Gone West

"Gone West" is an old expression meaning those that have passed. TCAH honors and remembers club members that have "Gone West" each year at our annual banquet. This list includes members that were founders of the club, club officers and members that have passed away while a member. It is here that we honor the memory of our friends and fellow Aerohistorians in a more permanent way.

Tom Norrbohm, our club historian has been kind enough to assemble a list of people and some memories of each of these members as well as photos of each as they appeared at club meetings.

 

JOHN TOUHEY 12-10-77

john touheyJohn joined TCAH in 1974. In spite of having to drive from Mankato every month, John rarely missed a club meeting. His interests varied from the Golden Age to the 60's, with a particular fondness in the AT-6/SNJ and T-28 aircraft. He was a member of AAHS and IPMS.

GEORGE MINARIK 2-4-82

george minarikGeorge joined the club in 1969. He first found out about our club when he attended our TCAH Display at Har Mar Mall in November of 1968, where at the show he met member Bob Nelson. The two formed a fast and lasting friendship, and the two frequently travelled to many air shows, IPMS Conventions, displays and hobby shops, together. George was a proficient modeler, with interests in WWI to present day. His legacy was an F8F Bearcat in markings of the MN Naval Reserves, which he entered in every contest until ruled that a model could win one time only. He got ribbed for that a lot. George held several club offices, that of Secretary, Treasurer and Contest Chairman.

BERNIE FLETCHER 11-14-84

bernie fletcherBernie joined TCAH in 1969. His interests spanned just about anything with wings and an engine. Bernie was a member until 1975, and worked at Custom Model Hobby at 35th and Cedar Ave. S. and later at 44th and Minnehaha Ave. S. Both locations in South Mpls. He loved to work on odd ball kits and modifications, and would frequently share his current work-in-progress with customers. Common to many model builders, he accumulated kits faster than he could build them. This ratio increased when he worked at Custom Model Hobby and became overwhelmingly evident when he died in 1984, when several club members and friends assisted in settling his estate. Living in a modest mobile home, he would buy multiples of one kit, separate all parts from the tree and bag them. Instructions and decals were filed away separately, and the kit box thrown out. Do this to 10,000 plus kits and you have a nightmare, as over the years the bags would break and parts leak out. All this had to be sorted out, so the kits could be sold. We figured less than 100 kits were still in the original box.

DAVE SANDSNESS 4-15-88

dave sandsnessDave joined the club in 1970. Dave was not a model builder, but loved anything that had to do with aviation. He was an avid hot air balloon crewman when he wasn't taking photos. Dave was a first rate photographer. He was the club's 'unofficial' photographer. Most of the photos in the club history from 1970 until his death, were taken by him. That is why photos of Dave are so rare. He held every office in the club, including editor, except one..... club President. Dave was very active in the club, and attended just about every club meeting and business meeting ever held.

BOB KAYE 10-8-88

bob kayeBob was one of the charter members of our club when it was first formed in late 1966. Bob would only be a member for a few years, and paid us a surprise visit in 1987. He was an avid modeler and decal manufacturer. At a time when kit manufacturer's considered decals simply as afterthoughts, Bob went right to the heart of the problem. He researched for proper size and color that was a breakthrough at the time. He started his own company called Historic Aircraft Decals, with a monthly magazine called His-Air-Dec-News. This magazine was nationally distributed and featured a decal sheet stapled within its pages.

BOB NELSON 1-1-89

bob nelsonBob joined in 1969. His interests would involve mostly WWII and Airliners. There wasn't a contest that Bob didn't enter at least one of those types. Bob, along with George Minarik, Dave Galbraith and Jack Mugan was the club's equivalent of the 'Rat Pack'. Most, if not all, would travel together to various displays, air shows and the like. He was a frequent attendee of the Oshkosh Air show in the summer. Bob held club offices of President, V.P. and Secretary. Perhaps Bob's legacy is his performance in the club's infamous video done years ago, when checking to see if no one is around, he goes back to his workbench and proceeds to do touch and go's with an commercial airliner model.

KEN JOHNSON 12-31-90

ken johnsonKen joined TCAH around 1971. Ken was present at just about every club meeting. He was always in the background, conversing with everyone, even just to say "Hi". Although not a modeler (at least I don't think he was), his interest in aviation was abundant. Always willing to help out when help was needed. He held the offices of V.P., Secretary and Treasurer, his most frequent post (a total of 6 years).

