Florida British Car Show – Central Winds Park, Winter Springs (Orlando) – 6
A new venue for the this show – Central Winds Park in Winter
Springs. Cheaper, more facilities, more
space and, IMO, a local community that is more welcoming as opposed to one that
is somewhat hostile. We had a great
day. Some ‘opening night’ jitters but
nothing that will be remembered for very long.
It was warm and this new venue is a bit more open than the last. We did find some sporadic overcast to provide
However, a highlight of this new venue is the acceptability
of adult beverages. Quite a few of the cars
had come well prepared. I saw Champagne
being poured from the boot of a Bentley and, of course, beer was being served around
the Triumphs. Even several of the
vendors had offerings, and certainly no one complained.
The Central Florida British Car Show (Orlando) has been held
now for 35 years. MOGSouth’s own Rick
Frazee was the show’s director in the past.
Quite a history. The cars this
year were superb with some very nice and very rare examples of the British
automotive past. A 1927 Austin Nippy, a
1954 Bentley parked right next to a 2015 Bentley Turbo R, all manner of BL
products, a good number of modern Jaguar F Types and of course 8 Morgans. We
had an early 4/4, Plus 4s, to include a Flat Rad and a Cowled Radiator 4
Seater, Plus 8s, and Roadsters. Several
of the local Morgan owners, that typically attend this show, were otherwise
committed, so the count would have been even higher had they come. It appears Morgans are, albeit slowly, taking
The show had the usual diversions and wasn’t all about the
shiny cars. Other aspects of the show
included food vendors, the silent auction, door prizes and the infamous valve
cover races. My Coventry Climax valve
cover was the only Morgan entry, but, once again, it didn’t win. It didn’t even go down the ramp forward, it flipped
immediately and then went down backwards, that is until it hit the pavement and
a wheel fell off. Typical Morgan! Next time! And, I think some redesign is in order.
We were joined by a Morgan owner who only recently relocated to Florida from the Northeast. Smart move, have you seen the weather reports?? Les and Joan Neumann are only some 15 miles from my house, and a few miles from another Morgan owner. Morgan owners seem to travel in packs?? Go figure? The more the merrier!!
The weekend was grand! Top down the entire time! I did flop the top up on the car up at night but never really secured it. It was just to give the storm cover some support. I don’t even think Allan and Mary Ann Rae, who traveled with us from central Florida, did even that much.
There weren’t any storms or even strong winds. The weather was glorious! A little cool when the sun went down, but
otherwise spectacular. Certainly different
from past years in Amelia.
This one was a bit special. The announcements from Geneva this year were
certainly thought provoking. Also, we
had the MMC factory folks and many of the US Morgan dealers in town for a ‘big’
dealer meeting. I invited a good number
to the Friday evening Noggin and many came.
It was great for the MOGSouth members at the Noggin to chit chat with
folks they know and love. Well, ok
perhaps ‘love’ is a bit strong, but . . .
Andrea and I, along with Allan and Mary Ann Rae, traveled up
on Friday morning in the Roadsters. It
was really a sprint up the highway.
Amelia Island is not too far north of Jacksonville, Florida, so a
pleasant enough drive for us. About 3.5
hours. We chose this year to stay in
Jacksonville and drive back and forth along the St Johns river, as needed. This was necessitated by the limited hotels
on the Island itself. You really have to
anticipate and book a hotel room some 6 – 9 months out. And, then you have to save your Nickles and
Dimes to pay for the room and be willing to accept the minimum number of nights
demanded. The Amelia Island inn keepers
tend raise the rates quite high for the big Concours weekend.
Alas, supply and demand . . .
Once we tucked our bags and such into our rooms in
Jacksonville, we headed back out to the cars and meandered our way up to
Fernandina Beach for lunch. The drive
along the river during the day has a different feel than the drive at dawn, but
it is still quite pretty, nonetheless. Lots
of twisty bits, lots of water and lots of folks fishing off the bridges. You could tell it was Concours weekend as 90%
of the oncoming traffic was something noisy and interesting. Porsches, Ferraris, a Deux Chevaux? and
others. Very neat!
Once there, we found lunch with a view of the water after
parking on some grass next to a Blood Bank table. The kids at the table assured us that the
grass was a fine place to park (some others had just left!) so we parked and
walked away. Parking is quite difficult
in Fernandina Beach during the Concours weekend and I suspect (well, I hope!) the
parking police are pretty lenient during the weekend. It seems like there were cars
everywhere. (And, there were many, many
folks with yellow tape or rope barriers across their home’s road frontage,
trying to protect their lawns from folks looking to park.)
This was only our first taste of the parking challenge . . .
After lunch, it was over to the location of the Friday
evening Noggin. I wanted to get there
early as this was a new location for us, the Salt Life Bar and Grille. It was fairly close to the sports bar we have
used previously but this place had oodles and oodles of parking. Something lacking at our previous spot. (ah, that ‘parking’ thing, again!)
The restaurant manager, Tina, had us set up in a roof top ‘lounge’ complete with propane heaters, couches and overstuffed chairs. It even had a fire pit. Not too bad a spot for us, albeit a bit chilly when the sun went down. The view of the ocean was stunning!
