Beloved Oregon model airplane flier Dave Shrum dies

See Newspaper obituary

Memorial service planned

Bob Lewis of the Roseburg control-line fliers reports:

Dave's family is inviting all Dave's friends and flyers to attend a memorial for him.  It will be held April 6, 2024, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the recreation hall of the Woodland Hills Senior Mobile Home Estates located at 4533 N.E. Stephens, Roseburg (across from Keller Lumber.)  The hall is down the entrance driveway, the first building on the left. There is ample parking.

The Roseburg control-line group urges everyone to attend. Dave was a great friend to all of us and to the hobby.  He is already greatly missed.

Dave Shrum

Dave Shrum of Roseburg, Ore., an accomplished builder and flier of control-line, free-flight an radio control airplanes, died Feb. 1 at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg with his wife, Peggy, two sons and a daughter present with him at his passing.

Shrum was noted not just as a modeler but as a friend to hundreds of Northwest modelers. He was a leader of the control-line flying group in Roseburg, a life member of the Eugene Prop Spinners, and a mentor to novice model airplane fliers of all types. He was instrumental in the ongoing success of the Northwest Control-Line Regionals and a hard worker at many contests and fun flies.

His involvement with Northwest model airplane competitions dates back to the 1960s when he was a member of the Willamette Modelers and was a contestant, judge and organizer of many events.

In 1996, when the Regionals appeared to have come to an end because of the loss of the Eugene Airport flying site, Shrum secured the use of the Roseburg airport and was the primary host of that major competition for the next six years.

A cabinet maker by trade, Dave was a prolific builder of beautiful model airplanes that showed his fine craftsmanship. The planes ranged from just-for-fun sport planes to highly detailed Scale, Carrier and Stunt planes. A 1940s Tethered Trainer is shown above, and his stunning Mackey Lark is seen at right.

Flying Lines has asked people who knew Dave for their remembrances, some of which are below. If you would like to add your remembrances to this article, email your thoughts to the FL editor.

Friends remember Dave

By Bob Lewis

A permanent fixture at Roseburg control-line circles, and many other circles in the past, was Dave Shrum. Most recently, he was a spry 85-year-old with white wispy hair who had that stiff old-man gait and flew with a cane in one hand and his bill cap on backwards. He loved model airplanes like no other.

His passion for the hobby went back over sixty years and spanned the Pacific Northwest from Roseburg to Eugene and Salem, Albany, Corvallis, the Portland area and a good deal of Western Washington. He was into control-line Stunt, Race, Scale and even control-line take-offs and landings from water.

In one of the earlier Roseburg Regionals meets he dammed up a semi-circle pond with a backhoe, lined it with visqueen, filled it with water and managed to attract over a dozen Regionals  entrants who actually logged flights.

Dave flew a beautiful scale Jimmy Doolittle Curtiss R3C-2 biplane Schneider Cup racer which is still out in his shed. What a flight! To have said it was “unstable” would have been a laughable understatement but, suffering from acute stress, he ran the tank dry and brought her around for a safe landing on the water. The problem seems to have had something to do with wing incidence.

Dave was also into radio control and free-flight. He was almost as well acquainted at free-flight and RC meets as he was at control line and he helped organize a couple of clubs over the years. Dave has been an organizer and leader of our little half-dozen group of control-liners here in Roseburg for over 20 years. Just as he always was everywhere he went, he was a mentor, a facilitator and an inspirational leader of the pack, dragging his brood off to every contest and meet within reach and organizing our local fun flys. Dave was totally dedicated to the Northwest Regionals meets here, Albany and Eugene.

He often stood in the center of the circle with many novice youngsters and adults for their first flights.  Dave always managed to come up with a ready-to-fly plane for the newcomer and often with a kit to build themselves. Dave was a huge kit maker. He produced many dozens of them over the years, always to give away, including an entire scout pack in Western Washington for the scoutmaster, an old flying buddy from many years previously. He said he was a little fatigued after that project and hoped never to see that little 1/2A model again!

Dave’s little workshop and storage shed was full to capacity with airplanes, engines and supplies. He kept as much balsa on hand as a decent hobby shop.  At one point he had accumulated over 100 spark-ignition model airplane engines.  Quite why wasn’t entirely clear but certainly the love of the chase on eBay had to be a big factor. Dave loved sparkies but always struggled with them to get them running reliably and that was probably also part of their appeal. The rafters in Dave’s sheds were packed with salvaged wings and fuselages. Ask Dave what the plane was he was flying today and you might hear something like a Nobler body, Super Chipmunk wing and the tail off an RC plane.

Everywhere, everywhere, we went Dave met people, many old-timers, who were past flying buddies with whom he relived old times, often swapping engines, planes and equipment with them. One not-so-old-timer who sought him out of the crowd; Dave didn’t recognize. He was a commercial airline pilot who learned his love of aviation as a kid from Dave and the model airplanes Dave tutored him with.

