"So many of us grow up with out knowing our fathers"- Kathryn Reynolds
Photographer, and daughter of Zach Reynolds, Kathryn Reynolds explores this sense of loss, and discovery, in her new upcoming series of Documentary Self-Portraits, 'The father I never knew'.
"Zach was one in a million" -Dorothy Reynolds.
Zachary Reynolds, or 'Dr. Zach', lived a life most people only dream about.
Zach had it all: money, fame, intelligence, a beauty-queen wife and great kids. Grandson of Tobacco Tycoon R.J. Reynolds, founder of the famous Tobacco Company and one of the richest men in the world in the 1920's, Zach had lots of inherited money, which he enjoyed spending.
Zach liked fast motorcycles, so he purchased almost 50 bikes! During the 70's, he had the largest privately owned collection in the world. He liked fast cars and drag racing, owning as many as 20 at any given time, and loved to modify them to go even faster. Zach loved stunt flying and had custom planes built just for him.
You may say, well it's one thing to own it but could he really drive, ride, or fly all of these speed machines? The answer is YES!! Zach was unbeatable on the ground or in the air! He raced motorcycles and cars all over the world. He was the National Aerobatics Champion in stunt flying. Did I mention the fact that, he could also take apart and put back together anything he bought.
Not only did he aspire to be the best in everything he did, Zach was a dear friend to all who knew him. "Zach never met a stranger", says Dorothy, Zach's widow. He was always helping people out. In his ham radio station W4TXL, the largest Ham radio Station in the world in the 70's, Zach would spend hours locating kidneys and other organs for people in need. He was known to stop friends who were riding on motorcycles with bald tires and tell them "You need new tires, man, that's dangerous!", but when the person would tell him they couldn't afford them, Zach would foot the bill.
Zach was like the 'pied piper' to all the neighborhood kids. "Zach might have been twenty years older than us, but we didn't notice, Zach was more fun to be around than anyone else", states family friend Will Spencer, now head of JKS Motorsports a company that does just about everything for NASCAR.
Zach loved to show kids how things worked, tear them down and put them back together. He was always willing to conduct experiments to prove a point. Zach, on one occasion, shot up the side of his old Dodge Pickup with varying caliber pistols and shotguns, just to prove a point. Zach had taken kids to see a drive in movie. In the movie someone shot through the door of a Pickup truck, and killed the driver. After the movie was over all the kids wanted to know if that could really happen. Zach said no, and happily obliged to show the shotgun pellets would only bounce off the truck door. After the truck was riddled with shots, nothing pierced through the truck door but a 44 magnum and a shotgun with a musket ball.
In September of 1979, Zach was preparing to go to the National shooting Competition. (Zach had been the National Pistol shooting Champion the year before at the U.S. Nationals) When the neiborhood boys who idolized Zach, came over and offered to take him on a flight to the family estate in the foothills of NC. The oldest boy had just received his pilots license and wanted to show Zach how he could fly. Having a hard time ever saying 'No' to a kid, Zach agreed to go with them. Eleven minutes after takeoff from the Zachary Smith Reynolds Airport, they had all passed from this life to the next.
Zachary Taylor Reynolds lived the 'American Dream'
to the fullest and will always be remembered
as a legend.