The reply by Gene H. regarding Chester Holley brings back fond memories. I met Chester in 1962. The father of a buddy of mine who, like me, also threw The Tampa Times, the former Tampa Florida evening newspaper, introduced me to Chester. Mr. Collins had a neat compact HO layout in a small building he had built in his backyard. He also had a shelf in it where he displayed some O gauge trains that he had purchased from Chester as well.
Chester "The Most" Holley was a Southern Gentleman if there ever was one. He and wife, Margo, were also instimental in organizing the Southern Division of the TCA. Chester had a fantastic collection of tinplate trains displayed in his house. Trains that couldn't be displayed due to lack of space were stored in the attached garage.
During summer vacation from high school in 1963, Chester permitted my late best friend, Robert Taff, and me to man the shop while he took Margo to a York TCA meet. Their daughter, Diane, would spend some time with us chatting as well as serving hand made sandwiches and cold iced tea for lunch. When Chester and Margo returned from their trip, Robert and I retuned to railfanning the Tampa area in his dad's 1955 Pontiac. We always ended up Saturday afternoon to spend time with the family in the shop.
I am thankful that I not only met the Holley family but became close friends with them as well. Sadly, Margo died of cancer, Chester, a few years later as a result of a bad fall down the steps in his house. Even Diane is no longer with us. She and I attended T.R. Robinson High School together during our senior year. After graduating in 1964, I joined the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. After MOS at Ft. Eustus, Virginia, I was stationed here in Germany where I got to witness first hand, all the steam on the Deutsche Bundesbahn a young man had missed for the most part while growing up in Texas on my grandfater's small farm, north of Dallas in Farmers Branch.
Item: I do remember the last of Katy and Cotton Belt steam in the Big D area, plus of course, Dallas Union Terminal 0-6-0, which wasn't retired until the early 1960's.
The large steel prefab building still stands in Tampa on South Himes albeit is no longer a train shop. The collection has been sold to collectors worldwide for the most part, however, Chester Holley's memory still lives in the hearts of many model railroaders and in the three part series that was featured in O Gauge Railroading Magazine.
RIP Chester. We miss you!