We were extremely saddened by the news that the founding force behind the 1/87 Vehicle Club (or as it was originally known, the 1/87 Scale Vehicle & Equipment Club) had passed away recently. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Bill for the first time and photographing some of his collection back in 2003. We asked his friend and fellow modeler Ralph Johnson to compose the memorial below. Thanks to Joe D'Elia for his contribution to this effort and a very special thanks to Ralph Johnson. For all of you who never had the pleasure of meeting Bill personally, you owe Bill a very large debt of gratitude for bringing this "thing" we have now all together in the first place back in 1994. Bob Johnson, webmaster
It was Monday June 15, 2009 when I was informed that Bill Goddard has passed. Bob Peterson had given the news received from Dan Goins. It was a shocking moment and one I will never forget. I am at an age where many of my friend are beginning to move on but I never expected this from Bill. Bill had been such a tremendous force in the forming of the 1/87 Scale Vehicle & Equipment Club and I took it for granted he would live forever.
I looked back and could not see any place in the beginning of this hobby that he had not touched. In the early nineties a small vehicle club was formed in the Los Angeles area call Model Vehicles Unlimited. We struggled with bylaws, form, and structure but soon we were a club. At one meeting in particular the idea to hold an annual gathering took form and Bill Goddard took off. Before we knew it we had gone from obscure corner of the hobby world to planning banquets, making hotel reservations, reserving meeting rooms and contacting modelers and groups all over this country and the world about our gathering. I tell you this story because it was Bill Goddard that pushed all of this forward. There were many nights of phone calls until the late hours and rising to continue them for those in other time zones including Europe. I am not taking lightly the contributions of others including myself, but Bill and I spoke almost daily and it was clear most of us were there and participating because of Bill. Bill spoke to owners of trucking companies, collectors from the ATHS, and manufacturers everywhere and got commitments to attend and/or participate. Bill arranged transportation of full sized vehicles to the inaugural event in Ontario, California and a full scale fully commissioned M60 tank from the National Guard. The day's events required models of participating vehicles to be produced for the owner of the prototype equipment which, you guessed it, Bill arranged. I remind you that the 1/87 Scale Vehicle & Equipment Club did not exist at the first convention. This club was a result of that convention and it was Bill wanting a national stage for all to participate in no matter where you lived that brought it into being. Often the push was contentious and sometimes there was a mean spirited backlash but it came to be and the result was many of us that would never have met did meet and the rest was history. The models were extraordinary and there were finally faces to put to the names.
Bill traveled extensively for his job so he had an opportunity to speak to modelers in the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United States, all in the spirit of friendship and the common bond of the hobby we enjoy. Bill continued to participate in the hobby by producing Trainscape Models branded limited edition trucks and equipment models. Most of this was created in his home and some of us are fortunate enough to have some of those models in our collection. Once the convention event had taken place the work did not end. There was a book to publish. The pressure mounted again and almost a year later the book finally came off the press. Organizing a national club was not without its problems as well but a second convention was also in the making and not without its problems. Organizing any event for the first time is a feat not for the faint of hearts but a national organization is also a feat. I must re-emphasize that many people had a hand in all of this beginning, but this is about Bill and his contribution. I lost touched with Bill when he moved to northern California about this time. He made it clear that he wanted to forget about the hobby for a while and he would contact me when some time had passed. I heard from Bill only once since then but I kept my hopes up that we would meet again.
He changed the way we did things in our small obscure corner forever. We've met and now know each other, thanks to Bill. We frequently contact each other and we meet in person occasionally at various hobby or industry events. Without Bill I would not have met Wayne Calder, Bob Johnson, Denis Doucet, Thomas Kelly, Trip Aiken, Joe D'Elia, the late Bob Leinbach, Dennis Aust, Dan Goins, Mark Wayman Richard Muller, and many, many others. Remember Bill whenever you gather amongst yourselves. Think of how all of our knowing one person has brought us closer and helped to create a connecting link between us all. We are all truly fortunate for his having passed our way. Ralph Johnson