be sorely missed by all.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Bruce Alcock NTRAK Board Member
    Dave Porter NTRAK Board Member
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    NTRAK was a big influence in my enjoyment of this hobby, as is now T-Trak. I never met Jim in person, but did communicate by snail and email, plus a few times by telephone. Such contacts were always helpful, and always friendly.

    Yes, he will be missed. :(
  6. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Definately one of the guiding lights, and a loss that will be felt. All the best to his family and friends.
  7. rogergperkins

    rogergperkins TrainBoard Member

    My sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. I know of him by name and regret I never met him to thank him for his positive influence on n-scale railroading.
    May he rest in eternal peace.
  8. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Jim embraced N scale very early on. In this article he wrote for Model Railroader, you can see a portion of his early N scale empire. This was published in November, 1968.
  9. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    What this means to the future of Ntrak remains to be seen. Jim, as the caretaker of Ntrak, sort kept all of the monkeys inside the cage, so to speak. Now with the care taker gone, what's next? Who will take over the reins of Ntrak? Is there a process in place to choose a new caretaker? And who gets to choose?
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Very true and a job very nicely done.

    Interesting questions.
  11. bobthebear

    bobthebear TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Very sad news. Spoke on e-mail several times. The main reason I'm into n scale, My condolences to his family.
  12. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    I think I brought his name up just the other day on a thread - the discoverer of the reverse-draft-alignment fix on the MT coupler, a long time ago, and so successful that MT adopted it in manufacturing.

    That's the kind of thing that's a lasting contribution, one of many. I think I would have given up N without that one.
  13. railnut49

    railnut49 TrainBoard Member

    I had the priviledge of meeting Jim and Lee one time when they came through my town in AZ years ago, and I enjoyed the visit. We had talked via email a lot on some things and he said he was coming my way and wanted to stop by. Few people would take the time to visit some guy who wasn't famous. He's with his true love now. I wondered how long he would last after Lee past away. A really great man.
  14. LTCTerry

    LTCTerry TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I had the chance to speak to Jim and Lee at a couple of major NTRAK events over the years. So sad to hear of his loss. Without the driving force of those early pioneers, we wouldn't have what we have today.
  15. benderda

    benderda TrainBoard Member

    R.I.P. Jim FitzGerald.

    Thank you for all you have contributed to n scale.
  16. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I first met Jim in 1989 when the NMRA National Convention was in Houston. Back then NTRAK also piggy backed one of their two yearly nation conventions at the same location and set up a layout there. A friend of mine, John Knox, was setting up his modules and asked me to help. That was my first introduction to NTRAK. I was hooked. Jim came by with his handy home made tester that he hooked up to my friend's modules to test polarity of the tracks and look for any shorts before we could tie into the layout.

    In 1993, NTRAK had their other convention (the one not in conjunction with the NMRA) in Houston. By then John had convinced me to build my own modules so that was the debut of the Imperial Sugar modules. Jim was there again with his tester to approve my new modules. I guess he really liked them as he came back later with his camera and later posted photos of them in the NTRAK newsletter.

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