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Old 02-29-2012, 07:46 PM   #1
racerjon1
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Default Godspeed WJM.

Yes. I know it's being talked about in the other thread, but I am not ready to bury him there any more than I am ready to bury him in real life so I am starting this one. I hope that we can all share some stories about Will so that we can laugh and cry together.


Here's mine:

=======================

I first met WJM (Will) at an Autocross.

I don’t even know which one because all of the curbs, light poles and asphalt tend to run together after a while but I do remember thinking, “hmm, another noob.”

People tend to come and go at autocross events and honestly right off he didn’t look as if he would be the type to have the patience for more than a few events at best – if his car, a beat up Subaru RX, even lasted through a few runs.

But as the events went on, there he was, still there, and something else strange was happening. He was traveling with us, going to other events. He graduated from his beat up RX to a dark blue 2.5 RS – and then promptly sold it to Steven Rankins.

It was that 2.5 RS that put Will and I together as teammates and friends. Rankins decided to campaign for a national solo season, he invited me along and Will came with us, co-driving along the way.

Will was sort of a mess at that point and we took pleasure in calling him “noob.” That RX continually broke down and I think I remember his feet sticking out from under the thing as much as I remember him standing face-to-face with me. It seemed he was always calling to tell us he had to fix the car and he was going to be late. Or he would call Steven late at night asking for help, or a ride.

His luck with that car and a play on his name earned him the nickname “Willie Makeit.” (Will he make it?)

Then something happened along the way with Will and all his work on that car. He stopped having to ask questions. We started asking him questions. Will had become the best damn Subaru mechanic I knew. Will took the NASIOC user title “Scooby Guru” to a new level.

Often if I was talking to someone about getting a part I would refer to Will and say, “If I don’t know or can’t find the part number I have a friend that can – he is kind of a savant with the Subaru catalog.”

The knowledge and passion Will had for working on Subarus was even fun to watch – whether it was an autocross or a customer, each job was done with the speed and expertise of a World Rally team under the clock in a service park.

He was a champion of a car-guy’s friend: knowledgeable about cars and fun to cut up with at dinner after an event or a day in the shop. It was even hard to be mad at him when he gave me **** for getting a speeding ticket on the way back from SCCA Solo nationals in 2005. He sat there quiet as the highway patrol officer handed over a $190 ticket, but as we pulled away he had typical grinning sarcasm to deliver.

I last saw Will a few months ago when I drove down to Jacksonville to pick up a car at the dealership where he worked and I remember standing in the parking lot sharing sarcastic tales of adventures and people. Other than that I would talk to him online – usually asking some simple Subaru question – I had become the noob.

Subarus weren’t his only passion; a few years ago he got married and had a beautiful little girl. With boundless passion he embraced being a father and “Subaru guy.”

Watching him grow from the scraggly kid at the autocross to a guy who was lucky enough to make his living doing something he loved and with passion for his family made him one of those guys I was very proud to have as a friend.

Even though we still jokingly called him by his nickname it didn’t really fit anymore.

Will had made it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
2pt5RS
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well said, Jon.

RIP, friend.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
rmarshallc
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Speechless...
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:07 PM   #4
CamaroFS34
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I first met WJM in Atlanta, at a Subaru Challenge event. I ran into him at several other at other autocrosses, talked to him a lot online and via text.

OMGHI2U!!1!

The epitome of helpfulness, Will was instrumental in getting my green Camaro running again at a 2005 SCCA SEDiv event, not just so I could compete the next day (though he tried like hell to make it so I could compete with it on Saturday), but so I could get it home. I'd had a plastic flow valve in the heater core hose assembly break on Friday's practice course (keep in mind that this is the car that, at the time, had over 350K on the odo before you crack on GM quality). The Chevy dealer in Roswell had one in stock, so I ran over to get it Saturday morning, and when I returned, found that there was a bracket bolted to the inside fender with a dome-top bolt that needed a torx bit. I tried and couldn't loosen it. Tommy Pulliam, Steve Waters, and other Camaro/GM guys came over to try. Then Will comes over with a pickle fork and the knowledge that I love my green Camaro to death.

"Is it okay if I mangle it?" he asked. "Do what you have to do to get the old one off and the new one on" I told him.

So, he used the pickle fork to break the bracket, then proceeded to install the new hose assembly and zip tie it up so it didn't get caught in anything, especially since it couldn't be attached via the bracket. I never did fix that bracket. But I did manage to run Sunday's portion of the event in my own car and drive the car home. I also won the SEDiv Championship in FS.

Thanks for the memories, WJM. I hope you've found the peace you were looking for.

