William M. Moedinger 21 July 1913 – 24 April 2010
Bill Moedinger liked trains: little trains, big trains, trolleys – anything that ran on rails. He took photographs of trains from the time he was old enough to hold a camera. Bill passed away on Saturday night in his 97th year leaving a photographic and life legacy interwoven with railroading.
Bill worked for his dad in the tombstone business until 1943 when he got a job as a Pullman conductor. Being compelled to serve his country and being physically unacceptable to the military or the railroads, he applied with the Pullman Company because their physical requirements deemed it only necessary to survive the interview in order to get a job. Thus began a twelve-year career that he rated as the best job in the world. Following a short stint at the John F. Weaver Insurance Company, Bill and his wife, Marian each purchased a share of Strasburg Rail Road stock and joined a merry band of rail enthusiasts spearheaded by Henry K. Long and Donald E. L. Hallock. The rest, as they say, is history and Bill was enthusiastically involved with the Strasburg Rail Road to the end. He served as the first marketing director for about a decade, was one of the first engineers on the Plymouth and steam, and then became president for seventeen years until his retirement in 1975. Bill and Marian opened the first tourist gift shop in the county at the Rail Road in 1961. Bill also authored "The Road to Paradise," a snapshot pictorial history of the Strasburg Rail Road through many editions. After retirement he could be seen almost daily along the line taking pictures and videos until about ten years ago when Alzheimer's disease began to take its toll. Bill was the last survivor of the 1958 Strasburg Rail Road founders.
Throughout the years Bill stayed connected with trains as a hobby. He was a ghost writer as well as an author for Al Kalmbach's "Trains" magazine in the early 1940's. He was featured in "Railroad" magazine in their "Interesting Railfan" series. He wrote a series in "Trains" in the early 1970's about his experiences as a Pullman Conductor as well as an article on the Colorado narrow gage railroads. His photographs are noted for their composition, and he developed and printed his own work. He shot movies since the 1930's, mostly of trains but he has a few gems of the national parks, building the Golden Gate Bridge, and the construction of Hoover Dam. Until the late 1980's, Bill could regularly be found taking photos and videos of preserved Colorado railroads.
Considered a bit of an enigma by many, Bill was a private person who was uncomfortable in the spotlight. He was very generous, and he had vision and the ability to make that vision a reality. Who got the credit was less important than getting the job done.
Bill married Marian Weaver in 1950 and had one son, Linn. Marian died in 1992 and Bill married Margaret Van Natta in 1993. Margaret died in 2008. Bill is survived by his son Linn, daughter-in-law Susan, and two grandchildren, Marilyn and Ben. Private services and interment at the convenience of his family. Bachman Funeral Home, Strasburg, PA.
Marian Rebecca Weaver Moedinger
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