'I lost him too early' Remembering COVID victim Neil Besougloff, retired editor of Model Railroader magazine
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As of December 1st, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed 3,313 people in Wisconsin. They not statistics. They are partners, parents, children and friends. They all have a story, including that of longtime editor of Model Railroader magazine, Neil Besougloff.
"Anytime we would go to train shows, anytime we would go to conventions people would come up to us and say oh my gosh, I just love your videos." David Popp, former managing editor and now executive producer with Kalmbach Media said. "Neil was very, very good on camera, he was very easy going. That made a huge connection between him and the model railroading community."
Neil Besougloff spent a decade as editor at Model Railroader magazine, bringing his love of modeling and design to model train fans around the world from his homebase in Waukesha. Before Model Railroader, he worked for Classic Toy Train magazine, both published by Kalmbach Media.
He retired to Mexico with his wife, Susy, in 2017. In July, he caught COVID-19.
His son, Hunter, said he battled for about a month, eventually needing to be hospitalized.
"They had him in the ICU for maybe a week or two, he showed signs of improvement." Hunter said. "Then the next think I knew, I woke up to a call from my stepmom. Saying he had a heart attack and passed away. One day he was doing good, the next, he was gone."
Besougloff died of complications related to COVID on July 26th. He was 61.
"I feel like I lost him too early. I’m not married. I don’t have kids. He’s gonna never have that feeling of being a grandfather." said Hunter, 27. "The problem is, is I still think about him every day. There’s so many times where I’ll see something and I’ll want to tell him. That’s always what I did. I can’t because he’s gone."
Neil loved model trains, he loved racing slot cars and loved his Model A. His readers loved his passion.
"When we ran his obituary, I couldn’t believe the outpouring of sympathy and stories people had about meeting Neil or having talked to him on the phone before. He was just a really nice guy." said Popp.
Neil leaves behind his wife, his two children and five step-children.
His son Hunter is a Marine Corps veteran and remembered a trip his dad took with him near the end of his deployment in 2015.
"My dad met us at Pearl Harbor and got on ship with us." said Hunter. "Sailed with us for the last 10 days of deployment. I remember him saying that was one of his favorite things he’s ever done.
"He talked about that for weeks, about being on the ship, what it was like and seeing everything his son did." Popp remembered. "I had never seen a prouder father than Neil at that moment."
In retirement, Neil bought an Xbox to connect with Hunter. The would race each other playing Forza online and just talk and race.
"If I have kids, I would just tell them that my dad was the type of dad that anyone would want to have." Hunter said. "He was as supportive as any father could be."