Last edited by CamaroFS34; 03-01-2012 at 12:25 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:32 PM   #5
GreenMarine
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I can't remember when I met Will honestly (maybe the Subaru Challenge Autocross in Atlanta 2004). Though possibly the most memorable thing to me is how he had an old 1980-something Subaru RX Turbo that he autocrossed the piss out of... It sure was pretty comical - and damn embarrassing when he'd post a faster lap-time in that old bucket than many other drivers were managing in their WRX's!

Though we weren't close friends, I have dealt with him on both professional and recreational basis's. It sucks alot to see someone barely in the prime of his life to be removed from the world and the people that care for him.

The Subaru community morns the loss of one of it's own

RIP Will...
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:47 PM   #6
TheConekillGirl
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I have so many fond memories of Will. I can't remember where I first met him but I have great memories of us hanging out on the track. He was there with me when I first started racing and I will never forget him helping me learn the track and learn more about my car. He was always so helpful whether it was learning more about autocrossing or helping to fix a problem on my car.

I am saddened by his loss and it has reinforced my beliefs of how powerful the Subaru community can be.

I am praying for his family during this very sad time.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
Rebellion
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Wow... I hate that it takes a death to drag me back to NASIOC, but I'm pretty much floored by the news.

Will helped me out on more than one occasion with me being a wrench noob. He swapped my springs out back when he was living at Mike's here in Charlotte (much to Mike's chagrin when we went to swap the struts a few months later and WJM-HULK-MODE made those bolts a bitch to get lose).

My thoughts were w/ his family and the folks at SOJax.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:47 PM   #8
Opie
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Sad, sad day....
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
stretchedk7
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i will lose water weight for months now no doubt. This saturday we would have bs'ed and maybe had done some tuning together. My family situation was exactly the same as his for the most part and for a year we both had to deal with the same kinda stuff. Obviously that made him my right hand man.

I will certainly miss him and i morn his loss. For me, this is to close to home. I should have helped more, If there was anyone that knew how he was feeling it was me- afterall many of the things we talked about while far from being car related and certainly far from normal everyday positive talk we things we both were dealing with.

On a more positive note, if there was anything car related that i needed an opinion on or help with he was who I called for advice. I hope he has found the peace and the answer to the huge weight sitting on his/my shoulders/heart where he is now.

Fwiw there will be a few things setup as donations and such but im sure you all know about that already.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:46 PM   #10
evelfacilitator
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godspeed kind sir if anything gets setup for his family i will do everything i can to donate or help
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:48 PM   #11
HappyEeyore
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sad
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:00 PM   #12
kwh29
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Sort of sad that it takes a death of a friend to get me back to NASIOC SE.

Steven and I were still autocrossing together regularly when Will started showing up at events. I shared the same initial impression as Jon but quickly came to see how flat out determined he was at everything. He quickly became a regular and even stopped blowing out coolant hoses on the RX. We would correspond here on his quest for caster (he wanted to get 12 degrees or something insane out of the RX) and argue about how I thought he needed to get an RS. I last saw him a few years back at Steven's house, totally excited before his move to Jax. He truly was a giving individual with seemingly limitless energy and willingness to help anyone.

It's just stunning to hear of this happening. Those in the Jax area, please post around the info as you learn of memorials/donations.

--Kevin H.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:26 PM   #13
DrBiggly
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Like many folks, I don't remember when I first met Will, but I certainly remember his hair. He never seemed to mind being called Screech very much; it wasn't as if his hairstyle was by accident so he just grinned and bore wisecracks.

Like Jon, one day I realized that I was calling him for all manner of Subaru advice. After a while I told him that I didn't expect anyone to do work for free, so I would Paypal him money now and then for answering my phone calls and questions. This soon grew into a habit wherein he answered the phone as 'Subaru Tech Support'

I remember the wagon, I remember the RX, I remember the RS, and I remember his green Legacy wagon that was as fast as a stock RS. For more events than I could possibly count he was there, and almost always with a modified and non-traditional Subaru.

I have created a photo album on Google+ for some of the photos that I have of him that I dug up today after hearing the news and if anyone wants to add to it, they are more than welcome to send them to me to add.

Will photos

RIP friend.

-Biggly
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:24 AM   #14
2pt5RS
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He lived with me in my house three separate times. He was like a brother to me and definitely was a great friend.

The first time I met Will was in 04 at the Atlanta Subaru Challenge. He asked if anyone could put him up for the night of the challenge as he didn't want to drive back to NC after a long day of killing cones. Needless to say, after he blew a headgasket in his car (at the same time setting FTD at the autocross), he ended up spending 3+ months living on my couch. I welcomed him into my home as if I'd known him for years, even though I'd never met him.

That's what this community was at the time. It was a small family. Everyone looked out for one another. There was no hesitation when someone needed a place to crash, or needed help diagnosing an issue.

RIP, Will. You're gone far before your time, and you will truly be missed.