Taking on a big group like ours is always difficult. 30+ folks are always in need of something,
whether it’s food or drink, so the staff was constantly jumping to keep us all satisfied.
And, I have to be somewhat appreciative of
their efforts as this restaurant doesn’t take reservations but did reserve this
‘prime’ spot for us!
A very good turn-out!
Lots of MOGSouth folks attended.
Some we hadn’t seen in quite a while. We also had a good number of the US Morgan
dealers at the Noggin. We talked mostly
about nonsensical stuff, all-the-while trying to eek out some tidbits of
information or get some sense of their feelings about the big Geneva
announcements and the forthcoming dealer meeting. I didn’t get any earth shattering nuggets but
did sense a feeling of ‘concerned’ optimism.
Other comments about the component cars, future business outlooks, the
very different and misunderstood American market, etc., seemed to flow
Then we had to head back to the hotel. The drive in the dark was uneventful. We got the cars home safely and tucked them
in. Prime parking spots right out front
next to the hotel portico. Diamond
Members (I think not!). Then up to bed
with an early rise in the morning. The
convoy back to Fernandina Beach was to start at 6:30 AM. Yikes!
The drive from Jacksonville to Amelia Island, along the St Johns River,
at the crack of dawn is truely amazing!
The sun coming up over the horizon, peeking through the swamp
grass and the masts of the boats in the marinas is very special. Getting up early to make the drive, however,
is not so special. This year we had the
two Roadsters, ours and the Rae’s, and Harry Gambill’s Aeromax with Rick
Fraser’s Aero Eight in our convoy.
As we have done in past, we all met at a convenient diner,
and then convoyed down the road, into the cars and coffee display area, as a
single gaggle of Morgans. Typically, if
you don’t come in as a group, the organizers will just park you wherever they
have space. This year was
different. With the Morgan factory folks
and the Morgan dealers having a new car display, they wanted the Morgans to
park in a specific location on the field, just adjacent to the new car display
We were directed to our predefined spot which was fine, but
it was a bit far away from the coffee and donuts. I don’t think we could have gotten much
further away. I finally walked back to
the coffee tent, got a cup, and started the trek back. I think I was all but done with my cup by the
time I got back. Oh well, there was
probably some overly caffeinated Porsche owner, vibrating right next to the
tent. (Who knows, he may still be
As usual, the Morgans were a big hit. Lots and lots of interested folks and lots of
questions. We had a very good display
with almost all model variants represented.
Roadsters, Plus 8s (early and late), Plus 4s (Larry Erd was there with
his freshly restored SuperSports clone, still not totally sorted), a Four
Seater, the Aeromax, the Aero 8, M3Ws, and Austin Britton’s early 4/4. And, when folks asked about availability, we
pointed to the new car tent. It was all
There were also a number of MOGSouth members, or other Morgan
owners there without cars or supporting some other marque, who came by to say
hello. Tony McLaughlin of Morganville
fame, Jon Scott from Charleston, Charlie and Beth Miller, Stu Mosbey was there
with his Porsche(?), Ray Morgan was running around the Ritz, getting ready to show
a car on Sunday, and Ian Levitt from Nashville all came by.
Again, I tried to get some information out of the MMC folks and
Morgan dealers. I spoke to the two
factory employees (Mark and Mike?) for a few minutes and I spoke to six Morgan
dealers. Again, I came up empty. Nothing, nada, zilch . . .
I really wish I could report on some momentous tidbit of
information, but I never got any. And,
my attempts to get feedback from the dealers following the afternoon’s big
meeting have also failed.
I suspect the dealers are all confused somewhere, hunkering down under the
‘cone of silence’. . .
Following the show, a dozen of us or so ventured downtown to
find a late lunch. The traffic leaving
the Cars and Coffee was nuts, every intersection was backed up, so a short-cut
through a neighborhood freed us from our confines. We found the restaurant but, again, were
challenged to find a spot for the car. Around the block a few times, then a couple
guys, car enthusiasts I guess, found me a spot.
It wasn’t optimal but it was a spot.
I had to go the wrong way down a one way street and then back into the
spot. It was a bit chaotic getting in, it
was tight and I hit the curb a few times, but I had a parking spot, and an
official one at that. And, it wasn’t all
that far from the Restaurant. Score!!
After lunch, we drove back to the hotel. Tired and ready for a nap. We had the hotel booked for another night so
no need to hurry home. We drove back
along the St Johns one last time and parked out front once again. We found dinner in the adjacent sports
bar. Nothing fancy just a salad bar, a
‘pork’ chop and a ‘belly-up gold fish’?
Breakfast at the hotel Sunday morning was abandoned in hopes
of something better. I think we found
it. Then it was time and we reluctantly headed
south down I-95 for home.
It was a lovely weekend. Lots of
cars, plenty of sunshine, good company and nothing broke!! Can’t ask for much more!
