Morris Soto; Al Brizard; Pat Kelly; Bryan Nemy; Brian McCarthy; Roger Tingstrom; Pete Fairwell; Larry Rodriguez; John Kelly
April 3, 1940 – April 29, 2016
Long time grid worker Morris Soto, passed away in April.
Morris was born in Oakland, CA to parents John Morris Soto and Edith Jane Soto (both deceased). He was also pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Irene. Morris is survived by a half-sister, Kathy Soto Cadenhead of Vancouver, WA, a half-brother Richard Keene of Arlington, TX, and his best friend, James T. Griffith of Redwood City, CA. Morris worked for many years for PG&E and was very active in the Sports Car Club of America. At his request, Morris’ ashes were scattered at sea. Dear Skip, we miss you!
Retired Steward, Al “Buster” Brizard passed away in mid-December after a short illness.
There will be a memorial service to honor Al at “The Little House” on January 13, 2016 from 11 am-1 pm. Al’s son will provide lunch/light refreshments. Al’s sons will say a few words about their Dad and then open the floor for anyone else that would like to speak.
People who wish to make donations may do so in his name to the Southside Community Center (link here http://southsidecommunityconnections.org/donate/). This is the senior center in Groveland where he served on the Board and was instrumental in starting the ball rolling for an assisted living facility here in Groveland. The physical address of the center (where the Memorial will be held) is:
11699 Merrell Road @ Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321
Donations can be mailed to their mailing address or brought to the service at: PO Box 63, Groveland, CA 95321
Pat Kelly, known for her decades of contributions to SCCA, particularly in the form of tabloid newspapers showcasing their road race and autocross subjects as rock stars, died early Friday morning, October 14th,in Kaiser Hospital of Walnut Creek. Her family sang her lullabies as she drifted into outer space. The cause was severe complications of emphysema. She was 83.
Together with husband John, Mrs. Kelly spearheaded the merging of SCCA with what was then local niche autocross clubs within the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The mission was to develop the San Francisco Region’s fledgling autocross program.
The result of this merger in 1969 was the formation of one of the most competitive regions in the history of SCCA National Solo II competition. Since that first national in 1973, no other region in the country has produced as many national champions.
“I knew how competitive our area was,” she would later reflect. “I just wanted everyone to see just how good they really were.”
San Francisco Region membership exploded in the 1970s, coinciding with the pair taking on the publication of the region’s The Wheel. In this new endeavor, they transformed what had been up until then a monthly newsletter into an award winning tabloid, reaching subscribers worldwide.
What began as a kitchen table operation in the evening hours became a full time family operation, with Editor John recruiting the talents of professional journalists and photographers, all willing to contribute their work without pay.
Mrs. Kelly was also a four-time Solo II National Champion (1975, ’77, ’81, and 82) in her Lotus 7A.
A complete story appears in the December issue of The Wheel.
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Bryan Nemy. The SFR SCCA has lost another wonderful autocross father. He was doing something he loved, out riding his bicycle on Thursday, October 13 when he collapsed. By the time emergency services arrived he had already passed.
Bryan Nemy Eulogy
By Rob Boynton, friend and fellow racer with Bryan.
I heard Bryan before we met. I’d entered my Porsche at a SFR SCCA event and as I prepared to run, I heard Bryan’s voice over the loud speaker system announcing times. It was apparent he was the man in charge that morning as the sound of engines prepared for their first run. He was organized, passionate about racing and devoted to the success of SFR. His love of the sport was energizing and we became fast friends.
Bryan had a number of passions but what I most enjoyed about Bryan was his love of community, whether it be his family or his racing community, his partner Gretchen of ten years, his biking adventures, sailing, and working on his race car.
We quickly became buds, and traveled to auto crosses all up and down the west coast. To Nationals, Topeka, Kansas and Lincoln Nebraska in which Bryan was my co-driver (and the “story of the battery.”)
