July 3, 2024

Remembering Lloyd Flem - Updated July 7

All Aboard Washington regrets to announce that AAWA's former executive director, Lloyd Flem, passed the evening of July 2. His family asks for no calls.

The funeral service is set for 10 am on July 15 at Funeral Alternatives of Washington, 455 North Street Southeast, Tumwater, WA 98501.

In honor of Lloyd, please make a generous donation to All Aboard Washington online or by check at https://aawa.us/donate/

Tributes to Lloyd Flem

If you would like to add your own tribute, feel free to contact us.

Mark Adamcik

I served with Lloyd on the Board of the Rail Passengers Association (NARP) back in the early 1990's.

Amtrak Cascades

Such sad news for the rail community. Lloyd’s leadership and passion will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

AORTA - Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates

Lloyd also helped represent AORTA - Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates in the Oregon Legislature. He will be missed …

Andrew K Barkis

I’m very sad to hear the news of Lloyd’s passing! What a great man! I enjoyed working with him over the years. A tireless advocate for passenger rail and a wealth of knowledge. He will be missed!!!!

Carl Fowler

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of former Washington Association of Rail Passengers (now All Aboard Washington) Executive Director Lloyd Flem.

I had the privilege of first meting Lloyd shortly after I moved to Olympia/Lacey in 1981 and thereafter of course through WashARP, All Aboard Washington and the NARP/RPA. On a personal note I must acknowledge how his kind compassion and shared grief helped me to absorb the shock of the death in the Dupont tragedy of my best friend Jim Hamre. Lloyd was fighting his own grief, but had time as always for someone else too!

Lloyd was not only a tireless and remarkably successful advocate for the maintenance and expansion of passenger rail, but also a smart and generous friend. For decades after I moved east in 1987 we stayed in touch frequently by email, telephone and from time to time in person too. I will never forget his good counsel, and his wonderful ability to see the possibilities for good outcomes even in opponents.

He was always willing to reach out, talk and more often than not to convince former opponents to become supportive friends. And we mustn't forget that for many years he did all this work for passenger rail while also building the farmers markets network in Washington state.

His passing is a profound loss, but also we will never forget what gifts he gave us. His leadership took Washington state from a everything always for cars place to a true national leader in rail and multi-modal public transportation.

All Aboard to paradise, and well earned, dear friend.

Gifts can be sent in Lloyd's memory to assist All Aboard Washington in continuing his work. Other tributes are posted there as well.

The link to give is at https://aawa.us/donate/
The tributes are at https://aawa.us/news/posts/remembering-lloyd-flem/

Larry Ganders

Sad passing of Lloyd Flem, a founding director of the Olympia-Lacey Amtrak Depot Committee in 1992 that led to our 31-year-old volunteer station. Lloyd went on to be executive director of All Aboard Washington, a statewide rail passenger advocacy group.

Sylvia Getzendanner

Thank you for honoring my dad. ❤️ He loved his years with AAW!

Tim Gillespie

Sorry to hear about Lloyd, he was a great guy!

Barry Green

Lloyd did a lot to promote expanded and improved passenger rail service in the PNW.  He also made several trips to Washington, DC meeting with Congressional Offices to advocate for improved long distance passenger rail service.  A helpful item that he did for me was to prep me for my first radio interview with a radio station out of Billings, MT talking about the need for passenger rail in this country.  Ever since that time, I’ve always remembered how to prepare for these types of interviews whether they be radio, TV, or print publications.  His work will be missed.  I realize not everyone may know who Lloyd Flem was but suffice it to say that for those of us who knew him, he’ll always be remembered.

Erik Griswold

Thank you for sharing this sad news. AAWA and before that WashARP owe so much of its existence to Lloyd H Flem.

Praise and Push.

Loren Herrigstad

As someone who met him soon after he arrived at WashARP, now All Aboard Washington, and worked closely with him for decades as both a colleague and close friend, I don't quite know where to begin or go with regards to Lloyd.