Folks, we have begun to distribute the MOGSouth Membership Roster for 2019. It is being distributed as an encrypted PDF file. You should receive this file via email, to the email address you provided to us, sometime in the next week or so.
In order to ensure we secured this file, as best we could, we have undertaken the following precautions. First, this file is encrypted, meaning it has a password that you will have to enter each time you open / view the file. Secondly, we are distributing the PDF file itself and the file’s password in two separate messages. These methods are our attempts at keeping the information on the roster secure from the everyday hacker.
We understand the sensitivity folks have to sharing this information with just anybody, so we want to protect it. However, we also realize that one of the biggest benefits of MOGSouth membership is knowing who else, in the local area or region, shares your Morgan passion. So we want to be sure you to have the membership roster.
We struggled with distribution methods and in the end we came up with the two methods mentioned above. It is highly unlikely that a hacker will be able to get both messages and then put them together.
The other key element is the password itself. In the end we wanted to make the password something less likely to be hacked so we have used what is called a ‘strong’ password, e.g. one that is somewhat lengthy, uses Capital letters, numbers, punctuation and is relatively memorable (for a Morgan type, that is.) The password we chose is;
It must be entered exactlyas above, with the Capital letters, etc. When you attempt to open the PDF MOGSouth Membership file, you will be asked for the password. Simply enter it, as provided above, and hit enter. The file will open just as any other file on your computer.
It’s chilly outside . . . got to go south! Well it’s only 60° but even so I’m chilly, none
the less. Been in Florida too long. I think my blood has thinned.
This weekend is the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club All
British Car Show (actually the 26th annual). It is down in South Florida where it’s
warmer. We go every year as we have several
MOGSouth members down that way and it’s good to see them every now and
again. It used to be in Boca Raton but
now is in West Palm Beach. Still south,
We have few folks from North / Central Florida going along
with us, as well. Perhaps they too are
chilly? Allan and Mary Ann Rae, Chuck
and Karen Bernath, and Robin and Christine Bycroft. The others in the area are either predisposed
or in some other way committed . . . off racing or vacationing in Asia or some
such. But it won’t be a problem as I
suspect we will join another 4 – 6 Morgans once we get there. And a host of other British Cars.
Getting there is a logistics challenge. We all come from differing parts of Florida
and need to travel on different roads.
However, as it is more fun to travel in packs, we have a rendezvous or
two in the plan with designated gathering spots and hook-up times, along the
route. Gas and rest stops are always
I took the Roadster out this time. It has been a few months since the car has
had a good run. Also, I just changed the
oil and filter, and completed a full maintenance (112 tasks) session on the
car. This has got to make it faster . .
. right? The only problematic thing I
found during all that maintenance was an inoperable front (passenger side) turn
indicator. I figured a bulb was blown
but when I pulled off the lens it was much more than that. The whole thing was corroded. An entire new light or at least a new bulb
receptacle was in order . . . but then, after some thought and being cheap, I figured
I might be able to rebuild it!
I rummaged around in my bin of bits and found some derelict
light housings. Actually, I found three
old round light bases, complete with wires.
Two had a single wire to the bulb and one had two wires. And of course, the size and shape were
different from the corroded one on the Roadster. Progress, I assume!
I contemplated the differences for a few minutes, pondering
all sorts of Morgan induced gremlins, until it finally occurred to me that the
two with only the single wire were both steel and the one with the double wire
was aluminum. Why the change, I
thought. The steel ones said Lucas while
the aluminum one was devoid of any markings.
Perhaps someone was afraid to admit to making the thing or perhaps it
was just an aftermarket piece?
Ah ha! The steel ones were grounded directly when bolted to the car. No need for a grounding wire. The aluminum one however needed a grounding wire. Aluminum isn’t the best conductor of electricity. Again, that college education pays off!
I then decided that since the size and shape were different,
I would only use the inner bulb receptacle. I took the aluminum one, the one with the two
wires, and cut away all but the needed bulb receptacle. I then stuffed this bulb receptacle into the
recess left when I removed the corroded one from the Roadster. A tight fit, but a fit none the less. I tested it with a new bulb. And, there was light!
I tightened it all back up and bingo, I had turn
indicators! An hour of fiddling about
and it was all good again. Ok, the car
was ready for the road!
Now to gather all the requisite stuff. It’s not that Morgans lack storage space,
there’s plenty. It’s that we have become
too accustomed to travel with all sorts of crap. Chairs and hats and phones and blankets,
tools and rags and on and on. Not to
mention the bulging suitcase on the luggage rack!
Finally, . . . down the road we go!
We stayed at the designated hotel chosen by the Gold Coast
British Sports Car Club. It was right
next to the show field . . nothing too fancy, clean and affordable. Close to the show was good for us as we really
didn’t want to drive all over an unknown location, risk getting lost or arriving
late, or worse yet missing the show altogether.
And, this hotel had free breakfast and was in walking distance of a decent
restaurant. We gathered for dinner and
walked to the recommended sports bar, BJs, for our evening repast. A sports bar is fine for this crowd, lots of options
for food, beer and wine, and the noise level wasn’t adversely impacted by our raucous
The free hotel breakfast came earlier that I liked but there it was in all it’s glory . . . cardboard waffles and rubber eggs. I had coffee.