JACK BUTZ 6-94

jack butzJack joined us around 1972. Jack was a true aviation historian. His interests was collecting aviation memorabilia from civil aviation and the Golden Age of flight. At the Mini Air Expo displays in the 70's, Jack would bring the collection out and cover many tables with interesting artifacts ranging from patches, stickers, decals, stamps, pins, the list goes on. One of the more interesting artifacts was a Luftwaffe officer's uniform tunic. It wasn't anything rare, but it was how he got it. While rummaging around at a Goodwill Store, he found it and was able to get it for next to nothing. The uniform was in immaculate condition. Later he would display his collection at the local Airline Expo of which he was one of the premiere displayers.

MILES AIKEN 2-95

miles aikenMiles joined our club in 1980. His interest in aviation goes back to 1930 when he built R.O.G. stick models, balsa and basswood scale, and eventually gasoline powered flying models. His favorite era of aviation is WWI with a fondness for the Nieuport 28. He took flight lessons in the 30's and soloed in 1940 in a Cub J-3. He is also affiliated with or interested in the EAA, Antique Aircraft Association and the Minnesota Antiquers. He takes many photos and has placed in our club photo contest.

KOSTA ASSELANIS 7-23-97

kosta asselanisCosta came to the club in 1988. His main modeling interests was 1/144th and 1/72nd scale. A 1976 graduate of the Air Force Academy, he would go on to serve in the USAF for 10 years. Afterwards, he flew for Northwest Airlines. He was involved in the Confederate Air Force Wing South St. Paul, flying many of their aircraft. At one time he owned a Vultee BT-13A. Kosta died doing what he loved most, when flying his AV-4, the plane suddenly crashed shortly after take off in Dakota County.

MICHELLE CHOQUETTE 2-5-98

michelle choquetteMichelle joined TCAH in 1983. Being a woman in a male dominated hobby was a rarity, but to top it off, she could build world class models of museum quality. While she built in all scales, her main scale was 1/32nd, scratch built. A draftsman by trade, she had attention to detail. Later when her health forced her out of work, she would spend 16 hour days drawing up plans for current projects and building her impressive models. Perhaps her crowning achievement was a 1/32nd scale B-58 Hustler, all scratch built of course! Her work has been featured in Fine Scale Modeler magazine as well. Other areas of modeling interest was cars and armor.

NICK WATERS III 2-8-98

nick watersNick would come to our club in 1975. Nick was in the Navy and the Twin Cities was his next duty station for him and his family for the next 4 years. His main modeling interests were 1/72nd scale WWII to Present and Latin American Air Force. Nick would be instrumental in finding our new meeting place on the NARDET base in 1975, when due to new security measures, we would have to leave our meeting place at North Central Airlines office building. From here, he would go to Jakarta, Indonesia and finally Hawaii, here he would retire from the Navy and move to Texas and work for Squadron Signal Publications.

MIKE LANGER 4-26-98

mike langerMike joined us in 1988. Mike learned to fly at 14 years of age and was briefly the youngest pilot in the United States. 45 years later, Mike founded the American Wings Aviation Museum at Anoka County Airport, where he soloed 45 years ago. As a member of the U.S. Army Aviation Test Board in the early 60's, part of his job involved periodic trips to Vietnam to test the armament on the OV-1 Mohawk, a turboprop surveillance aircraft. More than 20 years later, Mike bid on and eventually purchased the same aircraft he flew in Vietnam, at an Army surplus sale. This aircraft was restored to flying condition and serves as the centerpiece of the American Wings museum. On occasion, the club would meet at the American Wings Museum thanks to Mike Langer.

DUANE BUHOLZ 5-98

duane buholzDuane joined TCAH in the early 90's. His interests in aviation covered all forms and he just liked to come to the meetings to be with the guys. Duane was a P-47 pilot in the 9th Air Force, flying with the 405th Fighter Group. The plane he flew was named 'Chief Ski-U-Mah' and had a large profile of an Indian Chief with a war bonnet painted on the nose. His plane can be seen in the 1st issue of the P-47 Thunderbolt in Action book. Later Testors would release a model kit of a P-47 Thunderbolt that featured his aircraft, complete with markings for his plane.