I was expecting to have another phone chat with him this month, and expected to see him and introduce him to my wife, Monet, in person before too long, as we have both talked with him by phone several times since I have been in the Philippines.

Now, instead, he will just have to look down and see us . . . until we join him ourselves when it is our time.

Lloyd and I have gone so many places, met so many politicians and others, and done so much over the years and decades. I can only pray all of it has made a difference for rail, and for the people of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest that he wanted to see and worked so hard for, for so long.

Having fully expected to talk with and see him again, it will take me a while to process his passing.

Live well, Lloyd, on the Other Side . . . and maybe take up the violin, as you've repeatedly told me you wanted to in another life. Now would seem like a good opportunity to take up both new things and interests postponed.

Take care, my friend, and thank you.

Loren Herrigstad
former board member and past president

Photoguy Jason

I remember when I interviewed Lloyd for a KELA Evergreen Journal years ago in studio and got to spend a bit mote time with him on Operation Lifesaver trains here in Centralia.

Dan McFarling

Lloyd Flem also worked with AORTA - Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates - including in our State Capitol, to guide state transportation policy. His active leadership and engagement throughout the region will be missed.

Luis Moscoso

It is with deep regret and sadness that I announce the passing of Lloyd Flem, Executive Director Emeritus of All Aboard Washington.

He was my friend and mentor these past 11 years. Lloyd’s longtime influence in Olympia has been key to giving AAWA, the only nonprofit representatives of intercity rail passengers in Washington State, a voice in the discussion of our state’s rail planning process.

Chuck Mott

December 14, 2019

Today I celebrate Lloyd Flem’s 35 years of faithful, tireless and exemplary service, as Executive Director, ALL ABOARD WASHINGTON. It was my privilege, as President, to hire Lloyd Flem, with then the Washington Association of Railroad Passengers (WashARP), in Board Member Tom Martin’s home, December, 1985. I doubt there is anyone here today, other than perhaps Rocky Shay, and of course, Lloyd, who were at that board meeting, to witness one of the best decisions our fledgling passenger rail advocacy organization made, in those halcyon days; which was to hire Lloyd as our full time Executive Director. No other state rail passenger advocacy organizations had an executive director. But to expand state transportation interests to include passenger trains services, we needed a gavel-to-gavel, presence in Olympia, because this was where the power and money resided.

Lloyd was the man! He had the credentials having served as Executive Director, Washington State Farmers Market Association. He lived in Olympia and we could afford him – which wasn’t a whole lot of money at that time. In those early years, he supplemented his income working at his one acre organic vegetable garden, supplying local restaurants with garden fresh vegetables in the morning and putting on a suit and working the legislative halls in the afternoon, advocating state supported rail passenger train services. His first job was to get the State and Amtrak to return passenger train service, between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to serve the 1986 World’s Fair. We didn’t get our Vancouver, B.C. train, but Lloyd had already drawn favorable attention to our organization and mission, which was to bring more passenger trains to Washington State. It would be a steep grade ahead but he had already established a rail passenger advocacy presence in Olympia!

So what were some other reasons why we needed Lloyd in Olympia? Before I answer this important question, let me briefly digress. It was nearly fifty years ago Congress passed legislation, creating Amtrak, a new government corporation, tasked to remove the nation’s freight railroads from their public need and necessity obligations, operating their dwindling number of money losing intercity passenger trains. However, the folks in the Nixon Administration, and most legislators, saw Amtrak as the designated undertaker, tasked to mercifully handle the demise and burial of the remaining passenger trains, leaving only fading memories of a bygone golden era.

