Dr. Ben Garrou

Ben Garrou

Long time member and one of the Piedmont & Western Railroad Club founders, Dr. Ben Garrou passed away on April 8, 2013. Ben will be sorely missed by the Club and his many friends in Valdese. Here are some thoughts about Dr. Ben from members of the Club and some of his many friends:

It is truly with great sadness that I have received the news of Ben's passing. I am quite a bit teary eyed over this news as I was so hoping for a "miracle" to pull him through. He was truly a great asset to the train club and did so much to enhance the existing display scenery and especially the effort he put into the logging camp and adjacent scenery was simply "outstanding". When help was needed he was most always there for the club.What a great loss to the club, and my and Lorraine's heartfelt sympathy go to Annette, who has endured such a long, frustrating and bitter battle. With loving and wonderful memories of "Dr.Ben"!. ---Dick Miller

Personally, I havent been a member very long... but, Ben made an impression on me with his diligance and drive to get things done at the club. I can't ever remember a time I ever saw Ben without a smile on his face and happy to see me/ others at the club. We will miss you dearly Dr. Ben, I know you are in a much better place now. But, we will still miss seeing and speaking with you, and conversate about the love we have for Trains. God Speed my friend. ---Kevin Stine

Dr. Ben Garrou was one of the most passionate, caring, and humble people that I have ever met. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to call him a friend and a role model. His dedication to our railroad club and community is unparalleled. We cannot replace him but try to learn from him and give it our all in everything we do- just as he did. May you rest in eternal comfort. Thanks for the great memories. God Bless. ---Gene Austin

Ben will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. Few persons are as kind and gentle as he was. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. We have lost a good friend. God rest his soul. ---Ken Humphreys

A True Gentleman - In a society where being loud, obnoxious, and selfish are, according to a vocal minority, traits to be desired, Dr. Ben Garrou was more than a breath of fresh air. He was quiet but traded volume of speech for quality of speech. When he spoke you listened, and your time spent listening was well rewarded. While Dr. Garrou was knowledgeable on a plethora of topics, he never talked down to anyone and you always left his presence a bit wiser and your self-worth was a bit higher having talked to him. To say he had class would be an understatement. One of the best ways to remember him would be to emulate those traits he so effortlessly embodied on a regular basis. I will miss him, yet take comfort in him being with the Father in Heaven gardening and working on that heavenly model railroad. ---Kenny Mann

I had not known Ben for very long but he always seemed to me as a kind man and a good person. ---Tony Putnam

I would like to honor Ben with a few words and observations. He was a friend, professional colleague and fellow hobbyist, and so was a constant presence in my life during the years I spent in Valdese. He was a vital force in every group and organization he was part of: a pillar of the Waldensian community and Church, a steadying influence at Valdese Hospital, a kind and devoted physician, an enthusiastic member of the P&W RR Club, and no doubt, an energetic supporter of other groups and causes that Iím not aware of. He gave generously of himself, and never wanted more than the satisfaction of knowing he had contributed his best effort. He was always cheerful and positive, and you came away from every encounter with him feeling your day had been made a little brighter.
He was more than just a charter member of the P&W, he played a major role in its creation. His interest and enthusiasm were, in large part, the impetus behind the initial series of meetings that led to establishment of the club and layout. Scenery was his specialty, and his tireless work with plaster, ground cover, trees and structures helped transform the maze of plywood, track and wire into the miniature world that has brought so much fascination and pleasure to so many. And so, Ben, although we all miss you, we are comforted and gratified to know that your presence lives on in the lives healed, the characters uplifted, and yes, in the railroad we call the Piedmont and Western. ---Paul Brezicki

I got to know Dr. Ben Garrou when I wrote my first story about the Piedmont & Western Railroad Club more than 20 years ago. At the time, I was a reporter for The News Herald and I had the fun assignment of writing a feature story about the club and its impressive layout, which was then under construction. I was instantly impressed with Ben's expertise in making scenery, whether it was building mountains or hand-crafting miniature trees. He seemed to me to be a steady influence on others who were younger and getting started with the hobby of model railroading. That includes me as well. Over the years, I would return to the Piedmont & Western and was always impressed with his handiwork. He was a great influence on me as I worked on my model railroads, both my 4-by-8 layout and now my much larger one. Last September, I visited the Piedmont & Western again for yet another feature story about the model railroad and the museum, this one for The McDowell News in Marion. I saw Ben for the last time and it was a pleasure to get reacquainted. I will miss him greatly but the work he did for the Piedmont & Western will live on for future generations. His family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. ---Mike Conley