FCW was fortunate for the first eleven years of existence in that we had no major injuries or deaths in our membership. Unfortunately, that changed in 2023. Over the past months we lost four of our members to death, all due to health problems. What follows is a brief tribute to them.
Eugene (Gene) Chase
Gene was in the first group of members to join after the four founders and became a Charter Member. Originally from New Jersey, Gene attended RCA Institute in New York, then the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, finishing with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He then had a career with Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ as an expert in Electrostatic Discharge. While there, Gene worked with or knew many famous names in the industry including Shockley, Richie, Kernigan, and others.
Gene joined FCW in 2011 and brought with him the HO gauge railroad that he had been working on for 40 years. He was our railroad guru and had many “Easter Eggs”, many humorous, in the layout. He was also an avid woodworker and electronics
hobbyist. Gene went to many shows and Makerfaires, demonstrating electrostatics, and showing dioramas that he built. He had a wonderful, dry sense of humor.
Gene was recently in poor health, having had a battle with Covid, pneumonia, and a heart attack. He passed while at a nursing home near a daughter in VA.
The future of the railroad is unknown at this time.
Kay Brady joined FCW in 2013 and went right to work. She was a former contractor and carpenter and an avid woodworker. At the original space, Kay built walls in the Science and Stagecraft
areas and did considerable plumbing. She assisted in woodworking classes, built multiple cabinets in Science, Canteen, and Library, and worked many shows and Makerfaires.
After the fire, Kay scoured Realty papers and found the current building just after it was listed. She was on the moving crews, bringing the equipment from Charlotte, Davidson, and local areas. Kay built the center walls in the main and rear areas on the upper floor and a large portion of the railroad room on the lower floor.
Kay had multiple health problems, including seizures, diabetes, and multiple heart attacks. She was found dead in her home from natural causes.
Rich Golder was one of the founding members of FCW, along with Colin, Michelle, and Dan. The organizational meeting took place at Rich’s house in August of 2011 with six potential members, of which the founding four put in money and became Charter Members. Each loaned equipment to FCW to get the shops going. Rich’s contribution was the original machine shop, including a metal lathe, and a Mill that he had converted to CNC. Rich hunted around and found our original site at the Shuford facility and negotiated a good lease price. He served as president of FCW for several years, and spent more years on the board of directors.
Rich was formerly a programmer with IBM and built custom CNC devices after retirement. He contributed many funds to FCW, allowing the purchase of the Full Spectrum Laser cutter at the old space and the CNC router at the current space.
In recent years, Rich had multiple strokes. He died at a nursing home in early June.
Rick Martinson was a professional woodworker. Brought to FCW by Ross, Rick organized the woodshop, taught classes in woodworking and woodturning, and built several of the cabinets in the woodshop along with many personal projects. He fell in love with the laser cutter and made numerous wood etchings.
Rick had been battling multiple cancers off and on for the past five years, and recently had a heart attack, passing in early July.
Each of these contributed to FCW in his own way. They will be greatly missed.