Then we all piled into the cars and drove, had to be all of a mile, to the show. We were parked all together this year (last year we were scattered about), except Robin and Christine Bycroft who were past Class winners and were parked in a separate ‘Prestige Class’ with the other past winners.
The Morgans had quite a respectable showing. We had 7 Morgans in the show counting the (1) Bycroft’s lovely BRG 1989 Plus 8.
(2) 1967 Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe (Cream w/ Brown Wings) belonging to Gil & Barbara Stegen (3) 1980 Plus 8 Fuel Injected Turbo (Gray w/ Black Wings) belonging to Chuck & Karen Bernath (4) 2003 Anniversary Edition Plus 8 (Aston Martin Green) belonging to Bennett & Mary Shulman (5) 2005 3.0L Roadster (BRG) belonging to Allan & Mary Ann Rae (6) 2005 3.0L Roadster (Cream w/ BRG Wings) belonging to Mark & Andrea Braunstein (7) 2018 3.7L Roadster (Blue) with only 100 miles, belonging to Lewis Pollack.
The Morgan Class winner was the ’67 Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe belonging to Gil & Barbara Stegen and rightly so. The car was lovely and superbly displayed (as always). Second in Class went to Bennett & Mary Shulman’s spectacular 2003 Anniversary Edition Plus 8. Third in Class then went to the extremely well prepared 2005 3.0L BRG Roadster, goggles and all, belonging to Allan & Mary Ann Rae. Then they announced the Prestige Class winners and Robin and Christine’s 1989 BRG Plus 8 took second in a group of quite stellar competition. I dare say the Morgans did quite well on the day!
A big highlight of the show, for us Morgan types anyway, was
ogling Lewis Pollack’s brand new, 2018, component 3.7L Roadster. What a lovely machine! We were all drooling. Blue over cream leather. Wow! Lewis
quickly fit right in with the MOGSouth crowd and as he is already a member of
the club, I suspect we will see this car again, quite soon.
After the show, it was back to the hotel for a nap. Then off to another sports bar for
dinner. This time we had to drive, but it
wasn’t far. Dinner came and went. Then back to bed. We were all spent. The midday sun and 85°+ temperatures had done
us all in.
Hotel breakfast again on Monday. There was a plan to convoy home, but it somehow
fell apart. The two Roadsters, Raes and
Braunsteins, set off together to explore the coastline and meander North. Banyan tree canopies, sparkles of sun light and
glimpses of the ocean. Marvelous! And, then there were the mansions.
Now, I understand large homes and even waterfront properties. But these were simply amazing! It boggled the mind. Most houses had a driveway, ok we all have one of those, but then 100 yards or more, further down, they had a ‘Service Entrance’. These houses must have been massive! Really, a Service Entrance? Wow!
Now I want a ‘Service Entrance.’ I may just make a sign . . .
The Bernath’s had taken off a bit earlier and found the Elliot Museum, in Stuart Florida. They stopped, so we stopped. What an amazing place! The collections at the museum were eclectic. Vintage cars, wooden boats, airplanes, dioramas of a vintage kitchen and a commercial pharmacy with soda shop, a model train collection, outboard motors, Frances Langford’s wardrobe (she sang with Bob Hope on many USO tours), and much more.
The most incredible thing, for me anyway, was the vintage
car storage machine (sort of like a car vending machine?) Just watching this thing was worth the entire
stop. Although there were many cars openly
displayed in the various rooms, there were some 54 cars stored in a large, temperature
and humidity controlled, glass enclosed machine / complex. They were stored three levels high and two
rows deep. The docent had a computer controlled
selector and when he selected a specific car, the machine went and found the car. It then lifted it up and put the car on an
elevator, which brought it down, moving it to the center of the complex, and
then displayed it (rotating it on a turn style) just in front of where we were
sitting. We couldn’t get enough of this
thing and asked to see some three different cars. The cars were cool, but the machine, moving
the cars around, was even cooler. We
stopped before the darn thing broke. We feared
the worst as the docent indicated the company that manufactured the complex
machine went belly up a year after it was created, and the machine was now the most
demanding maintenance item in the entire museum!
We soon left the museum and continued up the coast to a
water front restaurant (Kyle Gs) for lunch.
Chuck Bernath got there a few minutes before we did and wrangled parking
spaces, for the Morgans, at the front door.
Thank you, Chuck! This was certainly
appreciated (as the parking lot was overflowing.) Although the restaurant was pretty crowded, they
found us a table with a view. Excellent
service and excellent food.
Then it was back in the cars and up the coast. West to I-95 and a dash for home.
A bit hot in south Florida but all-in-all good fun! Great cars, great company and really another
great Morgan weekend!
Oh, and just as I pulled off the highway, with no more than a mile or two to get to my house, the turn indicator I had fixed, stopped working. Go figure? Oh, the pleasures of Morgan ownership!
It began with the 1961 Plus Four Roadster I
purchased from my father in 1966.
