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News about Des Plaines Hobbies - one of the best train shops in the midwest

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  • Member since
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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News about Des Plaines Hobbies - one of the best train shops in the midwest
Posted by dknelson on Sunday, October 13, 2019 5:25 PM

I just happened today to come across this sad news from last week.

Dave Nelson



Owner Of Des Plaines Hobbies

Dies Unexpectedly


Des Plaines shop owner and model railroad hobbyist Ron Sebastian, 72, died at his Arlington Heights home Wednesday morning (Oct. 2).


Ron Sebastian and his wife Susan owned the old-fashioned hobby shop Des Plaines Hobbies, 1524 Lee St., since 1983. He also worked at Sebastian Realty, the Chicago Northwestern Railroad as a brakeman and the National Transportation Safety Board as an accident investigator, his obituary said. He served in the Army as a Dustoff pilot during the Vietnam War and was a former helicopter flight instructor at Glenview Naval Air Base.


“He was the greatest boss I ever had,” store employee Bill Pistello told the Journal on Thursday. “It was a shocker, so everything at this time is up in the air.”


Condolences flooded the store’s Facebook post about his death, in which his daughter Kathleen called him a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Many shared memories about their business and friendship with Sebastian and his impact on the model train hobby.


Bill Uffelman of Delaware, a long-time customer of Ron’s, told the Journal on Friday he met Ron in the ‘80s when in Chicagoland for work, and that his move to Naperville in 1985 allowed him to visit Ron and the store all the time. Uffelman eventually moved from Illinois, but visited Ron once in a while when he visited his daughter in Chicago.


“I could always count on Ron when I needed something special and we always had a good conversation whether it was model trains or life in general,” Uffelman said.


Sebastian, born Jan. 20, 1947 in Chicago, spent a lot of time with his family and enjoyed travelling domestically and abroad, his obituary said. He is survived by his wife Susan, daughters Christine and Kathleen, six grandchildren and three siblings. He was preceded in death by his parents.


Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at Glueckert Funeral Home, 1520 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights. The funeral service is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the funeral home. Sebastian will be interred at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.


  • Member since
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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:03 PM

My thoughts and prayers to the family.  I've bought lots of stuff from them when they were a regular at TrainFest.

They always had a good selection of NOS Kato locos for $60.


  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, October 13, 2019 9:23 PM

Sad news indeed.  My condolences to his family and friends.

I was at the store only once, a deliberately selected destination after driving there from southern Ontario, as it was the only source, of which I was aware, for Viking roofs.... 

I also enjoyed browsing the shelves, but was there mainly for the roofs.


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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, October 14, 2019 11:47 AM

 My nephew Matt is married to the Gentleman's daughter, Kathleen. I have never met the man, but heard  lots about him. I believe they both worked at the shop,and is how they met.

 Matt, BTW is the owner of Fox Valley Models, so I can't help but wonder if he and his wife may take over the store.

  • Member since
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  • From: Southeast Texas
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Posted by mobilman44 on Monday, October 14, 2019 1:59 PM

Sorry to hear this.   I've been to the store(s) many times since he opened his first one in 1983.  I have family in DesPlaines and a stop at their store was a must every time I visited up there.

I know for sure he changed locations 3 times, maybe 4, and each store was better than the previous one.  

I do hope the store continues on, for it is one of the last "real" hobby shops left.





Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, October 14, 2019 4:29 PM

This is sad news.


I truly enjoyed my only visit to Des Plaines Hobbies almost a year ago.





Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
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  • From: Chicago, IL
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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 9:55 AM

Sorry to hear this.  I only stopped in occasionally as they tended not to have much of the used stuff I was looking for, but the staff was friendly and the store well kept. 

Condolences to the family. 

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad for Chicago Trainspotting and Budget Model Railroading. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Berwyn, PA
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Posted by Trainman440 on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 10:17 PM

I visited that shop for the first time last weekend. 

So sorry to hear this, may he rest in peace. 



Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

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