“EASTBOUND OUT OF TECUMSEH”
1967 brought the last steam train through Tecumseh, leaving behind a myriad of memories for past generations.
Brian Leslie, the bearded fellow shown in the white shirt, was the man who commissioned artist Ronald Suchiu to capture “The End of an Era” on canvas. Mr. Leslie said “There is something very fascinating about trains and railroads. I lived for 14 years besides two different rail lines. I came to life every time I heard a train and would often take the children to our crossing so that I would have an excuse to wave at the engineer.”
Brian had the privilege to work on the restoration of the Tecumseh train station currently on the property of South Western Ontario Heritage Village. The station was saved from destruction and moved in 1976.
Standing over Brian Leslie is the distinguished Albert “Mac” Graham. “Mac” passed away December 18, 1989, but his memory as the Tecumseh Station Master of 28 years remains lively. It’s amazing how well artist Ronald Suchiu caught the familiar expression of this well-lived man. It is proven many times over as people continue to recognize this jolly man’s face and relay a past story or two about him.
Anxiously awaiting the passing of the steam train is the artist’s wife (Colleen) and their daughter (Britton). Mr. Suchiu chose their figures not only for their innocent love of these magnificent creature-like machines, (his wife has waved at the trainmen since she was a child and sees no reason why age should ever change that) but also because his daughter is witnessing yet another “end of an era” as the caboose is quickly being fazed out.
Rolly and Marguerite Gouin, the prominent Tecumseh couple strolling toward the station platform, were dedicated in the painting through Mr. Leslie’s request, not only because they are relatives, but as a token of memory to the late Marguerite Gouin who passed away May 4, 1990, Many sights and sounds of this episode are long gone, but through Ronald Suchiu’s magical ability, evident through each stroke of his paintbrush, this stage in time will not be forgotten.
NOTE: This print is in the collections of:
President Nelson Mandela
The Town of Tsumeb, Namibia
The Olmstead Family