THE GOLDEN ROLL

Content Tools

DALLES M. FIDLER, 85, passed away December 29, 1985 at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home at Villisca, Iowa, where he had been a patient for only a week.

He was always very much interested in gas and steam engines and always attended one of the shows where they were at.

He really tried to follow in his father's footsteps, which was saw mill work and threshing, as he made the wheat harvest 10 years.

He will be greatly missed by his relatives and friends.

Submitted by his wife, Helen Fidler, R.R. 4, Box 155, Clarinda, Iowa 51632.

WALTER ARMACOST died on New Year's Day, two weeks before his 94th birthday. His wife of 75 years, Mira, died just twelve hours later.

According to an article in the Hanover (PA) Evening Sun, Walter and Mira 'met in her parents' wheat field, where she was hauling water for the steam thresher Walter was operating. It was love at first sight....'

Owner of a farm machinery shop for many years, Walter was a founder and the first president of the Maryland Steam Historical Society. He built a steam engine from scratch in 1965 and gave rides on it for many years at steam shows at the Arcadia fire grounds. At the annual shows, Mira would sell souvenirs, and everyone called Walter the Boss. They had a place of honor in the parade at the 25th anniversary celebrations for the Steam Historical Society in 1980.

Submitted by Mildred M. Brubaker, Secretary of the Maryland Steam Historical Society, Inc., and W. J. Eshleman, 722 East Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601. CECIL KELLEY was born May 12, 1902 in Indian Territory north of Pawnee, Oklahoma. Cecil passed away November 29, 1985.

Cecil in his early life worked with his father farming and running a large steam threshing outfit.

In 1936 Cecil established the Kelley Implement Company, the John Deere dealership in Pawnee. It was said, 'that Cecil started the business with one implement and a parts book.' I remember Cecil saying that when he started this business some people said, 'Cecil won't last three weeks.' In the early times mowing machines, binders and grain drills kept him in business. At first he didn't sell many large items like tractors and combines. The business thrived as time went on and lasted 35 years. Cecil retired in 1971 selling his business to Bob Dennis, Kenneth Kelley's son-in-law. One of Cecil's friends was quoted as saying, 'As I sat in church for Cecil Kelley's funeral, I wondered if the church could have held all of the people who he gave an honest deal to while he was John Deere dealer.'

Cecil established a record in Pawnee city government by serving on the city council from 1945 to 1975. As senior council member he was acting mayor on several occasions.

Cecil started out with a steam throttle in his hand. In 1971 he began collecting and rebuilding steam engines with his brother Kenneth.

Cecil said, 'that they liked the old Advance that he and his dad threshed with.' But his first engine to collect as a hobby was the 45 Case. His next engine was a 65 Case. By this time Cecil and Kenneth really got fired up. They purchased a 110 Case that was all apart. Now it is one of the better 110 Case engines.

The Kelley Brothers had a nice shop. We always considered Cecil the mechanic, machinist and steam engineer. Cecil spent many a happy hour helping on the restoration of a complete line of Case engines.

I guess most all of us have a favorable engine. Cecil's was the 65 Case. I've heard him say many a time, 'I love the old 110 but if I could only have one engine it would be the 65.'

We, the members of Oklahoma Steam Threshers, were very saddened with the death of Cecil, but then at the same time, we have great joy, because we know that Cecil is in thresherman's heaven. He has gone to the big reunion, where the coal, water and steam cylinder oil are all good.

One of our members said, 'I bet Cecil has already ordered a new 65 HP Case engine and 36 inch Case steel separator.'

Another friend was quoted as saying Cecil was about the best machinist in these parts. Cecil was somewhat like a well fitted cog wheel, faithful service with little oil and not a squeak. Cecil won't occupy much space in the history books, but he will have a full page eulogy in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.

There is no bigger blessing than a friend who's there, when good times aren't. That was our friend Cecil Kelley.

Submitted by Oklahoma Steam Thresher's Association, Pawnee, Oklahoma.

VERNON REED, born April 17, 1901, died on October 29, 1985, in Pontiac, Illinois. Vernon had run a steam engine for a long time and was one of the last to go to tractors. He was a charter member of the Pontiac Thresherman's Reunion. He seldom missed a show and, even though he was sick in bed, had his son take him to the 1985 reunion for a few hours. Submitted by his wife of 60 years, Mrs. Vernon Reed, Rt. 1, Pontiac, Illinois 61764.

EARNEST OTIS BRESSLER was born near Kearney, Nebraska on January 17, 1910. The family moved to Sheridan Lake, Colorado where he grew to manhood. After graduating from high school in 1928, the family moved to Bird City, Kansas. He was involved in farming all of his life. In the early days of the Tri-State Antique Engine and Threshers Association at Bird City, he was mostly an interested bystander. During the late fifties and early sixties, he developed heart trouble which caused him to temporarily lose his medical for his pilot's license. Earnest was a member of the Kansas flying Farmers for some 35 years, serving a term as President. To fill the void of his great love of flying he started his increasing interest in the old steamers and tractors. He did fly again, but in 1974 had by-pass surgery which ended his flying. Thankfully, by this time he was very involved with the Association and the restoration of the tractors and steamers. This 'hobby' was to be his work for the rest of his life. His last year was very special to him, as his wife, Hope, was the Steam Show Queen. He served a number of years as officer of the Tri-State Antique Engine and Threshers Association, being President for 14 years. He also served as an officer in the Tri-State Antique Auto Club, and was active in the Kansas Steam Power Safety Association. Earnie left just one month after the Steam Engine Show last year, on August 26. We will all greatly miss him.

Submitted by his son, Robert Bressler, Bird City, Kansas.