But the American passenger trains refused to die! Amtrak began refurbishing badly worn passenger train rolling stock, inherited from the freight railroads, and putting them back into service. As a result, more people began riding passenger trains again. Following the 1973 fuel shortage crisis, Congress decided maybe we needed passenger trains after all. So beginning in the mid- 1970’s and into the early 1980’s, they funded the purchase of new passenger train equipment. Ridership rose and new intercity passenger train routes were added. Some of the states, such as California, Illinois and some Eastern States, were now looking into setting up state supported regional passenger train services, to supplement Amtrak’s scanty intercity passenger train network. But Washington State was then not one of them. Our then Washington State Highway Department had only one employee doing railroad work. He was Jim Jackson, whose half time job was to keep track of all rail line track abandonments occurring in Washington State, resulting from the passage of the 1980 Staggers Act, which deregulated the railroads and allowed them to abandoned unwanted tracks.

Lloyd’s mission was clear. The “state highway only” culture in Olympia needed to change, but it wouldn’t be easy. There was a legislative proposal to consider running a passenger train to Vancouver, B.C, but the proposal was derisively considered during a Transportation Committee hearing. Fortunately, a couple or three courageous legislators hung in there and were able to get a study approved and funded. The conclusion was that trains were nice, but not many people would ride them and, besides, they would be too costly. However, “More studies would be useful”.

The strategy for success was simple and straightforward. It was to be bi-partisan, work equally well with both sides of the aisle and recognize the importance of a “Praise and Push” agenda, a phrase Lloyd himself coined, that describes his success in working with elected legislators and transportation decision makers. He worked tirelessly in support of legislation to support the creation of the Rail Development Commission. When it was determined the Commission would address regional, transit and freight railroads, but not intercity passenger trains, thanks to then revered Seattle Council President and WashARP member George Benson, Lloyd and I were asked to give a “short course” to the RDC on intercity passenger trains. We did so and intercity passenger rail was added to the work plan.

The old State Highway Department became the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). A Rail Division was established and it was blessed with a very capable, competent and dedicated management team that included Jim Slakey, Jim Toohey, Ken Uznaski, Ray Allred, Jeff Schulz and others. Lloyd met regularly with these men and other members of WSDOT, and key rail passenger proponent legislators in the early years, such as Senator Jeanette Wood, Representative George Walk and the late rail transit and leading legislative passenger rail advocate, Representative Ruth Fisher. Lloyd and I will never forget our journey over the “Bridge,” between the WSDOT Building and the House Office Building, to meet with Representative Ruth Fisher, to discuss our concerns the WSDOT’s rail passenger program was not on track! The chain smoking, fiery Representative listened to us for about 30 seconds and then said she had heard enough! She slapped her hands hard on her desk and said she would take our concerns from there. And indeed she did! Right after we left she had a meeting with WSDOT officials that very afternoon! We know because we heard about it the very next day, when Lloyd was greeted by some very red faced folks! But good changes came quickly. Gil Mallory was brought in to spearhead the fledgling, developing state rail office. His contributions to the state rail passenger program and later, Amtrak, are now legendary!

Lloyd was a key person in the development of the Olympia/Lacey Centennial Station. He served as the Amtrak Depot Committee’s secretary and liaison with WSDOT, Amtrak and BNSF Railway. This extraordinary privately funded grass roots passenger train station building project, under the leadership of the late Maurice “Buck” Harmon, along with strong commitments from WashARP members George Barner and Rich DeGarmo, all made it happen. In 1993, Lloyd’s efforts resulted in a very special, quite unique and happy reward! Immediately prior to the opening of the Olympia/Lacey Centennial Station, the temporary wooden boards covering the windows were removed, the station’s night lighting was turned on for the first time and the doors were opened, also for first time use, to host Lloyd and Darleen Flem’s wedding! Following their nuptial ceremony, with loud cheers, exclaimed well wishes and vigorous hand clapping coming from happy wedding guests, including yours truly, Lloyd and Darleen boarded an Amtrak train at the station to go on their honeymoon.

