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It is with a heavy heart I share the news of the passing of a friend to railroading, Gene D Austin, a.k.a. "Mr. Gene"

Mr. Gene was never on these forums but some of us knew him well.  By some rare fate he met my dad and saw his model trains and fell in love with building mountains, buildings, small vignettes, and even fun things for the kids like a mini dinosaur park.

I am honored to have a few of his scratch-built pieces in my collection.  I have two mountains and the original grist mill.

A shipping test - My first items from Gene

I remember the first time I met Mr. Gene.  I was in Arkansas visiting my dad.  We were at Dad's shop playing on his little office layout when Mr. Gene walked in.  Dad told me to run out and grab the boxes from Gene's trunk.  Gene brought over a few items that day.  A railroad museum he made from a Ricoh Station kit and a dairy barn he made completely from scratch.  They were the first two O-scale creations he made.  I remember him saying he was never using a kit again.  He hated being confined to the parts and pieces in a kit.  The barn was inspired by a painting he saw.  He didn't know what "O-Scale" meant.  He just eyeballed it from visiting Dad's layout.  I was very impressed.  The shingles were a little worn out and wind-blown.  The paint was a little faded. And his work only got better from there.

More than all else, he was a very dear friend to my dad. I'm happy Gene is at peace.  He will be missed dearly.

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