He had hundreds of international connections

A native of the Netherlands, de la Porte moved his family to Ohio in 1981. He had hundreds of international connections and was a staunch supporter of imports and exports for northern Ohio businesses.

De la Porte was board chairman from 2008 to 2010. He challenged the CVSR trustees, staff and volunteers to think big, according to George Snider, current board chairman, and Craig Tallman, president and chief executive officer.

“Really, Arnie was a genuine force of nature,” Snider said. “He saw things that he thought ought to be done and he enlisted people to help him do them.”

Family, friends, business leaders and railroad enthusiasts all were shocked when De la Porte, who was 78, died Oct. 30, 2013, while vacationing in Maine.

His family, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad supporters and workers of Ohio Locomotive Works LLC paid him tribute again in a dedication ceremony Sept. 27.

“When he passed, they came up with the incredible honor of naming their first green locomotive after him,” said his son, Pete de la Porte of Grafton. “He’s always been an absolute train fanatic.”

A commemorative plaque bears his name on CVSR Locomotive 365, which is off the rails and under construction at Ohio Locomotive Works. The company has its shop at IRG Lorain LLC, the former Ford Motor Co. factory at 5401 Baumhart Road in Lorain, and in the last few years, has grown to 20 workers from six.

The 58-foot-long locomotive is a 1965, 2,000 horsepower model built by the American Locomotive Co., or ALCO. It has been a mainstay in the railroad trips since CVSR acquired it in 1998, Tallman said.

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