Long time WMRC member Ken Epp passed away yesterday. He was recently diagnosed with cancer of the liver and given just a few weeks to live.
Ken was a long time member of the WMRC. He will be most remembered at the club for organizing the Great Canadian Train Show from 1997 to 2011. This was no easy task. Ken had to deal with dozens and dozens of displayers and vendors, then he had to fit them all into the two levels of the gymnasium space allotted to the club at the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute within the constraints of the fire marshal's regulations.
Ken was the Executive Director of the Manitoba Band Association, a non-profit charitable organization which promotes the growth and development of band in Manitoba through regional and provincial programs and charities. His love for music rubbed off on his son, Jeremy, who held the position of Principal Timpani in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra until he joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last month. Ken was also the brother-in-law of long time WMRC member John Longhurst, who also assisted Ken in organizing the club's Great Canadian Train Show for several years.
Ken will also be remembered for his truly unique layout, the HO scale Cougar River Subdivision. Ken managed to combine
his desire for a large layout with his family’s need for basement living
space. The result was a club-size layout
that features a 530-foot mainline run, yet ensured that the rest of the basement
is available to the family (a large recreation room, bedroom, full bathroom and
He accomplished this by using
an around-the-walls double and triple deck design. The loop-to-loop layout, with
its nine-scale mile run, ran through and around all the basement rooms, but
didn't interfere with activities since the shelves in the living areas were
only 6 to 12 inches wide. To make the layout compatible with other living areas,
Ken finished off the edges with hardboard fascia and was careful to keep wires
and other clutter from view. The tracks punched
through the walls 19 times! It took 25 minutes for a train to traverse the layout from the lower staging yard to the upper
staging yard. Ken's layout was showcased in every major model railroad convention we've had in Winnipeg, and was frequently featured on local television programs.
Ken's funeral service will be held on Sunday, October 19 at North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church, 1315 Gateway Road at 2:30 PM.
Below is an image from Ken's Cougar River Subdivision. You can view more of his magnificent layout by clicking here. For a further tribute to Ken, please go to John Longhurst's Manitoba and Minnesota Subdivision blog site by clicking here.