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My memories of the Doc are vivid. In those days we would hold our meeting squeezed into the front room of the hangar. Clare’s contributions to the meetings often caused a quiet to settle in the room as he complained vociferously berating all present and members would take up quietly looking at their feet in embarrassment. He had a way of stopping any other discussion. I recall that when he left sky soaring we changed the numbers on the locks for the hangar and the tool room because he felt the club owed him something. Shortly after we settled the law suit the Doc took on the radio station WFMT suing them because he felt their radio signal had degraded. Sky Soaring now exists because of a group of members – some of them still around – would not accept losing the airport to the Doc.
Perhaps some of the members of that era recall the party we threw after settling with the Doc and the spud gun. Is it still hanging on the wall?
Steve Wasilowski forwarded the obit, below. The old-timers will remember Clare Close. He was one of the original investors in Sky Soaring back in the early 80’s.
What most of you don’t know, or perhaps have forgotten, is that Clare sued the Club and the LLC in 1990’s because he felt his investment wasn’t providing the returns he wanted and the Club was being mis-managed and funds improperly allocated between the Club and the LLC. We literally spent tens of thousands of dollars and about 6 years defending the Club and the LLC from his frivolous lawsuit. The irony of the whole thing is that Clare was the Treasurer of the Club and LLC (and LP, before it) at the time and it was his handling of the books that made such a forensic mess of things. His defense, when this was pointed out to him, was that the rest of the Board should have stopped him!
Long story short, the courts dissociated the plaintiff group (Clare and lot of his doctor friends who he talked into investing and a few SSI members) from both the Club and LLC, and we bought out their shares at around $1,000 each, which is what we offered to do in the first place (Clare wanted $5,000/share).
In any case, the final footnote to a dark chapter in the history of Sky Soaring.
John F. Phelan
Clarence Crosby Close
1926 – 2019