Our long-time helpers — Part 5 of  5:  in retirement  

In memoriam
Jack Acly
Jack Acly came along at our moment of greatest need and pitched in to straighten out our scrambled data base of income and outgo, starting in May 2009 until a broken hip forced his retirement in 2016.

Jack was born and raised in Wellesley, MA, outside Boston. He lived in Severna Park, Maryland, until he passed away on May 18, 2020, at the age of 91.

Jack left home at age 21 and tried various lines of work. In 1952 he joined a young food-vending company and worked there for about 20 years, rising through the ranks. He then got a chance to be Field Service Engineer for a vending machine manufacturing company and spent the next 25 years there, until retirement.

He and his wife of 56 years raised 5 children and lived variously in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Texas and on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Jack traveled all 50 states plus Canada, Mexico and Central America, until he just wanted to stay home. He lost his wife in 2007 after a long illness and later made many new friends, including the folks at Kadon.

Interesting connection—his late wife was the niece of Josiane Smith's late husband. Did that make Jack the nephew of Josie?

Photograph by Art Blumberg

Richard Grainger is "Odd Jobs," as his business card reads, and no job is too odd for the luxuriously bearded muscleman from Oella, Maryland. From hauling a ton of lumber from the driveway into the workshop, to stacking freshly stained boards 8 feet high to dry, or fishing a lost paper out from behind file cabinets, or taking on challenge games as Kadon's game master (pictured above) at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, or counting every single component of Kadon stock during the dreaded annual inventory, Richard met the challenges with verve. And that's after walking over 6 miles from his apartment to headquarters.

He retired in 2013 after 30 years with Kadon. We understand he is catching up with the hundreds of books he's been wanting to read and science fiction movies he's transcribing from his old videotape collection to DVD's.

He has appeared in a play (Carnival), sung in a choir, served as an artist's model, hauled bolts of cloth for a textile mill, collected garbage, janitored a church, won a bowling trophy, made printed circuit boards, walked across Maryland, been a Mensa member, done a stint in the Army, won First Place in the U.S. National Amazing Science Fiction and Horror Trivia Championship (right) at DexCon 7 on July 18, 2004, and been an extra in the motion picture Forrest Gump. His talent for spoonerized puns and for telling jokes leaves one grasping for clues or gasping for breath from laughter.

Spiderman is his favorite superhero, as captured in this caricature.

Richard is singularly equipped to impersonate another favorite fantasy character, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. Here's a look at Richard in full regalia at the 2002 Maryland Renaissance Festival, a grand role-playing game in its own right.

Photograph by Art Blumberg

Richard has contributed a couple of game ideas and a puzzle set to Kadon's repertoire, and is the unquestioned grand master of Squint Solitaire, having amassed thousands of solutions. D&D, Magic the Gathering, Uno, Mille Bornes, and Fluxx are among his other favorite games.

Richard is an excellent teacher, explaining everything from generator repair to game rules with clarity and conciseness. And it is Richard's skillful hands that polished thousands of Quintillions blocks to their fine lustre and luxurious feel. Here he is, manning the Clean Carver that collects the loose steelwool dust with its vacuum system and industrial filter. He took this picture himself.

Photography is one of his hobbies. He was the official chronicler of the major construction project in 1990 when Kadon had an addition built onto the back of the house. And he took hundreds of photos of a cross-country trip and up into Canada in 1985 when we were invited to show our games at a recreational math celebration. He's especially proud of a shot of a lightning bolt zigzagging across a night sky.

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