This was my everyday car while I was attending
Georgia State University where I had the good fortune to meet Dale, my wife of
now fifty plus years.
We dated in that car for almost a year until it
was sold and replaced with a yellow 1961 VW convertible (but that is another
Fast forward twenty years, we were raising three
children, both working and dealing with all that goes along with a dual income,
hardworking, busy family.
In celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary
Dale said she wanted to give me another Morgan.
The search for a car began the Sunday after
Thanksgiving of 1988.
Amy and Adam and I journeyed to a small British
Car event in downtown Atlanta where we met Lance Lipscomb as well as Bob and
Wynell Bruce and Maidie and Charlie Williams, all members of MOGSouth. I told
them of my quest for another Morgan and by Monday afternoon, Lance, called and
said he had found a car.
The car was in a basement in a home in Marietta
and was being sold because the owner had begun a rebuild but had by then given
up on the project.
I purchased the car on sight and all of the
various pieces and brought it home.
It needed painting as well as an interior and
reassembly and with help from Don Simpkins, Fred Sisson and Lance the car came
together in early 1989 and made its formal debut at the MCCDC National Meet
that summer after traveling in caravan from Atlanta along with Fred and Roni
Sisson and their three year old daughter Sam.
The car was frequently driven to many meets and
Morgan events over the next thirty years where we made long lasting friendships
with the many members of the Morgan community.
After the MOGSouth Christmas Party of 2016, Dale
and I made the decision that it was time to “freshen” the Morgan as it was
showing its age and the wear and tear of 30 years of enjoyment. This car is not
a “garage queen”. It was driven and enjoyed weekly for almost thirty years.
After several fits and starts, I reached out to
Mitch Bressler of MSA Classics in Carrollton, Georgia to handle the project.
I had met Mitch just after the car was first on
the road when he worked with Jon Stamps of Jon Stamps Racing and they had
performed several major repairs to the car.
Mitch had begun full time vintage race car
preparation and car restoration as well as general maintenance with his company
MSA Classics in a large facility in Carrollton.
As it turns out, what was to be a “freshening”
became a full body off frame up restoration and now it sports a completely
rebuilt engine and transmission, new brake and electrical systems, rebuilt
transmission, aluminum radiator and fuel tank, new floorboards, complete
respray and complete new custom fit leather interior.
In effect, it is a new 1967 Plus Four and in my
opinion, the result is stunning.
Thanks to Mitch Bressler and his company MSA
Classics and his local suppliers and craftsmen as well as Morgan Spares, Lonnie
Bailey, who painted the car and Northpoint Auto Upholstery, and especially to
Dale, my wife of now fifty plus years, the Morgan Rides Again!
We lost another MOGSouth stalwart. Bob Bruce passed away on Sunday, 30 December, just shy of the New Year. He was 81 years old.
Most of the relatively new MOGSouth folks wouldn’t remember the Bruces but those of us that have been around MOGSouth for a while certainly do. Wynell Bruce was a past president of MOGSouth so Bob was always there with the Morgan.
My first introduction to MOGSouth was when Wynell was the
president. I was in some position of
authority in MCCDC and had dealings with MOGSouth about support for a MCCDC MOG
meet or some such. This was around 1990
or so. MOGSouth was seen as the ‘standard,’
organized, vital and aptly led.
The Bruce’s lovely Blue Plus 4 2 Seater (Elizabeth) was always at the meets. (There was a three wheeler, called Angus??, as well, that needed a bit of TLC. ) Bob was pilot for Eastern Airlines, then Eastern Airlines did their thing and Bob was piloting aircraft, island hopping as it was, in the Caribbean. Bob took this all in stride and his understated sense of humor always rose to the top.
At one point a MOGSouth event in the islands was
discussed. Now that would have been
Eventually the Bruce’s came back to the cars and house in
Kennesaw. The most memorable Bob moment
for me was the phone call. There was a
message on the tape machine. Bob had called.
I returned the call, asking ‘what’s up?’
Bob was abrupt and asked frankly ‘What ever happened to the Five Dollar
Now that took me a bit by surprise. He was reacting to a recent MOGSouth event and
comparing it to earlier times. I think
the question may have been partially in jest, but I failed to adequate provide
a reasonable answer, so he kept hammering me.
Bob was a happy guy with an infectious smile. He always expected the best.
I do have to say, that I think of Bob and his question often
these days, especially when I am negotiating, on behalf of MOGSouth, something
that costs real money. I guess his
question left a mark!
After that the Bruce’s haven’t been seen too often, although they maintain their affiliation with the club but haven’t participated in any of the more recent MOGSouth events. I know, sometimes it is just too hard, or there are too many conflicts. The trike was sold to Lee Gaskins, if I remember correctly and the Plus 4, I believe, is still in Kennesaw.
The obituary as posted is as follows.
