An original founding member of the Porsche Club of America is gone
July 25, 2015 – John (Jack) Case passed away this morning. He was 92 years old. His wife Ginny passed away two and a half years ago.
I had the honor of having Jack and Ginny as friends for more than 20 years. I can’t remember ever seeing one without the other. They were inseparable.
Jack was a charter member of the Porsche Club of America. He wasn’t just a founding member; Jack was an instrumental part of PCA in those earliest days. PCA founder, Bill Sholar, used Jack as a key lieutenant, sending him on assignment to newly formed Porsche clubs around the country, showing them the benefits of becoming a region of PCA. Jack played a significant role in the creation of many of our earliest regions. I know that when San Diego became a region in 1957, it was Jack who brought out the charter. Just from conversations, I know he also played a key role in the creation of the Los Angeles and Riesentöter regions.
I don’t know this because Jack or Ginny told me. They didn’t tell stories like that. They didn’t brag — about anything. You’d be sitting at lunch with them and, in the context of the conversation you’d hear things like when Ginny and her twin sister met Albert Einstein while they were nurses in Princeton, New Jersey, or how she met Thomas Alva Edison. You could draw information out of them. They were happy to talk about anything, but you needed to initiate the conversation.
When we asked them about Ginny’s nursing career, they told us that she spent time as a visiting nurse and drove their 356 year round through the Pennsylvania countryside, through snow and everything else.
I remember seeing some trophies in their home several years ago. On closer inspection I saw that they were from the first Porsche Parade held in Washington, D.C. in 1956. Jack and Ginny not only had a trophy for 1st in the Rally, but the Porsche Memorial Trophy, the Hoffman-Porsche Trophy and the 1st Overall for the best overall score in rally, gymkhana and written test.
When asked which European delivery was the most memorable, they shared the following story… They had taken delivery of a 356 at the factory (not sure which year) and, while touring in Italy with other 356s, they parked their new Porsche outside the hotel. The next morning, when they went to the spot where the car was parked, their 356 had vanished. Although they were a bit upset, and knowing that cars disappearing in Italy was not an uncommon event, they took it in stride. Back to Stuttgart they went, and the factory provided them with another so they could continue their European holiday.
When Riesentöter celebrated their 50th anniversary in August 2007, Jack and Ginny graciously agreed to be the Grand Marshals for the weekend of festivities. They had a wonderful time at the receptions and dinners, sitting on the porch at the Radnor Hunt Club looking out over the display of cars, and sharing stories with members who were meeting them for the first time. Debbie and Bill Cooper were thrilled to be their hosts for the weekend, sharing wine, stories and laughter – a truly special gift, with two truly special people.
They loved to drive. They bought a new Boxster in November 2011 (their 13th Porsche). The following August they were hit by another car returning from Rennsport Reunion in Monterey. I heard that their Boxster had 38,000 miles on it at the time. Being somewhat skeptical (after all, they were almost 90 years old), I checked the odometer when they got the car back – 38,000 miles and some change (in 10 months of driving).
They drove to breakfast and lunch every day. Each Friday they drove to Newport Beach (from Oceanside, California) to lunch with friends. They drove to Long Beach for our Grand Prix Region monthly breakfast meetings. In 2011 they embarked on a six week road trip from San Diego to the Porsche Parade in Savannah, then to their birthplace in New Jersey to visit Ginny’s sister, then looped back to San Diego.
At 90+, Jack once needed to follow me to a freeway and South for several miles. It was blatantly obvious that I did not need to hold back waiting for Jack to keep up. Ginny loved to drive fast. She would tell stories about riding with Porsche test drivers on the Solitude Racetrack during Treffens and other Porsche factory visits. She would often tell my wife, Suesan, to ride with Jack in the Boxster so that she (Ginny) could ride with me (did I mention that she liked driving fast?).
In the earliest days of PCA there was a close relationship between PCA and the Porsche factory. Factory engineers would come to the U.S. to train club members about various aspects of these new sports cars. I’m not great with the who’s who of Porsche, but even I recognized many of the names, like their friend Baron Huschke von Hanstein, Porsche’s public relations manager and chief of the racing department in the 1950s. They were personal friends with Ferry and Dorothea Porsche, and Hans Peter Porsche made sure to pay his respects whenever he came to Parade.
At the Savannah Parade in 2011, the Cases and two other senior PCA couples were invited for an all expenses paid trip to the Porsche factory. My wife, Suesan, was involved with this. We were impressed as Porsche AG made sure they knew what needs Jack and Ginny might have. We drove them to LAX, where we were met by a Porsche employee whose job was to escort them to Germany and make sure that their needs were taken care of.
Jack and Ginny were very clear and articulate people. They either liked you or they didn’t. They did not like Chinese food. They loved French food. They loved ice cream. They loved wine. They loved mid-century modern homes and furniture, and their home was filled with an Eames Chair and similar period pieces. Frank Lloyd Wright was their guy.
They never had children. PCA and Porsche were their family, and we are all the more fortunate that this was the case.
It has been a privilege to have had Jack and Ginny as our friends.
Skip and Suesan Carter