Perhaps the crowning achievement of Lloyd’s long, industrious and eventful career was his important role in bringing modern passenger trains to the Amtrak Cascades Rail Passenger Train Corridor. Thanks to the efforts of the late Hal Cooper, Jr., PhD; who was able to convince ABB, a Swiss-Swedish manufacturer of high-end, high-tech tilting X-2000 passenger trains, to bring their train, then touring in America, out to Washington State. I personally hosted ABB Traction Inc’s, Joe Sillien, VP Business Development, to meet with state legislators and WSDOT officials and talk to them about the advantages operating this mechanically tilting passenger train on the curvy tracks in the Pacific Northwest. On very short notice, Lloyd was able to persuade the chairpersons of both the Senate and House Transportation Committees, then currently meeting in session, to show a 20 minute video of the X-2000 train operating in Sweden and invite Mr. Sillien to explain the many features and merits this train could bring to Washington intercity passenger service. Subsequently, the State Legislature approved legislation, authorizing the WSDOT to issue a request for a quotation, for the purchase of a new titling passenger trainset. Both ABB and Talgo, Inc. bid on the trains, with Talgo getting the winning bid. That was the beginning of Washington State’s participation, along with the State of Oregon, in the development of the very successful Amtrak Cascade Corridor, now providing multiple daily passenger train services between Vancouver, B.C. and Eugene, OR and serving Seattle and Portland in between. Subsequently, Lloyd worked with Bob Bregent, manager of the Centennial Station Project, and Secretary of State, Ralph Munro, to help bring the Spanish built Talgo to Washington State. Mr. Munro was also instrumental in inviting, then Spanish Crown Prince Philip VI, now the King of Spain, to Washington State, to thank state officials, and also Lloyd and myself, for buying the Spanish-built train and bringing it here.

In conclusion, I suppose a book could be written describing Lloyd Flem’s unfailing, loyal and exemplary efforts devoted to the Washington Association of Railroad Passengers, now All Aboard Washington’s mission, which was successfully supporting, growing and thriving rail passenger train services in Washington. Lloyd would very modestly credit so much of his success to many other people who helped contributed to his efforts. But in reality, he was the one who inspired, pushed and directed the efforts to get things done! Some of those people included his wonderful and very supportive wife, Darleen, the late Jim Hamre and Zack Willhoite (who were both killed in that horrible December 18, 2017 DuPont passenger train accident), Loren Herrigstad, Bob Lawrence, Bruce Agnew and myself – as his boss and colleague for 23 years. Other people, who helped in Lloyd’s success, in addition to people already reference herein, include the late Hans Mueller, State Senators Pat Patterson, Mary Margaret Haugen and Dan Swecker. Also, the late Representative, Al Swift, former Leavenworth Mayor Rob Eaton, who is now with Amtrak, Mark Foutch, Olympia Mayor and former WSDOT Secretaries Sid Morrison and Paula Hammond. Other folks, who Lloyd worked closely with, include railroad painting illustrator, J. Craig Thorpe, and Tony Trifiletti, Past President AAWA, BNSF, rail labor, Amtrak, WSDOT and Talgo.

Now nearing retirement, Lloyd Flem works with AAWA President, Harvey Bowen; John Carlin, Treasurer; Rocky Shay, Secretary; Robert Lawrence, Membership; Patrick Carnahan, Newsletter Editor, Charles Hamilton, Communications Director, and Warren Yee, E–Newsletter. Lloyd will pass his mantle on to Government Affairs Director, Luis Moscoso. We wish Luis great success as he now carries on the work into the future, that Lloyd so ably accomplished in the past!

Lloyd’s achievements have been widely recognized over many years with receipt of numerous awards and accolades from numerous public, civic and private organizations and corporations. Among them was the national Rail Passenger Association’s prestigious John R. Martin Award, personally awarded to Lloyd in Washington, D.C. May 1, 2007, in national recognition for his stellar work in promoting passenger train travel. BNSF Railway’s, D. J. Mitchell, VP Passenger Rail Operations, has stated Lloyd’s work, in cooperation with his company operations in Washington State, is the best in the country!