Robert S. “Bob” Bruce November 10, 1937 – December 30, 2018 Robert S. “Bob” Bruce, Sr., 81, of Kennesaw, died Sunday, December 30, 2018. A graveside memorial service will be held at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, 2019, in the Georgia National Cemetery, Canton. Mr. Bruce was born in Michigan but had lived in Kennesaw since 1972, coming from Miami. He retired from Eastern Airlines as a pilot and was Presbyterian. Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Wynell Bruce of Kennesaw; son, Robert S. (Laura) Bruce, Jr., of Dallas; grandchildren, Rob Bruce, Alicia Bruce, Tyler Bauch, and Austin Bauch; great grandson, J J Bruce.
Collins Funeral Home, Acworth, is in charge of arrangements.
GRAVESIDE MEMORIAL SERVICE – Tuesday January 8, 2019, 3:00 PM at Georgia National Cemetery, 1080 Scott Hudgens Dr, Canton, GA 30114
It was early morning on Christmas Eve that Betsy McOmber passed away. Her family was there and she was in no pain so that was good. Even if the Morgan Car thing was predominantly Gene’s she was always a vibrant presence at the MOGSouth gatherings. If she wasn’t there, her absence was always noted. ‘Where was Betsy’, everyone would ask. Betsy loved her music, her Church and she loved to play the piano and sing. It really is difficult for us, as a community, and we cannot adequately express our feelings of loss. But, we still have the many wonderful memories of car meets, road trips, omelet parties, racing trophies, the house in SC, the house in FL, the family and more. These we will not forget. A true and wonderful friend to us all and she will be greatly missed.
The Obituary in The Sarasota, FL Herald-Tribune is reprinted below.
McOmber, Betsy Lane Thomas – Mar 7,1940 – Dec 24, 2018
Betsy was raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan by her parents Byron R. and Mildred Stein Thomas.
Betsy graduated from Grosse Pointe High South in 1958 and went on to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and in 1966 with a Master of Arts Degree. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Musical Fraternity.
Betsy taught 3rd grade at Westwood Elementary school in Kalamazoo from 1962-1967. In 1963, she married Gene LeIsle McOmber of Allegan, MI. Their first son, Thomas Clair, was born in 1967 at which time Betsy began giving piano lessons in her home in Westwood. Two more sons were born in 1970 and 1978 – Richard Morgan and Robert Thomas.
While living in Kalamazoo, Betsy was very active in the Kalamazoo Orchestra League and also her church – 1st Church of Christ, Scientist. She enjoyed selling advertising for 5 years to the Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper. Betsy loved opportunities to play piano background music for various social events and singing in Jan Berghorst’s Women’s Choral group. She greatly admired her parents’ musical talents, both of whom were professional musicians. Her mother was her first piano teacher and instilled in her a deep love of music.
In 1994, Betsy and Gene retired to beautiful Keowee Key in Salem, SC where they lived for 17 years and enjoyed sharing their deck boat with family and friends. Betsy continued her musical involvements by singing in the Key Koraliers and joining a piano group called The Piano Connection where she played solos, duets, and quartets. Betsy and Gene were both very active in the Blue Ridge Art Center and Betsy became coordinator of an art program called Picture Person involving eleven elementary schools. At the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist in Seneca, she was Keyboardist for many years. In 2011, Betsy and Gene re-retired to Sarasota, FL to be closer to their son, Tom, his wife Melissa, and their grandson, Cole. More musical opportunities opened up for Betsy as she joined the Village Walk Singers and two piano groups – Piano Friends and Musical Friends. At Third Church of Christ, Scientist, she was the music coordinator.
Being married to a car enthusiast, Betsy was an active member of The Foothills British Car Club in SC, the Suncoast British Car Club group in Sarasota, and the Morgan Owners Group South. Betsy loved sharing her husband’s interest in cars and touring in their Morgan. Supporting Gene’s 47 years of racing a Morgan was a highlight of her life.
Betsy’s most favorite hobby was playing the piano and sharing her talent with others. She also was very devoted to writing – keeping in touch with friends and helping them through tough challenges consumed much of her time. She valued each person who came into her life.
She also loved remodeling homes with her husband, doing yard work, entertaining, and going to concerts and plays. Sharing musical time with her grandson, Cole, in Sarasota was especially meaningful to her. Betsy’s husband, three sons, two daughter in laws, and three grandchildren made her very proud and she will be forever grateful for their loving attention to her.
Betsy was predeceased by her parents and only sibling, Terrell E. Thomas, of Mt. Dora, Fl in 2017. She is survived by her husband Gene McOmber and Thomas & Melissa (Sarasota, FL), Richard (MI) Robert & Francheska (UT) Grand children Morgayn, (NV) Cole (FL), Camilla (UT).
“A Celebration of Life” will be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr. (8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238) on Friday evening January 18th from 5 to 8 PM.
An open house is to be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr., 8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238 on Friday evening January 18th, from 5 to 8 PM. Please bring your British car (weather permitting) if possible.
[2018 was a great year!! Let’s see if we can make 2019 even better!!
Happy Holidays to you and yours. Mark, Andrea and the rest of the MOGSouth team.]
“Twas the night before Christmas and out in the shed
Sat a tired old Morgan, It’s battery near dead,
Its wings were rusted and the doors wont close
The seats and carpets look like old Renault’s.