TIM McGOVERN 11-2-98

tim mcgovernTim joined the club in 1974. Tim's love was the F4 Phantom. Over a period of several years, he had a pet project of building 'The Ultimate' F4 Phantom in 1/32nd scale. Using a Revell kit and basically starting with just the aircraft shell itself, he scratch built and modified that kit into an beautiful award winning model. It would place high at the 1982 IPMS Nationals in St. Louis. After that, Tim could build the same plane/kit in half the time. One was even delivered to someone in the IAF in Israel. Tim was also an accomplished aviation artist and had some of his work available as prints.

HAROLD JOHNSON 12-00

harold johnsonHarold came to the club in 1971. His aviation interests early on involved a stint in the AAF cadet program, but a surplus of cadets would see him routed to B-24 gunner school, followed by B-29 waist gunner. Staying in the AF Reserve, he was recalled to active duty in 1951-53 as a B-50 gunner. His modeling interests was all stick and tissue, which he started at an early age, and later built free flight gas types. He also built beautiful 3/4" scale non-flying stick and tissue models, usually from the Golden Age of flight. Always willing to help the club when asked, he served as Treasurer briefly as well as V.P. He is the brother of member Ken Johnson who passed away in 1990.

JOHN MOORE 2001

john mooreJohn Moore was the founder of this club. In the winter of 1966 an idea was formed and the Twin City Aero Historians was born. John was a modeler as well and served as club President and Editor for the first 3 years. John eventually moved on to other things, he was a big toy collector also, but would stay in touch with the club over the years. John would become the club's first Life Member.

ED JOHNSON 2001

ed johnsonEd came to the club in 1973. His interest in aviation came about at an early age when he got his first airplane ride at the County Fair in Redwood Falls in 1935 at the age of 8. His early kit building involved the Paul Jones kits as well as the Comet kits of the time. He had a fondness for the old Comet kits over the years, and enjoyed collecting them as well. His main era of interest is in aircraft from WWI to 1945. He also enjoys aviation art and collecting and drawing 3-view plans of aircraft. Not a regular model builder, Ed enjoyed the work of other members and was a longtime participant of the club meetings.

BOB LEMM 1-1-02

bob lemmBob would join the club in 1977. Bob was not a model builder so much as he was an artist. He did wonderful ink drawings that graced many a cover of our newsletter. He also worked in other mediums and supplied artwork to at least one book on the 15th Fighter Group called 'The Long Campaign'. Bob did many member profiles for the newsletter, from which much of the information for these bios came from. He would serve as club President and V.P. As Editor, he was not afraid to try new ideas for the newsletter and put out a quality product.

ED KUEPPERS, JR. 4-16-04

ed kueppersEd joined TCAH in 1971. From almost the beginning, Ed supplied the club with free calendars that had an aviation theme every month. These were donated by his company Kueppers Insurance Agency, a company he owned for nearly 40 years. Although not a die hard model builder, he did build the 1/48th Monogram B-17G and I suspect this was one of his favorite aircraft as he would become very much involved in the national organization The Eighth Air Force Historical Society. Ed was an avid aero historian, and he collected many films and videos of WWII aviation subject matter. Early on in the 8th Air Force Historical Society, he would supply films and videos for the membership to watch at the annual National Convention. He would eventually become the Society's Information Manager, and was a Past President of the Minnesota Chapter of the 8th Air Force Historical Society. He was also a board member of the Memorial Museum Foundation. Ed served the Twin City Aero Historians as President, VP, Treasurer and Editor and was the club's Member of the Year in 1981.

WALLY FOREMAN 6-9-05

wally foremanWally joined TCAH in 1971. Although he never held any office in the club, Wally was always in the background lending a helping hand in any kind of general aviation research. His main interests were models (though he was not a builder himself), photos and general aviation of all eras. He was a B-17 pilot in WWII. He was a member in MANY organizations such as: AAHS, St. Paul RC club, Antique Airplane Association, Air Force Historical Society, Cross & Cockade and the Pacific Northwest Aero Historical Foundation to name a few.

He was the club's 'unofficial' club historian for many years. Saving newsletters and photos over the years, Dave Galbraith then took over for a short while in the early 1990's. Dave then put everything together in chronological order and passed it on to our present historian Tom Norrbohm.