Bryan was very dedicated to the SCCA: He joined in 1987 and served as: Solo’s licensed safety steward and instructor for many years, NorPac Divisional Solo Steward, Solo Chief from 2002-2005, SFR Board of Directors 2005-2008, Solo Events Board 2009-2012, Sponsored Sandi Brown for Solo Cup Award 2009, Solo Tour Events Chair 2014, In 2011 he Received SFR’s highest award, the “Premier Award of Merit”, and 2013 “Special Recognition by Region Board” for working to secure Crows Landing as an autocross site.
The autocross racing world is truly saddened at the sudden loss of our friend Bryan. He will be sorely missed by the SOLO Community, his friends @ SCCA and A.A.S. (American Autox Series)
A complete story appears in the December 2016 issue of The Wheel.
Brian McCarthy, the Area 9 National Director, passed away suddenly from cancer on September 25. Brian was an avid Formula Vee racer, and was always the champion of the budget racer. Brian was 72.
Brian was a strong supporter of the club and served as the Area Nine National Director for two terms. If he had an opinion he certainly would voice it, but at the same time he would listen to what the opposition had to say.
Brian is probably most famous for his two heart attacks. Both happened while Brian was behind the wheel of his racecar. The first one ended with an off in turn seven at Thunderhill. The second ended when he self-reported to pit lane at the Road America medical station. After receiving a new stint Brian drove home by himself from Wisconsin.
Brian did not want a service. His sister is going to spread half his ashes on top of a hill in Oregon where he always wanted to build a house and his friend Rob Shaw is going to spread the other half at Turn five at Laguna Seca. Brian introduced Rob and his wife to each other at that turn.
The Formula Vee community will have a gathering in the paddock at the October 21 finale, where everyone in attendance will have one final rum and coke in Brian’s honor. Good bye good friend, your memory will last forever.
Dec 17, 1945~Feb 13,2016
Husband and wonderful friend Pete Fairwell died suddenly on February 13, 2016. He touched many lives with his sense of humor and love of life.
Pete was raised in Oakland, CA and graduated from Skyline High School where he played football and earned his degree in Business from San Francisco State. After serving in the U.S. Army, Pete enjoyed a 35 year career in accounting.
Pete is survived by his loving wife Janet, together 36 years. He was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Jane Fairwell.
A big part of his life was being a member of the Sports Car Club of America for 28 years. His love of cars started when he was a child and his encyclopedic knowledge of cars and drivers is legendary. He never missed a NASCAR, Formula One or Indy car race on TV.
Pete has loved weightlifting since he was 16 and still used some of his barbells from over 50 years ago. Upon retirement he volunteered for Meals On Wheels with his wife for the last 8 years. He loved to travel and to hike in nature especially annually at the Grand Canyon. Pete was an avid Oakland Raiders fan since he ushered at Frank Youell Field in high school.
He loved playing racquetball weekly. He also enjoyed diving on the North Coast and the Caribbean. His favorite trip was diving on the shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon.
He loved his wife and many wonderful life long friends dearly. We are thankful for the joy he brought to our lives. He will be greatly missed.
Roger passed away on May 20, 2016 surrounded by family. He fought a courageous battle, but it was time to go home.
Roger will be forever remembered for his quick wit, infectious laugh and his smiling face. He was an avid race fan and a SCCA member for over 30 years. He most recently served as Paddock Marshall for road racing events.
He was the son of the late Clarence Elmer Tingstrom and the late Velma Alberta Hook, and predeceased by his sister, Marlene McVey.
He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife of 34 years, Karen, his cherished daughters Wendy Smith (Mark) of Pacifica, CA, and Diane Purcell (David) of Louisa, VA, his beloved grandchildren Shelby Smith, Nicolas Smith, Katelyn Purcell and Jack Purcell, and his best friend and soul brother, Lynn Whiting (Linda) of Ocean Springs, MS.
March 14, 1925 – March 11, 2016
Laurence “Larry” Rodriguez passed away on March 11, 2016 after a battle with end stage congestive heart failure. Larry Rodriguez was the owner of Rodriguez Racing Equipment and serviced the SCCA for decades.
A loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He is survived by his wife Terry, his daughter Laurie and his grandchildren: Marissa, Brandon, Lauren and his great granddaughter Emerson.
