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Roy Edward Kite, only child of John Elmer and Jane Elizabeth (Mitchell) Kite, was born August 1, 1904, in Craig, Holt County, Missouri. Roy moved with his parents to Cheyenne County, Kansas, March 6, 1907, where they resided on a farm northeast of Bird City. He joined the Methodist Church in Bird City and remained a member until his death.

Roy attended school in District 51, known as the Brick school house, until he entered the 8th grade. He was a member of the graduating class of 1924 of Bird City Rural High School. The following year, he attended Kansas Wesleyan University, of Salina where he completed a business course. He was a member of the I.O.O.F Lodge 430.

He was united in marriage to Leone Shay at her parents home near Bird City, December 27, 1931. To this union were born two daughters, Shirley Lorraine and Beverly Leone.

Roy entered the farm implement business in Bird City in 1926. In the early years of his business he handled many makes of farm machinery some of which are now of historical interest -- Hart Parr, Lauson, and Nichols and Sheperd. During the past 23 years, however, he has held the J. I. Case dealership which will be continued by the recently formed Underwood Implement Co.

In 1950, he became interested in the preservation of antiquated farm machinery and was active in the formation of the Antique Engine and Thresher Association He attended antique steam engine demonstrations throughout the country and was instrumental in organizing the local shows that have been held annually since 1953. At the time of his death he was vice-president of the association.

After 5 long years of illness, he passed away Thursday morning, December 17, 1959, in the Cheyenne County Hospital at St. Francis, Kansas, at the age of 55 years, 4 months and 16 days. Through his farm implement and Antique Engine Association activities he made many friends throughout the nation.

Funeral Services were conducted at 2 o'clock Sunday, December 20, from the Bird City Methodist Church with the Reverend James R. Holdridge officiating. Services by the I.O.O.F. Lodge were held at the cemetery. Interment in the Bird City Cemetery. Arrangements by the Trickett Funeral Home.

(As published in The Bird City Times, Bird City, Kansas, December 24, 1959)


Mr. Chauncey E. Berkebile, 88 years old, passed to the great beyond late last year. He lived in Swanton, Ohio, all his life. For 57 years he was Assistant Superintendent at the A. D. Baker Co. He was a Methodist, Mason and Knights of Pythias. He is buried in the Swanton cemetery. For years he rode in the first car in the National Threshers Association Parade Saturday afternoons. A few years ago he rode on Mr. Green's 1904 Oldsmobile. He was a Brother-in-Law of Mr. A. D. Baker. Mrs. Baker was a Berkebile.

A good and interesting friend of our Hobby has gone. I am sure we are all happy to have known him.


Saturday, January 9th, was a sad day for two Indiana steam clubs. Chet Modesitt of Indianapolis, charter member and President of the Indiana Live Steamers Club and a very active member of The Pioneer Engineers Club, died suddenly of a heart attack.

Visitors at the Pioneer Engineers Reunion at Rushville, Indiana, several years ago will remember his Merry-go-round that he made and displayed for all small children to ride. Chet was well known for the small working model engines he loved to make from his own designs. He showed these in the exhibit the Indiana Live Steamers had at the hobby show sponsored by The Indianapolis Star at the Indiana Fairgrounds every year for a week in November.

Chet was always ready to help anyone with a steam or design problem and often made intricate parts for other hobbyists. A family man, only 42 years old, he is survived by his wife Bettie, two daughters and his parents. His father, Earl Modesitt of Cory, Indiana, is an old-time thresherman. (Submitted by William Meister, Treasurer, Indiana Live Steamers Club.)


James N. Smith, 80, whose farmland lies west of Blanchard, Pa., on the site where the proposed Blanchard Dam would be built, died Sunday, November 29, 1959, at the Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Hospital.

Mr. Smith celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving Day. He became ill shortly thereafter at his farm home, where he lived alone. Saturday a neighbor took him to Beech Creek to the home of his son, Victor. His death was a result of a cerebral accident.

Mr. Smith was an old-time thresherman. He began his work at the turn of the century, using an early type steam outfit. His sons joined him, and he employed others in later years, as threshing equipment advanced with modern gasoline engine development. He is survived by a daughter and three sons and 14 grandchildren.


John McVean of LeRoy, New York passed away on January 12, 1960. He was a former thresherman and one of Iron-Men's earliest subscribers. He was fond of attending the various reunions (especially the one at Kinzer, Pennsylvania, which he attended this past year). He was very pleased at the publication of his picture of his engine in the January-February issue.