Wally had quite a collection of photos and general aviation information which he was willing to share with anyone who needed it. He authored several books/articles including:

B-24 Nose Art Name Directory
B-17 Nose Art Name Directory

Wally was active in TCAH up through 2000, when due to health concerns, he no longer could attend the meetings.

JOHN HENNESSY 5-2006

john hennesseyJohn Hennessy left us much too early, dying from a scuba diving accident during his return from Iraq after having served in the “Green Zone” for 15 months.

John joined TCAH in 1991 and up until his numerous deployments overseas was a regular member of the TCAH. A 1981 graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, John served in Washington, DC, South Korea, Panama, Costa Rica and Bosnia. Last year he was called up to serve as part of a Civil Affairs Unit from Hawaii. Along the way he achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel.

John enjoyed music, literature, he was a "wiz" with computers and was very proud of his Irish heritage. Every November he came "loaded for bear" looking for good deals at the annual TCAH auction.

Gen. George Patton once said "We should not mourn the death of good soldiers, rather we should thank God that such men existed"

John was a good husband and father. He was a good soldier and a good friend. It was an honor to have known him and he will be truly missed.

-- Johannes Allert

LOREN C. JOHNSON 4-11-2011

loren johnsonLoren joined the club in 1968. On the roster from that year he lists his interests as WWI, some WWII, Scratch builds and Golden aviation. He also listed himself as a professional historian. He was employed as an archeologist for 23 years, serving as Director of Renovation with the MN Historical Society, where his primary contribution was directing the renovation of Fort Snelling. He was a Korean War vet, serving with the 25th Division. He would remain a member until 1975. His biggest passion was WWI aviation and models. As the years went by, he was slowly going blind in one eye. This would force him to give up modeling and his collection of built models would be donated to the MNANG Museum. He would develop a new passion in collecting Lugers. His collection eventually would number over 75. They ranged from common to rare, with his most prized Luger being an engraved Navy Luger presented to a U-Boat Kapitan in WWII.

BRAD JOHNSON 1-26-2012

brad johnsonBradley Johnson - Passed on January 26, 2012 at age 49. of Lino Lakes, Minnesota, Brad graduated from Fridley High School - Class of 1980. He attended the University of Minnesota and was a 30 year employee of Target Corporation.

Brad's interests in aviation were very widespread, he was an avid aviation art enthusiast and model builder. He also had a keen interest in 1960s/ 1970s "Muscle Cars" and was very talented at restoring vintage automobiles. He will always be remembered by all for his infectious personality and his enthusiastic and positive outlook on life.

RICHARD "SKIP" NELSON 12-18-2013

richard 'skip' nelsonSkip joined TCAH in 1993 and was active in the club until 2009 when health problems kept him from attending meetings. In his professional life he was a teacher in the Minneapolis School District until his retirement.

He was what I consider a "Master" modeler. His main interest was WWII 1/72nd aircraft and they were miniature works of art. Complete cockpit detail and expert finishes. He won several top modeling awards in the club including a "Best in Show".

He will be missed. He was 76 years old.

DAVE GALBRAITH 01-14-2014

Dave GalbraithOn January 11, 2014, longtime member Dave Galbraith lost his battle with lymphatic cancer in Eugene, OR. Dave joined the club in late 1971 and listed his interests early on as U.S. Commercial aviation and WWII British aircraft, even though he built other aircraft types. His main scale was 1/72nd with the airliner kits scale a close second. He was also a very active model builder! Any first time visitor who visited Dave at his house or attended a club Business Meeting hosted by him, was in for a shock. Upon entering the basement of his home, you were guided into an ‘L’ shaped hallway that housed his model collection. All encased in multi-level glass cases built into the walls, hundreds, yes, hundreds of built models, all neatly arranged by type and scale. When Dave retired from the St. Paul Companies in the early 90’s, I do believe he was up to over 700 built models. That number would grow once he and his wife, Darla moved to Eugene, OR to 1000+. Dave was a volunteer at the Oregon Air & Space Museum in Eugene, and as luck would have it, almost all of Dave’s models are on permanent display at the museum. It is probably safe to say that Dave was the club’s most prolific model builder!

