Hobby industry loses two pioneers

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by brakie, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    From Model Railroader:
    Hobby industry loses two pioneers
    Bobbye Hall and Bruce Walthers pass this weekend

    Bobbye Hall and Bruce Walthers, two well-known names in the model railroad industry, passed away this weekend.

    Hall, 97, former owner of Hall's Hobby House and Hallmark Models in Dallas, Texas, died on January 27.

    Hall and her husband, Buddy, took a former ice cream parlor north of downtown Dallas and converted it into her hobby shop, which she operated for 55 years. She was the first woman to successfully work with Japanese model railroad manufacturers, and in 1967, started Hallmark Models, which offered an exclusive line of brass locomotives and cars of southwestern U.S. railroads imported from Japan and Korea. In 1996, Hall was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Association's Hall of Fame, and she received the National Model Railroad Association's Pioneers of Model Railroading award in 1997. Hall's autobiography, Tracks from Texas to Tokyo, was published in 2006.
    Bruce Walthers Walthers, 87, chairman of the board and former president of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., in Milwaukee, Wis., died on January 28.

    In 1958, Walthers became president of the model railroad manufacturing firm his father, William K. (Bill), started 26 years earlier. Under Bruce's leadership, Walthers became the largest distributor of model railroad products in the world. During his 60-year career, Bruce was a board member and president of both the Model Railroad Industry Association and the Hobby Industry Association of American (HIAA). The HIAA awarded Bruce its highest honors, the Meritorious Award of Honor and Lifetime Membership in recognition of his years of service and contributions to the hobby. Bruce transferred the family business to his son, Philip, in 1984, but remained active in the company as chairman of the board.
  2. corwinktbt

    corwinktbt Old-time steam.

    I was just at the Walthers.com website tonight, before checking out the Gauge and I saw the news on Mr. Walthers. It even sadder that we lost two people who helped build the hobby.

    It is a given that without Walthers, the number of those in the hobby would be much smaller. While his father Bill, founded the company, Bruce captained the company thru the years that found it in the enormous building it is in now. Without Walthers, I wouldn't have been able to pick up items I had ordered as easily at my LHS last night. They would have to special order it from each company instead of one central location.

    I don’t own a single brass locomotive or car, but I am familiar with the Hallmark brand. I have read some of the history of early brass importers and know that they had to overcome many obstacles to bring quality models to the USA. I do know that there are many people who appreciate the efforts of Bobbye Hall in opening the import market from the Far East.

    My thoughts and prayers are with their families.
  3. I was at probably the last show that Bobbie Hall was at . The train show in Plano, Texas. Iwas lucky enough to get her book and get it autographed,. She touched so many and will be missed . She had been a fixture at the last 2 shows I attended, the Fort Worth show and Plano. Knowing that she was from Dallas hurts because she will not be there to talk to in person

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