Larry made many, many friends throughout his life. He raised pigeons, rabbits, chickens, roosters and even horses. He played the cello and base and loved to fish. He proudly served in WWII in the Army directly under General Patton.
During his career he was a cabinet maker by trade, but went to the race track at San Jose Speedway with a friend one night and was hooked from there. Shortly thereafter, he began driving hard top race cars and later super modifieds from the mid 1950’s to early 1970’s, finishing 2nd in California and 3rd in the Nation in 1959. He then went on to own his own speed shop, “Rodriguez Racing Equipment” starting in the 1970’s until present day.
He was a pioneer in the idea of bringing a parts and service truck to the race track and was among the first to mass produce air foils, now referred to as wings on cars. He was also a championship race car owner for several years.
Everyone who met Larry would tell you that he was a hard worker, innovative, a great friend, had amazing stories to tell and genuinely cared about people. He made everyone feel loved and special. Especially, his greatest love his wife Terry. They were married in 1949 and have celebrated 66 wonderful years together.
John Kelly, of Pleasanton, California passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, April 2, 2016. He was 80 years old.
John F. Kelly Jr. was a local boy, born in Oakland, CA, June 5, 1935 of parents Eva and John F. Kelly Sr. His second car was a 1955 Austin Healy LeMans, brand new, that he kept for almost the rest of his life. That car transported him through his Army years to Virginia and home again. In fact, one of the officers during his tenure in Virgina was offended that Kelly had a better car than the lieutenant’s MGA.
The car brought him back home to Oakland where he proceeded on a college career, starting at Berkeley and finally graduating from Cal State at Hayward, before it went up the hill.
After graduation, he landed a job with Autoweek (also known as Competition Press) when it was located near Lafayette. Shortly after that, he landed a job with C&H Sugar, producing the company’s magazine, The Cubelet Press. It was during this portion of his life that he met and married Pat Gibson and started his family of two daughters Katie and Maggy.
He competed with the Healey until he drove Pat’s Lotus 7A. He had installed a “locker” rearend in the Healey which made it unpredictable in handling, causing massive spin outs. Pat introduced John to the 7A, and, sadly the Healey was parked for the rest of its life, until finally sold in the winter of 2016.
Not only was John a competitor, but an organizer, first with the Highland Touring Club, then with SCCA, hooked in by the dreams of a possible National Championship, ultimately winning three in D Prepared: 1980, 1981, and 1982.
He fired up a Regional autocross championship series that is still running today, starting out at Golden Gate Fields, the Oakland Coliseum, Marina, and finally Crows Landing in the Central Valley.
Meanwhile, he was handed the production of San Francisco Region’s monthly newspaper, The Wheel and when politics raised its ugly head, started first North American Pylon, about nationwide autocrossing, and then MotoRacing, about racing in the San Francisco area.
There is an end to everything, and the first sign it was coming was when the printing press went out of business, and the second sign was the dropping of paid subscribers, not enough income to pay the printers because of the growth of the web communication links.
John F. Kelly Jr. died April 2 at Kaiser in Redwood City, having achieved far more than he realized.
by Pat Kelly
John was a member of the SCCA since 1969, and with his wife Pat, was a founder of the San Francisco Region Solo program in the 1970’s. that spawned many National Champions as well as arguably one of the largest and most successful Solo programs in the country. John and Pat were recognized by the Region in 2006 when they were inducted into the SFR Hall of Fame at its inception.
A three-time National Champion in D Prepared (1980, ’81, and ’82), Kelly also served on the Solo Events Board. His largest contribution to the sport may have been through his autocross publication, North American Pylon, and wider ranging racing paper, MotoRacing. Prior to that, Kelly published the San Francisco Region’s monthly magazine, The Wheel.
Plans had already been underway to recognize the Kelly’s contributions during the Tire Rack Match Tour event at Crow’s Landing on April 23. Bryan Nemy explains the Kelly Cup: “[This is] a new award that will be handed out at the National Convention for achievement by a region in their Solo program. A great tribute to both John and Pat for all that they have given to Solo.”