The Golden Roll

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Dicke Joe Neely and his 16 HP Port Huron

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Dicke Joe Neely, 69, of Marshall, Mich., passed away at his home Thursday, Oct. 27, 2004.

Dicke Joe was born July 17, 1935, in Ray, Mich., to James C. and Della Marie (Howard) Neely. He was married on Aug. 16, 1951, to Annabelle Miller, who died in 1990. The couple moved to Marshall in the early 1960s from Freemont, Ind., and lived there since.

Dicke Joe owned and operated Richard Neely Heating for nearly 30 years, until retiring in the early 1990s. He then worked with his son Richard, who took over the business. A member of the Moose Lodge and the Michigan Historical Steam Engine Assn., he owned two Port Huron steam traction engines, which he enjoyed showing at the National Threshers show in Wauseon, Ohio, and Northeast Indiana Steam and Gas Show in LaGrange, Ind.

Dicke Joe was fairly new to our hobby and fraternity, but soon became a trusted and close friend to many folks near and far. He camped out at many shows throughout the summer, and you could always depend on Dicke Joe to have his camp under a nice shade tree with plenty of his smoked fish and a tall tale or two. He loved a good laugh as much as any of us, with plenty of ice-cold refreshments. Dicke Joe was always ready for a steam engine road trip to Somerset, Va.; Mineral Beach, Pa.; or Montgomery, Minn. Just say the word and his little bag was in the truck ready to roll at 11 p.m., 3 a.m. or 6 a.m. We would drive all night, saw all day and party half the next night.

As the last light clicked off, Dicke Joe would say, "Boys, today was dandy good!" His steam friends will remember Dicke Joe whenever they get together, may he rest in peace.

Submitted by Dennis Rupert and Bill Dove, Hillsdale, Mich.

It saddens me deeply to report the sudden passing of Dennis "Denny" Smalley of Mason, Mich. Denny was born on Oct. 28, 1942, and passed away on March 7, 2005, at the age of 62.

Denny was a member of the Michigan Steam Engine & Threshers Club. I have known Denny since the mid-1960s when his dad Charlie and Denny bought a 16 HP double Nichols & Shepard from Charlie Hallsey. They ran this engine every spare moment they could. Their second engine was a 20 HP Advance corner bracket, I think this was Denny's favorite engine. They went on to collect quite a few engines. Needless to say his death comes as quite a shock to all of us, and all that knew him will miss him.

Submitted by Larry Mix, Hastings, Mich.