Hermann Roessel was one of the original members of the organization, not a founding member, but original and he was original in many ways. He was stoic, opinionated, bull headed, argumentative, inventive, and open to helping whomever that needed it. He enjoyed conversing with others and passing on his knowledge of subjects that interweaved with model railroading. He was not a railfan, unless it was European, although he would be intent if you were relaying a non-European story, his focus was modeling. Scale had no boundary, he covered the gamut, all scales, all eras, he even got involved with live steam engines.
His approach to a problem was pondering, his knowledge and experience allowed him to be creative as he pondered. So, he pondered and then he pondered some more and usually his solution was to invent something, it could be logical, it could be illogical and off the wall, but for the better part his approach worked. His experience (a machinist by trade) in engineering, both mechanical and electrical provided him the knowledge necessary in building and repairing model trains. His work for the museum was tireless and even more tireless was his attentiveness for those who came through the door with childhood relics in need of repair. All were accepted without hesitation.
His desire to pass on that knowledge is reflected in the many ideas that he made a reality. He felt it necessary to teach the younger members the basics of model railroading and it has and does show in their activities around the museum.
He was born in Nuremberg, Germany, a “War Baby”, not a “Baby Boomer”, unfortunately for him, he was on the wrong end of the war in Europe. After the war he immigrated to America and then when he became of age, he became part of the army that years earlier his country was fighting.
The repair room, or office if you will, is named “Hermann’s Werkstadt” in honor of his ethos and heritage. It is where he spent the majority of his time helping others and it shall remain as such in his memory. Anyone who utilizes the area will have his influence overseeing their efforts. His presence within the museum will never be filled, as I said he was an original, the mold was broken. There is no replacing the man, nor the knowledge, nor the experience he shared, nor the spirit. He is missed by all who have met him and by those who will not have the opportunity to meet him.