Profile of a Pioneer - Goodbye to a Brother

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Written by John “Baron” Vaughan-Chaldy   
Tuesday, 15 March 2005

On March 5th 2005, motorcycling lost one of their most active and passionate ambassadors: Ozzie “Oz” Menconi. Ozzie succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a 5-year battle with chronic liver disease. He was born August 26th, 1949 in Chicago, IL. and served his country honorably in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam war. He also served as one of motorcycling’s most enthusiastic ambassadors.

Ozzie loved his family and his friends, and he enjoyed taking life head on. He didn’t back down from a challenge and his word was his bond. He led his family and friends as he led himself to find new adventures. Motorcycling was a life long passion bred into him at birth by his father (****), his “Uncle” and his brother Tony. Ozzie was ready to ride at any opportunity and toured this beautiful country together with his wife Millie’s arms wrapped firmly around his waste. Ozzie inspired hundreds of people (friends) to ride and brought them together as a club he devoted himself to for many years. He was an amazingly skilled rider and he shared these skills with his friends teaching them how to be safer riders.

Oz loved motorcycling with an intense passion. But it wasn’t just the riding he loved - it was the people he met while along the way that touched his life the most. Riding gave him a way to make new friends, and he was the bridge that brought hundreds of people into the world of motorcycling. With his great smile and hearty laugh he’d talk for hours to anyone that had a question about bikes, even driving them to a local dealership and showing them models that might suit them best. After buying a bike, he would then teach them how to ride it safely.

He touched not only riders he could see in person but as well thousands of them that would read his postings on website forums around the world, where he was known as the “all knowing and all powerful “Oz”. He’d spend hours helping people through his keyboard to customize and beautify their bikes or giving them information that would make them better riders or lead them to places they'd enjoy riding. He inspired people to take on more than they had before and through his own example he showed them how to keep pushing forward in life no matter what was in front of you.

Ozzie was the kind of guy who always had his tools with him and his garage open to anyone. He never passed a bike by that was stopped by the side of the road. He would bring these new friends home when they needed more work than could be done roadside and would work all night to get them going again, while his sweet wife Millie would make them welcome, even at the oddest of hours.

Ozzie loved life and the people he chose to share it with. Stories rolled off his tongue and he could fill your mind with images as he shared them with you. He was a man that lived his life in full and living color. You could see his big smile coming before you could make out the face behind it and you could tell his huge and infectious laugh even from behind solid walls. He found the humor in life’s toughest situations and made it easier on those around him by doing this even in the toughest of times. The last few years of his life were tough on him but he never backed down, never gave up or expected anyone to feel sorry for him. He led by example, and even in his last days he still shouted his orders and directions to those around him on how they needed to do certain things including making sure his “chili” recipe wasn't just written down but as well he worked up the strength to demonstrate just how to cook the peppers and brown the meat just right.

Ozzie owned dozens of bikes during his life, but in 1995 he purchased a Yamaha Royal Star and for the next nine years rode that bike with his wife’s arms firmly around his waist, touring this country making new friends and looking up old. He started and nurtured one of the very first STAR Touring and Riding chapters, and he invited everyone he could find to join his chapter and taught them how to improve and enrich their lives by being a part of a great family organization that he loved so much.

Ozzie always went beyond the call of duty, for motorcycling and for his friends, never asking for anything in return. His friends knew he would be there for them. He leaves us with a network of friends that span not just this country - but worldwide - and these friends are inspired by Ozzie’s credo of “Never leave a biker behind and never miss a chance to make a new friend.”

Those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Ozzie will remember him as a husband, a father, a friend that would do anything for you, someone who loved with his whole heart, and as one of those rare individuals who was willing to go to any lengths to help you.  Even to the end he always found something to laugh at. So as you leave here today and move forward in your life, take Ozzie with you in your smiles and in you own hearts, make sure he’s there when you ride and be sure to share his lessons with your spouse, children and your friends.

We'll see you again good friend and when we do I know you'll have the bikes warmed up and ready to go, and I know yours will be the fastest of them all.

Unfortunately, his protracted illness left his wonderful wife Millie saddled with medical and funeral bills that have crippled their finances and left her with no insurance. Ozzie was too proud to ever ask for help (does that sound familiar?), so I’ll take this opportunity to make it possible for any biker out there help out - even in the smallest amounts.

We at Baron Custom Accessories are honored to host a contribution fund for Millie Menconi, in memory of our dear friend Ozzie.  Funds donated via our website will be forwarded directly to Millie to assist with the costs of Ozzie's funeral bill's and repayment of his medical expenses, as well as helping her to recover from the financial burden this has caused.  Baron's will also cover the cost of any credit card processing so that 100% of every donation can be used to benefit his family. 

You can contribute to the fund by clicking on the "Add to Cart" link on our website memorial page for Ozzie, and specifying your total contribution in the “Quantity” box in our shopping cart. For instance, if you’d like to contribute $20, just type in a quantity of 20 – you are free to contribute whatever you can. Continue through with our checkout process, and we’ll e-mail you a receipt of your contribution. (Please ignore any sales tax or shipping charges that may get added by the cart - these will not apply to your donation)

Clicking on Ozzie and Millie's picture above (or the link below this paragraph) will forward you to our website we you will be able to submit your donation.  http://baronscustom.com/html/search/partid/OZ-TRUST

Feel free to contact me regarding any questions you might have.

Thank you, and Godspeed, Ozzie!

John “Baron” Vaughan-Chaldy

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