The tyres had dry rot, the fuel tank was leaking,
And a turn of the wheel sent the tie-rods a-creaking
So I put on my coat with a weight in my heart
And went to the shed to get it to start.
The engine turned over– there arose such a clatter!
And I knew from the sound it was water-pump chatter.
From under the dashboard there came a bright flash,
The wiring harness had just turned to ash!!
I’ve had it with this Morgan I finally swore.
Enough is too much, I can’t take anymore:
When what to my red teary eyes should appear,
But a little old bloke–(Hell I need a beer).
“Cheers” he said grinning from ear to ear,
“You need my help, I’m an engineer”.
“This one can be saved, there’s no need to grieve,
All you need is faith; You gotta believe”
A hammer, some duct tape, get me more tools!!
When you work on these cars, just make up the rules,
We’ll get her cranked over, and no way will she stall
But stand over there with your back to the wall”
A cough and a sputter, the cacophony was stunning!
I couldn’t believe it the damn thing was running.
The ghost winked at me, and said kicking a tyre.
“What ever you do: Don’t touch this wire!!”
The old bloke then vanished amongst sneezes and snorts
But when the smoke cleared he had left me some parts!!
So I opened the shed door and let the top down,
Put pedal to metal and went out on the town,
And I thought to myself as I missed second gear,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Reprint Courtesy of Barry Marshall of Talk Morgan.
[This report came from MOGSouth member Don Moodie. Others in MOGSouth participated and from all reports, the event was a wonderful time for all! Mark]
In addition to the various Concours, Cars and Coffees and Noggins, there was another, I’d say significant, Morgan activity which also took place this year.
The Morgan Northwest Passage Road Trip in September 2018
I thought the club might be interested in how it began and how it played out.
The initial announcement was broadcast over a year ago on August 31st of 2017 to a select list of club members. Those who had participated in the 1000 mile Pub Crawl around The Chesapeake were given early notice of this much more ambitious road trip. Apparently taking part in that earlier circumnavigation put a tick mark by certain names, identifying them as likely candidates for a trip all the way to the Pacific Northwest. During the Summer word of the trip became more widely known and additional club members decided to join in on the adventure. Eventually we had eleven cars signed up, including seven Morgans, one Lotus, one Jaguar, one MGB and a Ford Edge chase car.
The germ of the idea came from Bob McKenna and Gary Kneisley. In the months between the first suggestion and the actual departure there was much planning and re-planning to be done. Bob and Gary put in countless hours refining the itinerary, planning the route and lining up hotels while Reg Hahn and Bill Button contributed valuable tweaks to the route.
By the time we were about to head out on the road, Bill Button had also compiled what he called The Bedside Reader. It contained day by day descriptions of the areas we would be driving through and the history of each. It was an outstanding addition to our understanding and appreciation of what we were experiencing.
In broad terms the plan was to reconnoiter in Cincinnati right after Labor Day 2018. From there we would make a kind of “forced march” to Rapid City, South Dakota. The pace and distance covered each of those early days was a reflection of the fact that a lot of the middle of the country is comparatively uninteresting. But Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, and for some of us The Badlands, were the beginning of the major sites for this trip. From Rushmore we continued on to the furthest point in the lower forty eight before turning left and going South through Oregon and California.
But while we were still heading West from Rushmore, we passed through Needles, Crazy Horse National Monument, Deadwood, The Little Big Horn Battle Field, Cody, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Cascades National Park. At that point we were two weeks into the trip. We boarded the ferry over to Port Townsend, Washington and Olympic National Park. Being the furthest possible Northwestern point it was the justification for calling this The Northwest Passage Road Trip.
From there, driving down through Oregon and Northern California we passed through Crater Lake and Lassen National Park. Another left brought us to Reno Nevada where we visited the outstanding Harrah Car Museum. At that point some of us would return home by whatever route we chose while others would extend the trip to visit with family or take in more of the sensational National Parks. Since we were in the Reno/Tahoe area I wanted to drive through the famous Donner Pass. As it turned out we drove through from East to West rather than the homeward direction which meant I had to turn around and go up and through again. So that particular bucket list item got checked twice.
Madeline and I then made our way home via Zion, Arches. Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks. Incredible! As we were at that point thirty days into the trip and still West of Denver, it was time for another “forced march” through the middle of the country. Altogether we were on the road thirty-seven days, covering 9,300 miles and visiting fourteen National Parks and attractions.
The 2018 Holiday Party was held 1 December, at the St Simons Island, GA, King and Prince Resort. The weather getting there and going home was great (well at least for us from Florida.) Top down both ways. The weather while we were there . . . well, not so good. It was overcast and cool (60s) and we had some showers and even a tornado warning! However, it didn’t really affect anything, so nobody really cared.
The majority of the attendees arrived on Friday. Some actually came in on Thursday and few more arrived on Saturday. Friday was spent checking into the hotel and getting situated before heading over the ‘Hospitality Suite.’ GatorMOG showed up with five Morgans in convoy. There were a few more Morgans that came individually. Other than these cars, most arrived via tin tops. There were a few that flew in.
