Steam Show R.R. #3, Box 164 Valley Center, Kansas 67147
On December 1, 1987, Paul Kusnefsky passed away at his home in Florence, Kansas. His wife, Marie, was at his side. Many people across the country had come to know Paul as a true steam man.
Paul was a very quiet fellow until he realized you wanted to talk about steam engines. He then would get a twinkle in his eye and a little smile would appear and the conversation would flow. Paul's health had kept him from operating his equipment for several years. It had always been in a shed and properly taken care of. Marie made the decision to have an auction in May of 1988. People were there from all parts of the country. Much of his equipment went to many parts of Kansas and as far away as South Dakota.
It seemed sad that all of Paul's things would be taken here and there, never to be in one place again. An idea then came to mind. Because of the many kindnesses Paul and Marie had shown to our family, as well as countless others, over the years why not make every effort to gather all Paul's equipment together at our annual Labor Day weekend steam show and display it for all to enjoy?
Phone calls were made and the plans set in motion. Everyone was in agreement. The engines were painted and tuned up. The sawmill had a complete restoration thanks to many volunteers. The L Case stood proudly in the tractor line-up. The separator readily accepted the bundles of grain. Glenn Litke of Marion, Kansas with the help of his father, Virgil Litke, and his two nephews, Jeremy and Jonathan Jordan, operated the Case 65 Glenn had purchased. The engine seemed proud to once again be in operation and showing off for the crowds. The -scale Avery steam traction engine purchased by Linda Britton and Joe Heath of Florence, Kansas was in mint condition. This little beauty hardly had time to cool down all summer as they were busy transporting it from one show to another. Dick Burd from Canton, South Dakota, delighted the crowds with his -scale Avery during the races. The Charlie Burkhardt family of Witchita also displayed their Case model steam engine built by Paul.
Paul had been in attendance at our show when his health allowed. As his wife Marie said, 'Paul is here today you can just feel his presence when walking around his equipment'.
Linda and Joe graciously saw to it that Marie was at the show to attend a special memorial that was planned. A photo was given to Marie that had been taken several years ago. Paul was never one for having his picture taken. This particular photo was taken at a steam show and it truly captured Paul's image. He was a master with his mind and his hands.
A big thank-you to all who made a special effort to bring equipment to this memorial; it was much appreciated.
From bottom to top: Dick Burd of Canton, SD on his scale 40-120 Avery, Joe Heath tending to his scale Avery and at the top Ben Forney and John Forney are listening to the advice of Mr. Avery Sullivan concerning the full size Avery. Photo taken Labor Day weekend at Valley Center, Kansas. Courtesy Ronny Ray, Wichita.
1916 Case 65 #33248 purchased by Glenn Litke of Marion, KS at Paul Kusnefsky estate sale. Left to right: Jeremy Jordan, Glenn Litke, Jonathan Jordan and Virgil Litke. Photo taken at Terning's Show by Brenda Jordan.