Yesterday, May 16th was the National Ride of Silence for fallen bike riders. There were Rides in Columbus, TX and New York City. which memorialized Stan. His buddies in the NY Cycle Club organized a ride around Central Park. Unfortunately, there was a rainstorm with threats of lightning. But still eleven riders made the trek for Stan. I was reminded of Jason’s eulogy in which he remembered that he and his dad did the last leg of the Boston-NY AIDS ride in pouring rain.
Lorretta Crosby, who has performed yeowoman service on behalf of Stan down in Texas sent this report about the ride there:
I am pleased to report that well over 50 cyclists made the Hour to hour and a half drive from Houston To Columbus (after rush hour traffic) to be there to honor Stan and bring awareness to the hit & run. Tom Zizka from our local Fox 26 Morning News and a Team ACME rider went above & beyond as he strapped his video camera to his back and rode along side the riders to capture his report. His segment first aired this morning at 6:36. Chris Barbee’s article was in circulation yesterday (Chris, can you reply back with a copy or link). The Chronicle ran a few brief words this morning in order to make the deadline but it is my understanding a longer version will be in the next print. Houston Community Newspapers should have something in print soon as well. I’ll send links to the various reports as they come in.
Reba proudly wore the medal graciously donated by a fellow randonneur as well as carried Stan’s NYCC Water Bottle. A white bike was left at the scene of the accident as a reminder to all who pass. The Poster was distributed to local businesses and the Columbus Police took back many as well.
Thank you to Tom, Chris & Dustin for your immediate coverage of this story! Tom, especially I know you had to get up early to anchor the news so making the late night trek back to Houston to edit the video and air it this morning was appreciated more than I can express. You are a true asset to Team ACME and we are so proud to say you ride with us!
I’ll have more for you later. I wish I could have met you each under different circumstances but it has been my pleasure to work with you and we sincerely hope that our efforts have aided somewhat in bringing attention to the open case.
Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle ran this brief item to publicize the Columbus Ride:
The fifth annual Ride of Silence, held in remembrance of cyclists who have been killed by motorized vehicles while riding their bikes, was Wednesday. The event in Columbus was especially poignant because of the recent death there of Stan Oldak, a New Yorker who came to Texas to compete in a 400K Brevet. Oldak was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who remains at large.
The ride, in which participants are asked to remain silent and go no faster than 12 mph, is meant to raise awareness that cyclists have a right to share public roadways without risking life and limb.
Stan completed another brevet preparing for the Paris-Brest-Paris randonneur ride last April in Waterloo, IA. The local leader wrote this to Jeff Terosky of NYCC:
I am the RBA for Cedar Valley Cyclists in Waterloo, Iowa. I heard about the tragic accident to befall Stan Oldak. I am so sorry to hear this terrible news.
Stan came to Iowa for our April 21 300km brevet, and he successfully completed the event. At some point later this season, likely around September, I will have his validated card and the medal he ordered ready to send out.
I will ensure that it gets in the right hands. Also, I am not sure if there is any chance of the medal being ready before September, but some of the folks who were training with Stan for PBP will have some sort of tribute to him when they ride PBP – I think it starts on August 20? If there is any chance it will arrive before then, I bet someone would wear it on the ride.
A fellow cyclist from the Texas ride is donating their medal from Houston to Stan’s family as well. That one too will be carried to Paris before given to the family I am almost certain.
The Juneau Empire’s Korry Keeker will also run a profile of Stan this coming Sunday in the Juneau Empire. It will highlight his pediatric dental work on behalf of Inuit children through the SE Alaska Regional Health Consortium. Several years ago, the Empire ran this feature (registration required) on Stan’s work there.
Rick Braun was kind enough to share with me his eulogy for Stan delivered at the New York funeral:
I have been asked to speak representing Stan’s college fraternal group, Crown House, and the NY Cycle Club. But I speak most importantly simply as Stan’s friend. Death is one of the very hardest parts of life to deal with, particularly when someone is stolen away from life much too young. All of us here are feeling a deep sense of loss, grief, utter sadness, and yes, anger too at how our friend and relative, Stan, was taken from us. It is just impossible to believe the reality.
But let us try as best we each can to temper these feelings with all of the good memories of Stan. I knew him for forty years, since we met in our fraternal group, Crown House, at Queens College. Stan, of course, had the same qualities we know him for now. Even then, he had a passion for helping kids: he was a member of the Big Brother program in college. He was a
leader: he was president of Crown House, just as he was president of the New York Cycle Club. He led but didn’t always have to be in the limelight. He had the same impish grin and sense of humor. A small remembrance of Stan keeps popping into my mind: Stan and I were driving somewhere in separate cars and stopped next to each other at a red light. I looked over at Stan and saw this devilish gleam appear in his eyes. He turned on his windshield wipers and then exactly to the movement of the wipers, with his big grin, Stan began to rock back and forth with his hands on his head.
He loved sports and we often played ball together. He had the same generosity then as now; once he and I and others were playing basketball when I broke three caps. I was in law school and didn’t have much money so Stan offered right away to make new caps for me. Of course, he was then in dental school, and 17 visits later….
Stan was a real renaissance man. Did you know that he was a very talented photographer? That not only did he make teeth, but he also made jewelry? That he often went to New Orleans for its Jazz Fest? That he loved to dance? That he was studying the cello? Did you know that Stan was an officer in the Army? It sure freaked me out when I went to visit Janice and him in Georgia, and all these Army guys on base were saluting my college kid friend, Stan.
And Stan sure loved athletics. In later years, we hiked and played softball together with the Appalachian Mountain Club. And then there was cycling. He shared his passion with all those he could. He welcomed new cyclists to the New York Cycle Club and encouraged others, especially kids through the New York Cycle Club Youth Program. With his son, Jason, he did the Boston-New York AIDS ride, and partly in a terrible rainstorm, all to raise money for a very important cause. When I asked Stan to do the MS ride with me before Stan really got into cycling, Stan said sure, in an instant.
Stan had a dream of doing a great long ride, the Paris-Brest-Paris brevet in France. Stan had his dreams and he tried to live them. And he sure did live his life. He broke his hip cycling. He then bought a recumbent bicycle and, as soon as he could, off he rode. Later he tore his knee cycling, and after knee surgery, as soon as he could, again off he rode.
Stan tried to follow his spirit of adventure as often as he could, which led him to kayaking with the AMC, and dental gigs in Vermont and his beloved Alaska.
But Stan’s biggest passion was his children, Emily and Jason. He sure loved those two kids. He talked about them often, and when he did, his eyes lit up with pride at all of their accomplishments. Always know that, Jason and Emily.
So we are all hurting from the theft of the life of a wonderful man: a great father, son, brother, friend, Stan Oldak!
Brett Gary and Amy Bentley says
We are terribly saddened to learn about Dr. Oldak’s death. Dr. Oldak has been our childrens’ dentist in NYC, in the always overflowing neighborhood dentists office. He was gentle, good-humored, patient with the littlest of his patients, witty with the older ones, and a straight talker with the parents. We will miss him, and are so sorry about his death.
Brett Gary and Amy Bentley
Greenwich Village, NYC