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Another Longtime PVGP Volunteer Loses Battle with Cancer
John Capen

I fully understand the cycle of life, but it never makes the news any easier to digest. We were still reeling from the loss of another one of our special friends from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) – (see Bob Trent’s previously listed obituary), and now, coincidently, another PVGP volunteer, key member of corner 19 and special friend to Lu and me since our first trek to the Steel City many years ago, John Capen has also lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on January 23. We read just recently how science has been knocking the stuffing out of this dreaded disease, so the grim news was a reality check of how far there is still to go.

“John was born in Dearborn, MI, on Oct. 21, 1942. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy in 1961, and proudly served his country for 20 years as a member of the service. After retirement from the Navy, he went on to earn his college degree from the University of Maryland (Baltimore County). He again entered the service of his country as an analyst for the Food and Drug Administration, from which he retired in November 2006.

He discovered motorsports while stationed in Japan, riding in motorcycle races. During a tour of duty in Italy, he acquired an Opel GT, which he campaigned successfully in autocross/gymkahna, both in Italy, and later in the Baltimore/Washington area. He became involved in Sports Car Club of America amateur racing after his return from a tour of duty in the Indian Ocean, becoming a corner marshall, and, later, a steward. He was very active in the Mid–Atlantic Road Racing Club, an organization dedicated to promoting safety in motorcycle racing, serving as a corner marshall, board member and chief race controller. He was also involved in bringing the concepts of Critical Incident Stress Management to both organizations”.....Elaine Capen

As a member of The Mid–Atlantic Roadracing Club (MARRC) and seasoned SCCA flagger, chief, and safety crew controller for several decades, John was a steady force at any corner group he was part of, guiding everyone and definitely elevating the level of professionalism. Another good friend, Stephen Moore states, “John was a long–time SCCA member and a fixture around Summit Point. The place certainly won’t be the same without him.” And for anyone who has had the pleasure of watching the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix from corner 19 over the last decade, we realize very quickly that it’s undisputedly not only the most challenging part of the provisional race circuit, but demands top level eyes and ears to keep everyone safe. John was that top dog of perfection, keeping his band of brothers and sisters focused until the last checkered flag was dropped.

John may have reached the end of the road, but for everyone who knew and worked with him, we know he left the world a better, safer place, and will be sorely missed.

This year, the PVGP is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The milestone gathering was going to be special, but with corner 19’s loss of John Capen and Bob Trent, the balloons may be filled, but the party won’t be the same.

Our prayers go out to his wife, Elaine and all their family members at this sorrowful time.
Louiseann (Lu) & Walter Pietrowicz

Corner 19 Gang
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