I’m thankful to have had former Akron Railroad Club member Mike Ondecker as a good friend.
To honor him, I’d like to post a few photos from our trips and perhaps tell a story or two.
Mike had been buying locomotive slides from well-known southern railfan Tom Lawson.
When Mike and I flew south on my school’s Easter vacation, he called Tom and set up a day where Tom and a friend of his would take us to some of the better railfan “treasures” in the Birmingham, Alabama area. One of these was Southern Stone in Margerum, Alabama.
On April 9, 1974, we arrived there only to see Southern Stone’s rare Alco HH was partly covered with a tarp. Tom went in and asked permission to remove the tarp. Permission was granted, and Tom, Tom’s friend, and Mike got up on the Alco and removed the tarp.
After our photos were taken, the three of them climbed back onto the Alco and replaced the tarp. As for me, I stayed on the ground because I hate heights, and after all, someone had to get the photo of them removing the tarp.
In the top image, Mike Ondecker is on the top right of the hood. As for which one was Tom, after all these years I have forgotten. Also I forgot the other railfan’s name.
The bottom image is the roster shot that I made that day.
Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas