Obituary: Loren Hufstetler, engineer, businessman and philanthropist


Dr Loren Robert Hufstetler, engineer, businessman and philanthropist. Born: March 17 1933 in Utah, USA. Died: October 9 2020 in Edinburgh, aged 87

Loren Hufstetler on his Penny Farthing
Loren Hufstetler on his Penny Farthing

Philanthropist, engineer, adventurer – Loren Hufstetler by no means missed a possibility in life, nonetheless difficult.

He got here from intrepid inventory: his forebears left Germany to work on the railroad the place the Golden Spike was pushed in 1869, finishing America’s first transcontinental railway. His grandmother crossed the prairies in a coated wagon, aged six.

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And his father, Claude, ran away from residence at 16 to combat the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa.

So it was solely pure that he had an affinity with the Nice Outside, one thing he was capable of take full benefit of as a boy, first in Utah, then in Los Angeles in Southern California, the place he spent a lot of his life on a bicycle. Later he would favour a Penny Farthing and obtain the Freedom of the Metropolis of London for companies to biking and sport.

After graduating from highschool he studied mechanical engineering at LA Metropolis School and joined the plane producer McDonnell Douglas in Lengthy Seaside, working within the hydraulic and pumps division on the DC vary of planes.

He rapidly realised the company life was not for him however it might take a while earlier than he may escape to a special atmosphere.

All the time within the theatre, he studied at night time lessons at California State College for a masters in theatre arts, earlier than going to the College of Southern California to do a PhD, writing his thesis on hydraulic stage gear.

Simply two weeks into his thesis he excused himself and took half within the BAJA race, an exhilarating Mexican off-road motorsport contest, in a dune buggy that he had constructed with a buddy.

It appeared that journey was in his blood – he additionally cycled throughout the Mojave desert from LA to Salt Lake Metropolis and climbed Mount Whitney thrice.

Married with two youngsters, he caught it out at McDonnell Douglas till the Seventies. However a visit to the Edinburgh Competition as a stage supervisor modified the course of his life. He determined to settle within the Scottish capital and returned for good in 1978.

He married his second spouse, Julie, and collectively they constructed a property enterprise earlier than creating Elder Properties.

As soon as established within the UK he took up Penny Farthing biking after shopping for a motorcycle at an public sale within the Eighties.

He cycled on the machine from Land’s Finish to John O’Groats and to each annual meet of the Worldwide Veteran Cycle Affiliation, together with from Paris to Prague and from Edinburgh to Haarlem, Holland. He did the identical annually on the London the Brighton run – till they acquired a 1904 cadillac. A mannequin T Ford was additionally shipped from Southern California.

And whereas the couple had been having fun with their life collectively in Edinburgh, they had been additionally aware of the struggling of kids in Romanian orphanages, a scandal that had come to gentle within the Nineteen Nineties following the autumn of the Ceausescu regime.

They adopted three youngsters and arrange the Edinburgh Romanian Belief which helps with the training impoverished children in rural Romania. In addition they fostered two different youngsters, including to their very own blended household.

For Hufstetler, the philosophy was easy: to make a distinction; to offer with out anticipating something in return.

And he was all the time a person with a plan, a mission on the go, and an infectious enthusiasm that acquired issues achieved. He was additionally single-minded, decided and with a zest for all times that noticed him benefit from each alternative, journey extensively every time he may and contact the lives of many.

His adventurous spirit was celebrated at a socially distanced drive-in memorial service, held on the household property close to West Saltoun, East Lothian, the place his grandchildren arrived, to a refrain of horns, in one among his classic autos and his Penny Farthing featured alongside a wreath.

Predeceased by his daughter Susan, he’s survived by his spouse Julie, his youngsters Dean, Samantha, Stephen, Laurentiu, Nicky and two foster youngsters, Kadiga and Ionel.


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