N&WHS Member Dave Phelps

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Jul 7 12:24:49 EDT 2020

What a great tribute!

Jerry Shepardson

> On Jul 7, 2020, at 12:09 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:
> All
> You may not have known him at all, but member Dave Phelps was fairly regular on this list. Most importantly, he was my major proofreader/grammar and punctuation police for the Arrow. Sadly almost a month ago, I had checked in with Dave, as I’d not really heard from him in a few weeks, and he reported that he was having medical issues with shortness of breath and chronic fatigue. I wished him the best and asked him to let me know how it was going, unfortunately, his obituary was in today’s Roanoke Times:
> August 16, 1940 June 30, 2020 The last train has left the station. David Reeves Phelps, 79, of Moneta, Va., stepped off the platform for his final journey on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Dave began his tour at Pulaski, Va., on August 16, 1940, and fell in love with trains of all sizes at an early age. He built his first (of many, MANY) model railroad cars in his attic room. He said his model railroad layout would "never be finished," probably because he never wanted it to be "done." That was his life – "never done." He was one of the lucky ones who was able to translate his childhood passion into a lifelong career. After graduating from Massapequa (N.Y.) High School and earning a degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University, he went to work for General Electric in Erie, Pa. After a brief sidetrack with the United States Army, he returned to GE, where he designed and developed locomotive solutions. During his career there, and through his work with the American Public Transit Association in Washington, D.C. and LTK Engineering Services, he worked with railroads and rapid transit systems, both manufacturers and end-users, around the world. At the time of his final trip, he was devoting his energy to convincing Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Virginia to build a passenger station at Bedford, Va. He relished his global travels and the many friends he made on his trips, but he took special pleasure in returning to his home in the mountains of his childhood. But he was not (just) a train nerd. He was a devoted father and grandfather, an active member of his church everywhere he lived, a dedicated community volunteer, a talented singer, an avid boater, and an indomitable tinkerer. He took particular joy in his work with young people, encouraging their love of science and service to the community. Dave was not a fan of deviating from his planned route or timetable, but he boarded this unscheduled train with dignity and grace when it was clear that he could not wait to catch a later one. When he reaches his destination, he will be reunited with his beloved wife, Judy Hopson Phelps; his parents, J.D.M. and Rubye R. Phelps, as well as many other loved ones who made the trip before him. Seeing him on his journey at the station were his two children, Melissa Phelps Firestone of Ashburn, Va., and Steven (Sabrina) Phelps of Fairview Heights, Ill.; his six adored grandchildren, Hunter, Kelsi, Ashtin, Abigail, Caroline, and Caithen; his brother, Thomas (Christine) Phelps; and his dear friend and companion, Maxine Edwards. Standing with and supporting them were untold numbers of friends whose lives he touched and enriched. The family will hold a private interment at the Trinity Ecumenical Parish columbarium and will welcome friends, family, and the community for a shared Celebration of Life when it becomes safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to SML Good Neighbors, Lake Christian Ministries, or the cancer research charity of one's choice. Arrangements are by Flora Funeral Service & Cremation Center, Rocky Mount, Va.
> Dave was a very fine fellow, very much a strong society member and a huge help on the Arrow. Dave could be asked most anytime to help out, and he was always more than willing.
> God speed Dave, I appreciated your contributions.
> Ken Miller 
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