Soot in the flues

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It is with a sad heart we edit this magazine, but I feel for sure Elmer would want us to keep going just as usual and especially to get the magazine out on time, so here we all are going through the motions to keep the presses rolling and turning out the Iron-Men Album.

I've had so many, many thoughts these last few days since Elmer died mostly real nice ones except for the sad moments you know they say you can never mix business and friendship but we did. The times we were 'at odds' with each other could be counted on one hand and in a period of over thirteen years I'd say that is a pretty good relationship. Come this September 16, I'll have been with the Iron-Men Album fourteen years.

Was shopping today and saw some spring onions and if you knew Elmer you know he loved onions he used to eat them every day and especially those spring onions. I think there will be many reminders for all of us and this is good to be able to have nice memories. If we could only all leave part of what he has left to the world would be a wonderful thing. I'm glad I had the privilege of knowing him.

A viewing was held Friday evening in Lemoyne and then on Saturday a viewing was held at the Church Funeral Service it was the nicest memorial services I have ever attended. Burial was in Riverview Cemetery, Millerstown.

Elmer was 82 and died in the Blue Ridge Haven West Nursing Home. He was a retired minister of the United Methodist Church with 42 years' service. He had been a pastor in Westport, Muncy Valley, Salona, Lamar, Munson, Robertsdale-Woodvale, Clearfield, Williamsport, Millerstown, and retired from Enola United Methodist Church after nine years of ministering there.

He was a member of Moshannon Lodge 391, F & AM, Williamsport Consistory, Harrisburg Forest 431, Tall Cedars of Lebanon and was founder and publisher of Iron-Men Album and Gas Engine Magazine.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Earlene Ritzman; three daughters, Mrs. David Gilson of Seville, Ohio, Mrs. John Barger of Linden and Miss Marsha Nelson, at home; a son, William C. Ritzman of Millerstown, a sister, Miss Jessie Ritzman of Port Royal; two brothers, J. Lloyd and W. Book Ritzman, both of Port Royal; eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

And so we must keep on living and doing our jobs in this world, so on we will go with our usual letters. This one is from KENNETH J. ONDRACEK, 2016 South Seventh Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68108 who states: 'For sometime I have been a subscriber to your magazine. A friend told me about your publication as I was interested in all phases of steam machinery. I thought perhaps I could learn about the operations of a steam engine, thus enabling me to know what to look for when I try to purchase one.

'As I have not been able to comprehend the technical remarks and such, pertaining to the steam engines would it be possible one of your readers would help me to understand the steam locomotive or steam engine so I can purchase one as soon as possible and operate same?

'Why not carry a short article explaining the simple functions of a steam engine so persons like myself can get to understand and then be able to buy a steam engine while not being competent enough but not get hooked in the process.

'Your magazine is fine however, it is often times difficult for persons such as myself to understand completely. With gratitude for your assistance, I remain

Please help Kenneth with his requests for that is the purpose of the Album too.

WILLIAM E. HOPKINS, Westminster, Maryland writes: 'The election of 1971 officers for the Maryland Steam Historical Society, Upperco, was held at Armacost Farm Machinery Dealership, Fowblesburg on January 19.

The following officers were elected by the club: Gilbert Wisner, President; William E. Hopkins, 1st Vice-President; Murtice Masmer, 2nd Vice-president; Margaret Markel, Secretary; Clark Ensor, Jr., Treasurer. The newly elected directors are: Walter Armacost, Paul Skipper, Robert Gearheart, Truman Stem and Thomas Wickline. They will serve for three years. The officers serve for one year only.'

I must close now except to tell you a little more of Elmer he had been fitted only the Saturday before his death with a new blue suit in preparation for the wedding of his daughter Marsha who will be married in June. And when he tried on his new suit he said, 'And do I get a red tie to wear with this suit?' Elmer's favorite color was red and he had his red tie I thought you'd like to know. When you walked into the funeral home the RED was very evident in the floral tributes many people knew his favorite hue and had requested it.

Another thing I like to think of is that a few years ago while Elmer was touring the country and attending the Reunions, he had a man, I believe he told me he was an Indian, make him a silver ring which I've always admired and pondered over for he had the man engrave on the ring 'This too will pass.' I've thought about that many times, in many ways. Think about it! It was his motto.

And if this column is smudged with tears please forgive we loved him too!