Pat and Ken Kreuzer organized a dinner Friday night at one of the local restaurants, the Georgia Sea Grill, and it was superb! It started as a small group but grew to almost the entire MOGSouth crowd. The restaurant did an amazing job of accommodating so many.
The King and Prince gave us their Wesley Cottage for the Hospitality Suite.
The Wesley Cottage – Our Hospitality Suite (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
The Wesley Cottage was a complete out building, apart from the main hotel building. It provided us a superb spot for the hospitality room away from the rest of the hotel guests, so we could (and did) get loud without disturbing others. It was just about big enough for our gaggle and had a television, so we could all watch the conference football championship of choice (Alabama – Georgia, UCF – Memphis, Clemson – Pitt, Ohio State – Northwestern, etc.) It seemed as if everyone wanted a different game, so channel switching became the norm. I lost the bubble early on, and never really knew who was winning or who was losing or in some cases, who was even playing. Confusion seems to be the new normal for me these days. As they say, getting old is hell.
Chuck and Karen Bernath were our hosts and they did all the shopping for the Hospitality Suite. They had their big SUV and it came in very handy a good number of times. They brought up their own coolers, cork screws, and other necessary things making the Hospitality Suite operate quite smoothly. Chuck also collected money for the trolley and for the dinner.
Chuck Bernath (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
We had plenty of food and drink, and then others brought in more and more goodies, local fudge and holiday cookies and fresh zucchini bread, etc. It was a good thing none of us were on a diet! I guess it’s really futile (or stupid!) to try to diet around the holidays! I won’t do it, again. We did have to make a wine run on Saturday as folks were quite particular about the wine they wanted to drink. On Saturday it was a beer and ice run. Good thing we were close to a Liquor store and well stocked gas station!
Most of us spent Saturday morning on the trolley tour. The trolley tour was in a covered trolley and the very light rain didn’t impact our ability to see the sights, take photographs or enjoy the tour guide’s banter. The Trolley Tour company we engaged, Colonial Trolley Tours, dedicated the entire day to MOGSouth. They provided several tours at differing times, picking us up and dropping us off right at the hotel’s front door. Those that participated in the tours were quite complimentary of the entire operation. The tour guide was knowledgeable, animated and quite entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it all; however, we got so much information, it was like drinking from a fire hose, and much of what was mentioned, I have now forgotten.
Island Spirit (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
During and after the tour, there were periods of light rain, nothing too heavy. Some folks wandered about downtown Saturday afternoon, taking in the local crafts fair or other sites mentioned on the trolley tour, but I don’t think anyone really got wet. Folks found lunch on their own and made their way to the Hospitality Suite. Spending lots of time at the Hospitality Suite is getting to be the norm. This is where everyone is and everyone wants to see everyone else and chat. I guess this is what the club is all about.
More ‘Hospitality Suite’ prior to the Holiday Banquet. Then everyone left the Hospitality Suite to return to their rooms to don their Holiday finery in preparation for the banquet. We had a cash bar outside the banquet room and used this area for our silent auction. My apologies for the somewhat hectic nature of the silent auction. We had some folks mention a desire to donate some items to the club. Ok, we thought, we’ll have a silent auction for charity. It was a last minute thing and we didn’t solicit other donations but were simply overwhelmed by a huge quantity of things that were donated. Next time we will be better organized and better prepared and do this thing right (?) or at least we will be better organized. Perhaps we should make this a standard part of the Holiday Party? It is the only time we tend to travel to a MOGSouth event in a vehicle with sufficient space for added stuff.
The Holiday Banquet Room (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
The Mother Courage Award was presented during the Holiday banquet remarks. The 2018 awardee is Rich Fohl. Rich, unfortunately, wasn’t present to accept the award, however, we will get it to him in the next few weeks.
It was suggested that we survey the club on their preference for allowing previous winners of the Mother Courage award to be eligible to received it more than once. We tried a verbal vote during the dinner, but this was inconclusive. A suggestion was made to get the entire membership involved, so we decided to table this for now and include it in a more formal survey later on.
Also, it was suggested that those voting on the Mother Courage Awardee, i.e. the previous three awardees, should be allowed to rank order their votes (e.g. First choice, second choice, etc.) This would allow for a simpler selection of the awardee should the initial votes all select someone different, resulting in no obvious winner.
When the suggestion was made during the dinner, I said I didn’t think this had occurred before, but now thinking back on previous years, I seem remember that this situation did occur just once, and we simply asked for another choice from the voters which resolved that year’s voting. Ranking the choices, however, would eliminate the delays associated with a second vote, and the rankings could be used to more quickly determine an awardee. These suggestions will be included in a survey we send out later in the spring.
As has become tradition, Collette Clark provided a beautiful platter for the event hosts. And, Lee Gaskins gave us a few minutes of his experience with the fabled Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports. Then we all left the banquet room and headed back to the Hospitality Suite for more imbibement(?) and interaction with friends. A wonderful weekend and start to the Holidays. A Happy Holiday to you and yours from MOGSouth.