DONALD J. WITTENBURG of Middleton, Wisconsin passed away December 30, 1996.
Donald was born June 22, 1913 on a farm in southern Wisconsin, that was in the Wittenburg family for more than a century. Donald's father owned a 1916 Avery tractor and a 20 HP Fuller-Johnson gas engine which Donald worked with as a young man.
Donald graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1935 with a degree in diesel engineering, but continued to work on the family farm until 1958. From 1958 until his retirement in 1976, he worked as a supervisor for Public Works in Middleton, Wisconsin.
Donald married his wife, Loretta, in 1939 and had one son, D. Rick Wittenburg.
Donald had been a member of the Rock River Thresheree of Janesville, Wisconsin since their first show. Over the years, he had exhibited his Case steam engine, numerous Rumely OilPulls and Avery gas tractors, along with his Fuller-Johnson gas engine that has been in the Wittenburg family since it was bought new.
Donald is sadly missed by his wife, Loretta; his son, Rick, and daughter-in-law, Pat; three granddaughters; six great-great grandchildren and all of his friends.
Submitted by friends Edwin and Connee Fiscus, 2466 Bethel Maple Road, Bethel, Ohio 45106.
MERIDITH E. BRISON, 69, Millersport, Ohio, died January 9,1998, at the Fairfield Medical Center.
Born March 18, 1928 in Miller-sport, he was a member of the Hocking Valley Thrashers Association, many antique gas engine clubs, and Millersport United Methodist Church. He was the owner of Brison's Inc., the world's largest supplier of decals for antique gas engines.
Brison was a retired farmer.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce Ann Mohler Brison; son, Ed Brison of Thornville; daughter, Nancy Marie Davis of Dublin; and eight grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Florette Miller Brison.
Submitted by Charles Snook, 13265 Ivy Road N.E., Thornville, Ohio 43076.
ORRIN MACHINE was a man of the earth. He farmed all of his working life on the same farm he was born on. He was a gentle, jovial man who always had a twinkle in his eye. He and his wife Margaret were retired and they enjoyed gardening, eating out, rides in the farm country and weekly polka dances. Their home was across the road from the farm. The road was named Michna Road after his family. They had no children but had many nieces, nephews and lots of good friends.
For the past 15 years, I was his friend, neighbor and finder of lost engines. We spent many long hours in the truck traveling all over, looking at engines and tractors. He loved to go to auctions, and would always call when there was old iron on the auction bill.
His picture was in the June, 1997 issue of GEM. He was one of the guys who helped save a big 12 HP Associated engine. Orrin was one of those 'characters,' a gentle man that everyone knew and liked. We would load up our old iron and head to a show where Orrin would sit and spin yarns about the old days and life on the farm. When I had to make a parts run in the truck, Orrin would always volunteer to ride shot gun. Those rides are a lot less fun than when my good buddy rode along.
On November 12th, Orrin died after a battle with the effects of a stroke. He was 81 years old. He was one of a kind. The engine guys all miss him.
Submitted by Dennis Kornwolf, 7133 Michna Road, Racine, Wisconsin 53402.
My brother, MYRON EASTES, a steam engine fan for many years, aged 79, passed away on January 12, 1998.
Myron graduated from high school in 1937. This was just about the time that steam was going out as a way of threshing in Hancock County, Indiana. The little Allis Chalmers 60 was beginning to take over. Myron had a pony and a cart that his dad made for him to haul water to the threshers from about 1933 to 1937. I can remember one time that they left the engine and separator at our house overnight after they had finished threshing our wheat. There was still some fire in the boiler and we did not let it go to waste, the whistle got a good workout.
Myron went to work on a farm after graduating and worked from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with 30 minutes off for lunch. Two dollars a day was the pay. The farmer that he worked for had Rock Island tractors and a whole passel of mules.
Then early in 1941, President Roosevelt asked for boys to volunteer for one year for military service. Myron enlisted and was the first enlistee from Hancock County. He went to Fort Knox, Kentucky and lived in tents and drilled in the old Kentucky red mud for a grand salary of $21 a month. He worked his way up the ranks and became a captain and served in North Africa and Italy.
Roosevelt's year turned into five years. Myron returned home and started farming. He farmed most of his life and preferred Oliver tractors. He was always a visitor to the steam engine show at Rushville. He never had an engine, but he certainly did enjoy the beautiful song that they sing. Some people there were very nice to him, and let him run their engine. He really appreciated that.
Submitted by Dave and Glen Eastes, 4993 Fairuiew Road, Lenoir City, Indiana 37772.