Dave was the club President in 1976 and Vice President in 1984. Was Member of the Year in 1983 and was the club’s second Life member, after club founder John Moore. He was also involved very much behind the scenes in the Mini Air Expo shows and the shows that followed. Dave along with Tom Norrbohm and the help of other club members also put into order the remnants of Bernie Fletcher’s kits. Many a night was spent at Dave’s home, trying to make complete kits to sell from parts scattered on a pool table.

BOB FRISKNEY 01-16-2014

bob friskneyBob joined the club in 1991. He was well read and could talk authoritatively on a number of subjects, but his area of expertise was the airline industry and the hobby in particular. He served in the Air Force as a USAF Policeman, but was not happy in that field. He transferred to the Navy, and because he got his BA in Business while in the USAF, the Navy took him in as an Ensign and became an Intelligence Officer. He did a tour in Okinawa and returned to the states where he was later discharged.

As mentioned before, his main interest was anything airlines. He was a member of the ‘World Airline Historical Society’ and was a collector of airline memorabilia, kits, books & decals. It is rumored he had 3 storages lockers of stuff. He did a lot of research into airline related subjects and wrote a great article about the early days of Wold Chamberlain/Minneapolis/St. Paul airport that was published in several magazines. He also did some research work for several decal companies. The airline hobby has lost a fellow brother. He was 54.

A special thanks to Mark Krumrey for supplying most of the details of Bob’s bio.

DAVID HUEFFMEIER 04-12-2016

david hueffmeierDave joined TCAH in 1973 and left the club in 1975.  He would rejoin the club in 1996 and served as club Treasurer from 2009 to 2012. He also assisted with many NordicCon events.

He was employed at St.Paul Companies till health issues kept him from doing what he enjoyed. He spent his last few years enjoying his hobby and was a member of the Luft sig group in the club. He had a great knowledge of Luftwaffe history and markings with keen interest in expanding his kit collection. 


DAVID R. KOPYDLOWSKI 08-2016

Dave served in the Marine Corps in the early '70's, served for 6 years and got out a Major. As a Major, Dave held a number of billets and served as an Infantry officer as well. He built models in his younger years into his teens, but the Marine Corps and family took precedent over the hobby and his modeling languished until he discovered the TCAH. He enjoyed building 1/72nd Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and his area of interest seemed to be post WWII.

He enjoyed the club and attended meetings when he could. He had been a member for about 2-3 years prior to his passing. Dave was always in the background, didn't say much, but enjoyed the club and seeing other peoples work and learning new techniques.

Dave will be missed.

DON SODERLUND, JR. 10-17-2016

don soderlundDon joined the club in 1984 and was with the club for the next 21 years until 2005. Don was exposed to the club many years ago when the club had a display at Medical Center Cycle Hobby in Robbinsdale where he grew up. He was not a prolific model builder but enjoyed those built by other members and friends. Don's main interest was anything pertaining to Japanese WWII aviation and was affectionately known as 'Mr. Japanese'. He also hosted several Banzai Bashes at his lakeside home in St. Michael. These were well attended affairs that resembled tailgate parties only with model airplanes and lots of gab. Don served as Contest Committee Chairman and 4 years as club Vice President.  


JEFF KURTH 6-26-2017

jeff kurthLong time club member Jeff Kurth died on June 26. He will be buried at Fort Snelling. He had been in great pain from pancreatic cancer, and died while on lots of medication. Several members shared these memories with the club:

• Jerry (as I knew him) was one of the really early members of TCAH. I remember when he came in the first time, I think it was at the old Navy base at Minneapolis. He brought in a couple models that we had a few chuckles with. Trans-Love Airlines was one, if memory serves me. An airliner, decorated in hippie markings, relative to the times, but not what the rest of us expected. Jerry always had an easy-going manner, loved to banter with the rest of us, and had a great respect for life. He palled with Jim Linneberg for a long time. Part of the Old Guard, like so many before him, that have left us with great memories. Like old high school buddies, Jerry was family, like a blood brother. Rest in Peace, old friend!

• Jeff was a one of a kind. Always building things that were always on the cutting edge of his view of the world, always, as Noel puts it, " Jerry always had an easy-going manner, loved to banter with the rest of us, and had a great respect for life." I will miss him, even though I have not seen him for ages.