Tragedy strikes again
by Richard Lewis
Once again, tragedy struck family, friends and fellow PBCA members when death found Henry Hensel III, longtime member of the PBCA. It is doubly sad that it found Henry at the young age of 61.
Henry was an iconic member of our organization. A graphic designer by profession, Henry was warm, friendly, generous and cheerful. He contributed so much to the organization, such as offering his home for our “Saturday Night at the Movies” event, as well as opening his home almost every year to both out-of-town visitors and PBCA members during the Friday activities before our “Brits on the Bay” show. And what a treat that was, for Henry was a collector of almost everything — not only British cars, but slot machines, musical instruments, auto memorabilia, manikins, tools, the list goes on — all housed in his home and outbuildings. He welcomed everyone to view his eclectic array. Beginning when he was a child with a toy bulldozer, Henry’s collection grew to mammoth proportions over the years.
Ingrid Candelaria, long-time companion of Henry, shared this moving account of him:
“The light of this world is a bit dimmer without Henry’s brilliant wit, contagious laughter and incredible creativity. He has always been there for me, showering me with love and adoration. He was my forever and I am not quite sure what to do and how to stop crying and start breathing. He affected so many lives in such a positive way. Full of knowledge, energy, and always ready to help anyone. I am just too emotional and broken.”
Henry, you were loved and admired by so many. You will forever be missed.
June 26th marked the anniversary of PBCA and South Alabama member Richard Cunningham’s death. Richard, who appeared to be everyone’s best friend, was an active member of both clubs, serving multiple roles in the SABCC, including Show Chairman, Treasurer and President — always involved and doing more than his fair share, and selected as Outstanding Member in 2004. He was also involved in his community, active in several organizations, especially the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mobile, Inc., sitting on the Board for several years and selected as Outstanding Board member that same year.
Graduating from the University of South Alabama in psychology, during his school years he worked at Freeman Sports Cars and later became an active member of the Sports Cars Rally Association of Mobile and raced his Austin-Healey Sprite around the area. He soon became active in television, forming his CVS Teleproductions, Inc., and serving as COO and Creative Director for WALA-TV. He was also producer of America’s Junior Miss Pageant in 1998-1999.
Later, he built at his home near Daphne, Ala., his famed Garagemahal, the apex of workspaces, and soon opened his Classic Motorcar Services, Inc., working mainly on LBCs. It was during this time that he restored his ’64 Jaguar E-type over a six-year period. The car was featured in the December 2015 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine.
Richard’s wife Donna remembers him in her heartfelt words: “Richard affected so many lives throughout his life — taking care of me, his family and friends, and helping others whenever he saw a need. He had a heart of gold and was generous and giving. He had an inquisitive mind and always wanted to know how things worked. He was tenacious about learning about the things that interested him, including cars, computers and all forms of technology. He loved cars and was happy when the Garagemahal was full of friends, either working on cars or hosting an event, like the Ice Cream Social, which we held for more than ten years.
“He was a leader in a quiet way and definitely a visionary. Nothing has affected me in life like the loss of Richard, but I thank God daily that I and others were able to know him and for the faith he had.” SABCC President Michael King remembers Richard with these words:
“So Godspeed, my friend and idol. You got older but not nearly old enough. And you never stopped being cool.”
Regrets can never replace these fine men.
April 21 — The 25th Anniversary “Brits on the Bay” Welcoming Party saw a host of guests and members at a gala event rich with food and drink and comradeship. Special thanks go to Bob Manske and all who helped him make this a watershed event that fulfilled its purpose, that of welcoming warmly all who came.
April 22 — The 25th Anniversary “Brits on the Bay” Show had 143 cars present for this premier event among car shows, made even better than ever by Chair Tom Schmitz and all who served on the Show Committee. Congratulations to them all.
May 21 — Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola saw a gathering of all marques, with a scattering of LBCs adding spice to the event. Gallery Night draws a myriad of visitors downtown to enjoy good food, music and splendid cars.
May 26 — Fancy Friday on the Town saw a small but congenial crowd of eight gather at the Tu Do Vietnamese Restaurant for really splendid food. Try their “Pho,” a special soup made from almost everything. Divine.
June 6 — Breakfast at the Grand. Nothing but good food and good conversation. About 12 members gathered for this ever-popular event.
June 17 — Visit to Fred Veenshoten’s garage, to see a metal lathe in operation, Fred’s steam-driven railroad engines (all constructed by Fred, even milling most of the parts), and other wonders.
June 19 — Monthly PBCA meeting at Sonny’s on Navy Boulevard. Business, high jinks, prizes and an interesting program. Upcoming events
July 11 — Breakfast at the Grand at 10 a.m.
July 12 — Executive Board meeting at the Grand at noon. All are welcome.
July 17 — Monthly meeting at Sonny’s, 7 p.m. This one to be held at the Horizon Buffet in Gulf Breeze. Details via e-mail.
July 18 — Fancy Friday on the Town. Details via e-mail.
July 23 — The social event of the season, the Annual Pig Roast at the Schmitz residence. This is a don’t-miss event. Details via e-mail.
Until next time, drive with alertness. Our LBCs sometimes appear to be invisible.