It has been my great pleasure, special privilege and distinct honor to work with Lloyd Flem, as All Aboard Washington’s President and Chairman, December, 1985 to November, 2008 and to be a close personal friend, as well. I propose a toast to Lloyd Flem and his wonderful wife, Darleen, for their many happy, healthful and fulfilling years as they move toward well-deserved retirement. Bon Voyage!

Chuck Mott
Past President/Chairman, All Aboard Washington
Past Director, Rail Passengers Association.
President, All Aboard Arizona

Chuck Mott

July 6, 2024

It was one of my deepest privileges during my twenty five years as President/Chairman of the Washington Association of Railroad Passengers, now All Aboard Washington, to hire Lloyd Flem as our first Executive Director, in 1985, and worked with Lloyd from that time forward, until I resigned as Chairman of All Aboard Washington, September 2008.

I worked with Lloyd as we built up our fledgling organization in membership, promoted passenger train services in Washington State and  liaised with  Washington State Legislators, WSDOT Officials and rail passenger advocates across the country. 

During this time, we became very good friends. He was very trustworthy, impeccably loyal, extremely hardworking and highly dedicated to promoting passenger train rail services locally, regionally and nationally.  But more than any other person, he was perhaps one of the most most key persons getting Washington State into intercity passenger rail services!

I appreciate All Aboard Officers setting up a link for all the many fiends of Lloyd Flem to express their condolences, provide fond expressions and offer loving memories of a truly remarkable man, Lloyd Flem. This tribute to them says much more than I need to state here now. 

Thank you, All Aboard Washington, for including my tribute to Lloyd Flem and his dear wife, Darleen, at his retirement ceremony December 14, 2019.  This tribute says much more about this wonderful man than I can add now.       

I will very much miss this wonderful man, his affable manners, his unwavering enthusiasm and genuine friendliness to everyone who had the pleasure to know him

Jon Owen Nuxoll

“Praise and push” was Lloyd’s mantra in rail advocacy. That’s equally good advice for any kind of advocacy and just simple human relations. Lloyd’s mantra often inspires me in other circumstances. He was upbeat but also frank, realistic and still optimistic when there were setbacks. Lloyd remained always on the lookout for ways to educate decision-makers. And his faith in rail advocacy was such that he believed it was simply a matter of educating, not arm-twisting nor horse-trading. Hearing reports from or reading columns by Lloyd were always high points for me in contacts with him through All Aboard Washington and AORTA - Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates. Jon Nuxoll, AORTA President.

Brendan Read

Please pass on my condolences to Lloyd's family and loved ones on behalf of myself and Transport Action Canada. It was an honor to have known and worked with Lloyd for over the decades on both sides of the border. That we are able to cross the border on a train and travel through the U.S is a testament to his efforts, leadership, and yes persistence and determination in his cool, calm, affable demeanor.

Stephen Spear

I remember Hans Mueller contacting Lloyd Flem when WasARP was being reorganized to fight Amtrak cuts back in the 1980s. I was the WashARP newsletter editor back in those days. Lloyd will be greatly missed by so many of us. 

J. Craig Thorpe

I was saddened to get the call from Darleen that Lloyd passed away a few days ago. As Chuck and others have so well said, it was a pleasure to count Lloyd as a colleague and friend. I well remember meeting him at an Andy’s Diner meeting and being impressed with his ready command of the multiple issues facing rail development in Washington. Lloyd helped build a bridge for me to meet the folks at ABB Traction which in turn opened the doors to my career. His interest, vision and sensitivity was foundational for me. But we all recognize the role of Lloyd’s giftedness to the rail programs of Washington state and beyond. He in turn helped countless people bring their gifts to the greater good. Lloyd will be greatly missed.

Kathleen Wallace

Lloyd, charming man, loved so much he did to advocate for rail travel.