Founder and President of the Monorail Society
February 11th 1952 - January 24th 2017
As many of you may have already heard, my father, Kim Pedersen, passed away on January 24th at the age of 64. He had been battling acute myloblastic leukemia since May, successfully reaching remission twice. However, complications from his chemotherapy treatments took him in his sleep while he was home with his wife, Carol.
Kim founded the Monorail Society shortly after my brother, Skyler, and I were born nearly 30 years ago. Being that they were a part of our lives as far as we can remember, my brother and I never put much thought into his monorail fixations and efforts. It was as normal to us as any other daily recurrence, like breakfast or going to school. Our parents blessed us with trips around the world, contributing greatly to how I see it today. Little consideration was given to the fact that almost each and every destination was the location of a monorail.
It’s only since I’ve grown into adulthood and shared his story with friends and strangers that I see just how special his interest was. They want to know more, and they’re blown away with the impact he has left on the world. A friend of mine had something of an early midlife crisis when he realized that he hasn’t committed himself to any movement like my father committed himself to this intelligent urban transportation solution. I put an ease to my friend’s worries, and told him that it took my dad almost 4 decades to put the puzzle pieces together and realize he had to do something.
It was a journey with much opposition. When you set out to preach the brilliant practicality of what most know as a theme park ride, you will receive uninformed doubters and fat cats with their money in the alternatives. My father knew better though, and he carried with him a dream that he learned from his hero, Walt Disney. There is always a brighter future to fight for, and any semblance of a defeat in battle only drove my father to fight harder in the bigger war. It didn’t take long before he had a following to lend him a hand, the members of the Monorail Society.
His passion and optimism brought him to his swan song, his book “Monorails: Trains of the Future – Now Arriving.” Every sale filled him with joy, and I want to personally thank every one of you (numbering in the several hundreds and counting) that brightened his final year and a half on earth.
Where the Monorail Society goes from here is yet to be determined. Despite the incredible amount of help he received from friends and professionals over the years, much of the Monorail Society functions were operated by him alone (including this website). Monorails.org will most likely go without regular updates for a time, but not indefinitely. Those of us he left behind are grieving, but we have not forgotten what he started, and are slowly making considerations using the guidelines he composed.
In the meantime, the Monorail Society remains yours, a collection of enthusiasts that all shared in my father’s vision. Each and every one of you is capable of empowering the movement through professional insight and political influence. The Monorail Society is still open to new membership, and the Facebook page is a great outlet to organize and stay up to date.
Please reflect on the multitude of passions my father had by visiting his Youtube channel (found under Kim A Pedersen). Think about what drives you. Consider wrongs you see in the world, and how you feel they can be corrected. Recognize that the only things stopping you from making influential change in this world are your own misgivings. Let doubters be damned and fight the good fight, as unique as it may be.
I met Kim Pedersen back in 1999. Little did I know back then how much this man would eventually mean to me. But before I delve into the monorails aspect of his life, for those who didn’t know him, he was the closest person I’ve ever met to the archetype “renaissance man.” He was a father, husband, brother, airplane pilot, rollercoaster enthusiast, world traveler, artist, and, of course, how most of you know him, a monorail guru. Kim had been telling me for years that he was going to write a book about monorails, modernizing a very old monorail book by Derek Harvey. He did just that. Several of us were fortunate to be able to contribute the book. Many of us with photographs, others with editorial assistance, still others with moral support. I wrote the following for his book even though I knew he wouldn’t use it. But I wanted him to know just how I felt about him. Here it is:
Life is about passion. Passion for music. Passion for art. Passion for family. Passion for faith. Passion for just about anything is a good thing. When I first met Kim Pedersen, the author of this book, it was 15 years ago in 1999. He was, and is, passionate about monorails. At the time Orange County Florida (the home of Walt Disney World) was considering a light rail system. I wanted to know “WHY NOT MONORAIL?” When the consultants and pundits could give no clear answer, I contacted Kim, and we have been friends ever since. Since then, monorails have opened all over the world. Kim is the originator and driving force of The Monorail Society, a volunteer group headquartered in the Bay Area of California. The Monorail Society boasts over 7000 members in xxxx countries around the world. The Monorail Society predates the Internet, but it has certainly gotten the word out. We are truly now a global village, and monorails are clearly a global phenomenon.
Intelligent people can argue the pros and cons of different types of mass transit, but clearly, monorail is a legitimate form of transportation. As the world adds more and more conventional monorails and the new maglev monorails, those who came before us seem more prescient than ever. This book was clearly written with passion.
Several of us will do our best to keep this going in his memory. If you don’t have a copy of his book, trust me, you’ll like it. Carol, Kim’s wife, is still taking orders and sending them out.
So, in conclusion, every time you see an article about a monorail in the world, or even ride one, remember Kim and his legacy. I certainly will.