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Remembering Don Chew, ATHS Legend, and Friend to Countless "Truck Guys"

Posted By chtrout 3 Years Ago
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Remembering Don Chew, ATHS Legend, and Friend to Countless "Truck...

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Junkmandan
Posted 3 Years Ago
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Craig-----Thanks for your picture bio showing the real Don Chew !
thundersnow70
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How sad to hear that the vintage truck world has lost such a guy! I never met Don but had the pleasure of talking to him a few times on the phone. My interest were in the Marmon Herrington field and his level of knowledge was amazing. The MH world is fairly small but EVERYONE seems to have heard of Don. There is no doubt Don was the guy....the guru. Thanks for posting the kind words Craig, I will pass his passing along to the Marmon Herrington family.

GOD speed Don Chew!
chtrout
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Remembering Don Chew -- "His Interests" in "Your Interests"

Don Chew was many things to many people, but he will perhaps be remembered most for "his intense interest" in whatever "Your Interest" might have been. When I started to collect my initial thoughts on his recent passing, I totally failed to capture this "one very central element" of Don's personality and his devotion to all things "Trucks!"

If you wanted to walk up and start talking about restoring a COE Marmon, a Fruenhauf Trailer, an FWD, a Federal, or virtually any other truck (or bus) you could possibly name, Don was "Your Man." And accordingly, most of his friends knew him primarily within the limited framework of their own truck interests, often being totally unaware of his vast range of other interests, historical knowledge, and mechanical expertise.

And this wide range of interests was also captured in his numerous museum-quality restorations, ranging from a 1918 WW-I-era FWD, to a 1937 Marmon-Herrington Ammo Carrier, and I don't even know how many Coleman Trucks ranging from the 1920s into the 1940s.  On occasion, his partial-restorations were even a bit whimsical, such as his 1919 Oldsmobile truck, that rather than fully restoring, he retro-equipped to simulate "a farmer simply going to marker." In some cases, he even put his restorations back to work, such as his uber-rare 1949 Coleman G-55, which after he retired, Don used to "push snow" on contract for Stapleton Airport during the early 1970s in Denver.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/3ebf64b0-3ad0-4a86-959a-20f3.jpg
Albeit now a bit dusty, Don's museum-quality restoration of a WW-I-era FWD was typical
of his truly remarkable master-restoration skills.  Source:  Craig H. Trout Photo


http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/3210669e-da7c-4c06-b545-22e3.jpg
At times, Don's restorations bordered on the "whimsical," witness his 1919 Oldsmobile
truck he retro-equipped to simulate "a farmer simply going to market."  Source: 2007
ATHS National Truck Show, Colorado Springs, CO.

 
http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/6705a473-b113-4045-a22c-d463.jpg
Among Don's favorite restorations was his 1937 Marmon-Herrington 4x4 Ammo Carrier.  
Here we see it all loaded up on his cross-country rig, all fitted up for attending Truck Shows!  
Source: Photographer unknown, Don Chew Collection


http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/9a6e82a8-a2d6-4801-8c19-5ba1.jpg
Here we see Don's uber-rare 1949 Coleman G-55 which he restored in the 1970s, then actually
used it to "push snow'' on contract for (then) Stapleton Airport in Denver.  One of the aspects that
makes this truck so interesting is its Coleman fabricated cab, hung with Ford doors, as we see in this view.
Don eventually sold his 1949 Coleman G-55 to the I-80 Truck Stop in Iowa, where it remains to this day in their very
large truck collection.  Source:  Don Chew Photo

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/9eb07ec6-5ff9-484c-b4ad-896d.jpg
Don Chew with his partially-restored 1928 3-ton Coleman #5234, which served for many years hauling 
ore for the Eagle Picher Mines near Ruby, Arizona.  Don had planned to restore it as a simulated Pennzoil
oil delivery truck, hence the tank added in back. It had originally been fitted with dump bed and single-axle
ore trailer. Source: Craig H. Trout photo.  


http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/4dab8fde-5399-493f-b393-b4b6.jpg
No visit to Don Chew's "truck farm" (yes, pun intended) was ever complete without also going out to greet
the other "loves of his life," his horses.   Few of his friends knew that he was also a Re-Enactor with the
First Colorado Cavalry,  Source: Craig H. Trout photo.
 


To me, I thought of Don as the ultimate "Coleman Guy," but then I also saw him totally light up when he would very happily visit with Ruthie Fruenhauf about Fruenhauf trailers, or see his unbridled enthusiasm when he was suddenly surrounded by Federal or Marmon-Herrington buffs...

I felt like I finally "understood" this friend I knew as Don Chew. "His Interests were Your Interests," and what a truly great way to be remembered.  

Hopefully, on this "second try," I did a little better job of capturing this friend we all simply knew as "Don Chew." 

Thank You, Don.   Godspeed...


Craig H. Trout
ATHS Life Member

Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast

Jeff Lakaszcyck
Posted 3 Years Ago
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Craig, thanks for the well done obituary to your friend. I will always regret that I was not able to get to know Don better. My condolences to you and Don's family and friends.


Jeff
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Imet Don through Richard Ausmus.  Richard and I found Don his Marmon cab-over, and I found the Marmon Harinton Ford fire truch.  Don't know if he has either of them.  Don had a pile of foam coolers that I bought off him, and drove up from Colorado Springs to load up my Federal.  I got out his farm gate by an inch or so.  Good fun to be around Don.   May he rest in peace.
Brocky
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Thank you for the excellent obituary.. Out condolences go out to the Chew family.

Brocky
chtrout
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Remembering Don Chew, ATHS Legend, and Friend to Countless "Truck Guys"

It is with a deep sense of sadness and loss that we remember Donald Norman Chew, who passed away Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017, at the age of 81. Don had been born 18 Sep 1935, and had led a truly extraordinary life, first in the aviation maintenance world, and then ultimately as an avid truck collector, restoration guru, researcher, historian, author, and mentor on all things "Trucks!"

Don was a long-time board member of the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS), and also was the author of many fine articles in Wheels of Time, Antique Power, Vintage Trucks, This Old Truck, and similar publications. All who knew Don considered him to be a virtual "walking encyclopedia" of early truck history, and while his vast collection varied over the years, he usually averaged somewhere around (45) very historic trucks either inside, or surrounding his workshops, on his rolling rural acreage near Brighton, Colorado.

A man of many interests, he was also an avid horseman, and even a "re-enactor" with the historic First Colorado Cavalry.

On a personal level, Don was my mentor on all matters involving Coleman Trucks, my late father having worked for American Coleman for 30 years.  Don and I shared many, many hours of truly enjoyable, yet intense research on "All Things Coleman."


http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/658414ac-2137-4eb2-889b-288a.jpg
Don Chew and me at the 2016 ATHS National Truck Show in York, PA


Don will be truly missed by all who marveled at his endless knowledge, and truly valued his friendship.

Godspeed, Don Chew...  Well Done.

Craig H. Trout
ATHS Life Member

Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast



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