-Matt
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:52 AM   #15
gotsol
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So many great memories of a fine young man. he was there as a strong part of the Subie community and a good friend. Will, I miss you buddy
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:27 AM   #16
swede978
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We have lost a family member. Will you will be truly missed. RIP
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:26 AM   #17
Pacobeagle
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WOW, just WOW!!!! I can't even believe it. Really embodied what the Subaru community is all about, helping anytime and asking nothing in return.

He will truly be missed. My condolences to his family.

DaBeagle
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:22 AM   #18
stretchedk7
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^^ its awesome that all of us are here supporting the cause. We all morn his loss no doubt. Maybe today I will go see his tool box....dont know if I want to yet.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:40 AM   #19
Scooby South
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Where...to start...Sigh...Will and I go back....He was at Prestige...scrawney Suburu nut...infatuated with Subaru's...Always having a idea on getting something to work...he was a great friend....He moved around from different dealers...Ga, NC, Fl...he even worked at the Dealer in my Hometown in NC, Collins Chevy/Subaru in Mt Airy...He traveled some of the same roads I grew up on...I knew where his house was without consulting a map...Autocross, Country living, common friends and the same passion is what Will and I had in common...I helped him get the job at SOJAX when it became available. He helped me on the Speedwagon on nearly every aspect, mechanically and drive ability of it..he was also infatuated with F-14 fighters....which I controlled as a Air Intercept Controller while I was in the Navy... He kept a running total of Hours on his computer to see what the next level of awesomeness that could be achieved...He was a great friend...one of the Best horse traders I had ever known...a inspirational Subaru Tech with the world at his feet...I am sooo sorry Will that you couldn't come to me and share the most intimate details of your life without feeling Violated..I am sure, there is more than one person here that would have dropped everything to help..me included... Godspeed my freind...and as Ben Said, "God must have needed the best Subaru Tech because they DO have Subaru's in Heaven"..

Bill
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:06 AM   #20
silver arrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby South View Post
Where...to start...Sigh...Will and I go back....He was at Prestige...scrawney Suburu nut...infatuated with Subaru's...Always having a idea on getting something to work...he was a great friend....He moved around from different dealers...Ga, NC, Fl...he even worked at the Dealer in my Hometown in NC, Collins Chevy/Subaru in Mt Airy...He traveled some of the same roads I grew up on...I knew where his house was without consulting a map...Autocross, Country living, common friends and the same passion is what Will and I had in common...I helped him get the job at SOJAX when it became available. He helped me on the Speedwagon on nearly every aspect, mechanically and drive ability of it..he was also infatuated with F-14 fighters....which I controlled as a Air Intercept Controller while I was in the Navy... He kept a running total of Hours on his computer to see what the next level of awesomeness that could be achieved...He was a great friend...one of the Best horse traders I had ever known...a inspirational Subaru Tech with the world at his feet...I am sooo sorry Will that you couldn't come to me and share the most intimate details of your life without feeling Violated..I am sure, there is more than one person here that would have dropped everything to help..me included... Godspeed my freind...and as Ben Said, "God must have needed the best Subaru Tech because they DO have Subaru's in Heaven"..

Bill
That's what gets me. I would have dropped everything and been their without question and done or given him anything I could, that's how much respect I had for Will, and that's what he's always done for others. I wish he could have accepted a fraction of the help that he so freely gave to others. i still can't believe he's gone.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:30 AM   #21
oldskoolWRX
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I met Will in class in atlanta for subaru training. he drove his 87 rx, which immediately made me happy, as mine had just blown up and gotten sold. we were the only two in class that actually knew about the old stuff, the "new fangled" turbo cars, and the "regular cars". got to hang out with him at a few events. hung out when he came up to collins, tried to get him in at johnson. had him come up to help flash an uncorrupted file into a swap we were doing, all he wanted was tripps for dinner. i loved that will was one of the few guys i as a subaru dealer tech AND enthusiast mod guy could relate to. i am very sad to hear he passed, even more so because of details. its scares me that he could fix anything on a subaru, was willing to help anyone else, but that he could not take help with problems in his own life. i feel like i never got nearly enough time to hang out with him, even before this. but now it brings it home. he was a great person, and i know he is in a better place, but ours is worse for not having him.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:58 AM   #22
billzebub
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I met him either in Rankin's garage or at one of my semi-annual autocrosses (no tire money). He has a fun guy and I once saw him change out a set of coil springs in under an hour. His love of beater scoobys was unparralleled. I recall one time him showing me some jerry-rigged MAF setup stuffed with drinking straws (improved airflow?). It's been some time since I've seen or heard from him as we both moved to different places, but I remember him fondly.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:43 PM   #23
cucamelsmd15
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I rarely venture into SE anymore. I was shocked and dismayed to happen upon the news this morning.

Godspeed Will.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:00 PM   #24
5lipstream
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Didn't know him. But sounds like a cool dude. Prayers for his family.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #25
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definitely a sad day in the community.
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