Auto Racing and safety
icon, Jim Deist, passed away on March 9, 2009.
For over 50 years, Jim dedicated
his life to improving the safety of all types of motorsports.
He was an innovator, a dedicated racer, and a friend to all.
Jim made everyone feel as if they were family, and he wanted
everyone to be safe and survive in these deadly sports that we
all love so much.
Auto racing in general and drag
racing in particular lost one of its best on March 9,2009 when
safety pioneer Jim Deist passed away at his home in Glendale,
CA surrounded by family and friends. Deist is credited with designing
and implementing the first "drag chute" for safely
stopping cars at speed. He also developed the first generation
of fire suits and masks that allowed countless drivers to survive
fires that so often plague race cars. It is fair to say Jim saved
more lives than any man in the history of motorsports and he
continued his trade to his dying day. His familiar face, sage
advise and unique demeanor will be surely missed by all. Rest
in peace and godspeed our friend.
On March 14, 2009 many of his
old friends gathered at the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum
to celebrate the long and fruitful life of Jim. John Ewald was
there to share, with a few photos, the memoriam with all who
were unable to attend.
Louie Senter chats with
Jim's daughter Dee.
As he so often does,
Dave McClelland did a masterful job as MC.
Every form of racers were in
attendence..drag, Salt Flats, off road, boat, motorcycle... joined
by folks from NASA, Air Force and the movie industry. Jim Deist
had an effect on everyone.
Louie Senter who was a very close
friend of Jim's tells a few stories of their many years together.
seated are Jim's wife Marion and daughter Dee.
Leroy "Doc" Hales told
how Deist equipment saved him when he drove funny cars...."Without
Jim's gear I would not be here today, he saved my life".
A long time friend of
the Deist family, Linda Vaughn visits with Marion Deist.
Marion and Louie...most
of Jim's life was spend with these two fine people.
Jim would have loved this. His
ashes in a rosewood box with one of his chutes attached.
Three racers who used Jim's safety
equipment from early on - Ronnie Rapp, Ronnie & Jeep Hampshire.