Finally, let’s hear it for Peggy Shrum, who amazingly put up with Dave’s model airplane obsession for her entire married life.

By Bob Stalick, editor
Willamette Modelers Club newsletter, "WMC Patter”

Many may not know this but Dave was a member of the Willamette Modelers Club when he lived in Sweet Home. He built and flew free-flight models, but his heart was in CL Stunt. When the club sponsored the Willamette Invitational control-line contests back in the 1960s, Dave was involved in the planning and operational phases of the events. He served as our Stunt judge many times and was in charge of that event for us. He was also one of the club members who helped design and build our "unique" trophy designs back in those days. We kept in touch off and on after he moved away to Roseburg, and he made it a point to contact me whenever he was up for one of our free-flight meets. Visits were always pleasant.

I offer my best wishes to Peggy during this sad time. And I'm sure the Willamette Modelers Club will honor him during our upcoming contest season.

By Gene Pape
Eugene Prop Spinners

Just a couple of random tidbits

I first met Dave when I was about 13 years old when we were both members of the Willamette Modelers Club. I lived in Corvallis and he lived in Sweet Home so I only saw him at club meetings in those days. At the time as I recall his main interest was contro-line Scale and his models then and continued to be works of art. Dave was a woodworker and provided trophies for the clubs contests, a tradition he continued for many years including trophies for other clubs contests as well.

When I began flying again in 2008 Dave had a large engine collection and we traded engines back and forth regularly although because of his generosity I always got more than I was ever able to repay. Dave and his support of control line modeling in general in this area will be hugely missed.

By Mark Crouse

I met Dave for the first time at a fun fly in Salem, about three years ago. I did'nt know anybody and didn't know much about control-line flying (still don't) so I sat and watched until everybody stopped for lunch.

I had inherited this old sparky engine from my dad and so I started introducing myself around and asking if anybody knew anything about it and was told to go talk to Dave Shrum, and was pointed to the other side of the circle and found Dave. I showed my engine to him and he recognized it right away I told him I wanted to use it on a airplane and learn to fly we talked little while and he told me to meet him in Roseburg at the next fly-in and he would be happy to help me then.

So I did a few weeks later. After Dave was done flying my wife and I followed him to his house and we met his wife. Dave showed me some of his old engines and told me about them, and then said to bring mine out to the shop. We went out there and he showed me how to adjust the timing told me about what kind and how to mix fuel for it and he tested it and said it was no good because the points were broken and he hadn't ever seen one with broken points before so I was pretty disappointed.

But he said I really needed to start with a newer engine anyway because sparkies could be quite finicky. Then he showed me some of his airplanes and made recommendations on what kind to build and what engines, lines etc. to use. I bet we talked for well over an hour, maybe two.

By this time I was tired but we went back into the house and visited with Peggy for a little while. Then Lisa and I started getting ready to go. Dave got up and said to hang on a minute. He disappeared  into the other room and came out with an engine like the one that I had gotten from my dad, a 1942 rcm2 sparkie and a Ohlsson-rice .29 sparkie, both with little tags that said "runs good."

What a kind. generous, and supportive man, I will never forget him.

By Mike Hazel

I don’t remember exactly when I first met Dave. But I know I already had some of his home-built trophies from the Willamette Modelers Club contests in the 1960s when I eventually did. Dave once told me that he had made about 1,200 trophies for that group, and I cherish the couple that I still have.

As mentioned elsewhere, Dave was a strong guiding force in the continuation of the Northwest Regionals contest back in the mid-1990s.If you have been to a Regionals, you would have seen some of his handiwork that still exists today — the large easel scoreboard units and the crowd control stanchions. Dave liked to build stuff!

Here are a couple other memories: Back in 2004, Dave went with me to a contest in Woodland, Calif. I stopped at his Roseburg home and we added his gear to my stuff. That truck was filled to the gills for the trip. He had a nice camping tent so we slept at the contest site. And he had a special camp kitchen unit which he had built, and probably designed himself. (It even had a sink!)  As already mentioned, Dave liked to build stuff. Anyway, we did some Carrier and Racing competition there. After hours we did some RC sport flying. Oh by the way, Dave tutored me in the dark art of RC flying.

When I was putting up my home in Salem for sale, we had a problem with our kitchen cabinets that had to be fixed. Dave put on his cabinetmaker's hat and rescued us, charging far less than I know his talent and time was worth. But that was Dave.

So many more memories and good times. Dave was a good modeler and a good friend to me and countless others. I always enjoyed being around him during our visits. He will be greatly missed. Farewell, my friend!

One of Dave Shrum's many beautiful stunt-type airplanes was this Jack Sheeks-designed La Donna.

Dave Shrum flies at the 2019 Zoot Ranch Fun Fly in Mehama, Ore. All photos by Flying Lines.

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This page was updated March 18, 2024