John Oldenkamp (1931-2014)
John Oldenkamp was born in 1931, was an Honors graduate, DePauw University, and had military service, USN 1950-54.
A South Park/Golden Hill resident since 1969. John and life partner Carin Howard live in a craftsman home in South Park. Now retired his background includes working for General Dynamics Astronautics as an offsite and corporate photographer and as a self-employed editorial and advertising photographer in San Diego from 1965 until 1995. When retired he traveled extensively both domestic and foreign.
Notes About John O.
By Kathleen McLaughlin
In the early 1990’s, I took several photography classes at City College and Grossmont College. John was a great mentor. His experience and guidance led to my ability to successfully become publisher and editor of the equestrian periodical, Driving West Magazine.
John’s mentorship has also led to my artistic photography being exhibited in art galleries across the country. Thank you, John O.
John has been widely recognized with regional and national awards most notably for work with Psychology Today Magazine. John was also elected to the National Free Flight Society Hall of Fame in 1998 for excellence in aero modeling design and editorial work. John was instrumental in the birth, specification, promotion, and support of the P-30 free flight model airplane class as we know it today. Additionally he was a driving force in the development the E36 free flight class. He served as President and Newsletter Editor for the San Diego Orbiteer Free Flight Club.
Deeply involved in community work, some of the organizations he has worked with other than SOHO include 14 years as a Board member and 4 years as president of the San Diego Art Director’s Club, which later became the SD Communicating Arts Group.
John’s preservation efforts include an important assemblage of his architectural photography work done in the 1960’s and 70s in San Diego of the works of architects Lloyd Ruocco, Paul McKim, Homer Delawie, Deems, Lewis, and Schell and Geritz. John, also, renovated one of the Schindler Pueblo units in La Jolla.
Clarence Mather (1922 - 2014)
Clarence Mather, born in 1922, grew up in Lemont, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.
Starting as a youngster building his own planes from orang-crate wood and whatever tools were available. For 10¢ and an oatmeal box top, Clarence purchased a Vought Corsair kit through an advertisement in a magazine. He learned about fragile balsa wood, tissue and complicated plans. Completing the model, he began buying more 10¢ kits.
Clarence enlisted in the Army Air Corps about the same time the US entered WWII. Trained as an aviation mechanic, he was assigned to pilot training and eventually became a flight instructor. Clarence managed a little bit of model building at each place he was stationed. After his military service, he entered college and continued to build models.
Clarence is in the AMA Hall of Fame.
(information edited from the AMA History interview 2004)
Notes About Clarence Mather
By Harry Steinmetz
I first met Clarence in late summer 1964. We met at the Clairemont dump flying site. We were both assigned to start teaching at Madison High in September. We chatted, flew, and I mentioned that I was doing some major rebuilding on my house. As the wind came up we went our separate ways. About 1:30 there was a knock on my door; there stood Clarence with a hammer in his hand offering to help. He had built several houses in the Midwest and his experience was a great benefit.
By Kathleen McLaughlin
In 1979, I got my pilot’s license (1:1 scale). At one of the events at Mile Square, Clarence asked me to be a judge for the scale models. At that time, the planes had to ROG and were judged on the realism of the takeoff and approach to the landing. He said I had all the experience needed, since I flew the "real" stuff. The responsibility made me nervous, but I was thrilled.
In the early 1980’s, I was taking classes at Mesa College to enhance my career at SDG&E. I was walking by a classroom and heard a familiar voice. It was Clarence. He was teaching a physics class. As I walked by, I peeked in the door, caught his eye, waved and began to hurry on to my class. Clarence rushed out of the classroom, invited me in and introduced me to the class bragging about my model building skills and my pilot’s license. I was flattered and embarrassed, but mostly flattered.
by Howard Haupt
I first met Clarence when he introduced himself as my senior year physics class teacher. Early in the first semester of this class, he brought in an indoor model airplane to demonstrate to the class. This indoor model was a F1D and made quite the impression floating over the heads of the students in attendance.
This introduction to indoor flying was followed a few days later by a school announcement that a model airplane club was forming with Clarence as the faculty support member. I talked my slot car racing buddies to come to the initial meeting of the model club at school. What followed was the patient guidance of Clarence building EZB models. Of my buddies who started their EZB’s, only Neil finished his alongside mine for initial flights in the Madison High School gym. My high time was almost four minutes in that first flying session. All the materials to get to that point of flying, had been supplied by Clarence. This was so typical of Clarence to help people along the path that he shared with them.
So, the spark had been struck, the pilot light was now burning, and I was blazing a trail of indoor flying with the expert guidance of Clarence. The progression of indoor projects started with several EZB’s leading to Scale, Paper Stick, and F1D. Travel to fly all these indoor creations included ride sharing with Clarence. Often Fudo and Cezar were also sharing the ride to the days flying site. Lots of time to discuss building techniques, new materials, and the problems of the world in general. Some memorable flying was done at the new C-5A hanger at Edwards Air Force Base, and the Blimp hanger at Tustin.
The interests of Clarence extended beyond that of teaching and model airplanes. Did you know that he commuted daily to Madison High School by bicycle? Or, that he was, what I would label, an ‘expert’ fisherman? He had a high prow dory style fishing boat for ocean fishing. He enjoyed his annual trip to New Mexico to fish the San Juan River. Did you know that he played guitar, and met with like minded individuals once a week to play and perfect the craft? When it came to donuts, there was not one he did not like. Did you know that he built his canyon hugging house on Ecochee Avenue, and lived there for 16 years before moving to Bishop? He sold that same house to me, when he moved.
I keep coming back to the memory of my classroom days with Clarence. He was again, what I would label as, an ‘expert’ teacher both in the classroom and in life. With a smile I remember something he had the uncanny ability to do in the classroom. As a teenager one’s attention could wander. Clarence had the ability to sense when one of his students was slipping into one of life’s day dreams, and would ask a question. Since he had waited for the full song of the day dream to take hold, you, as a student, were left struggling to know what the question had been, and would need to sheepishly ask for the question to be repeated. Looking back, those moments were priceless.
So long, and enjoy your OOS flight!