Content Tools

In the July-August 1976 issue of the IMA we gave you the life story of WILLIAM F. HOVETTER, and now we must add his name to the Golden Roll. He died April 16 at 100 years of age and could bask in a successful life of satisfaction.

He was born January 20, 1881 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. At 12 years he was operating his father's threshing rig. Soon, between the threshing seasons he would be working as a part time mechanic in the Frick shops at Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. In 1910 he sold his rigs to become Frick branch manager in Harrisburg. As the gasoline engines started to replace steam in powering a thresher, their rpm was sometimes irregular, thus reducing the performance; however, the thresher got the blame. Bill Hovetter was not to permit such a small item to reduce his thresher sales. He had a tacro-meter made to fit a Frick thresher which he sold as optional. The true source of trouble was soon correctly established.

Mr. Hovetter traveled far and wide as branch manager, mechanical consultant and goodwill ambassador of Frick Company. In 1916 he helped to organize the Pennsylvania Thresher-men and Farmers Mutual Casualty Company. In 1941 he reluctantly resigned from Frick Company to become general manager of the insurance company he helped to found. He supervised the construction of a new insurance headquarters building, and he retired in 1956. The company is today known as Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company.

With his 6th grade education, he was also a valued member of the board of the Dauphin Deposit Trust Company of Harrisburg. In his retirement years, he attended all the reunions in the area, where he could reminisce. He made it a point to attend every reunion at the Kinzer R&T Old Threshermen's Reunion until 1979 when he called to say sadly that for the first time he would be unable to be with us. He lived in retirement at his home in Walnut Bottom near Carlisle. His life conforms to the example as set forth in Longfellow's poem, 'A Psalm of Life.'

Submitted by W. J. Eshleman, 722 East End Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

JOHN FLOYD KING, 70, Kings, Illinois, died March 28, 1981, from a massive heart attack in his lifetime home where he was born. His sudden death came as a great shock to family members, neighbors, friends, and his steam show associates. He was a member of First United Presbyterian Church of Kings, Illinois and a charter member of North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, which he helped organize. The annual steam show was held on the King farm several years prior to 1974, at which time the annual show was moved to a permanent site at Hickory-Oaks Farm, two miles east of Davis Junction, Illinois.

Mr. King, commonly known as Floyd, was a lifetime farmer until his retirement from farm work about four years ago. He was the fourth King generation farmer tilling the King Centennial Farm. His son, Dale, is now farming the ground.

Early in life the King families farmed with steam engines and did their threshing that way. Floyd always enjoyed the sound of steam engines and the whistles. He was the operator of George Hedtke's 50 HP Case steam engine annually at steam shows since 1962. Floyd will be greatly missed by family members, the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show membership group, and others who learned to know him through steam show reunions throughout many states.

Submitted by Emil Svanda, Box 111, Davis Junction, Illinois 61020.

FRED C. HASZLER, Tonica, Illinois, passed away on his 92nd birthday, April 27, 1981. He was a farmer and thresherman all his life as was his father before him. He retired and moved to Tonica in 1959. For a while in his younger days, he was a licensed engineer in Montana. He had a variety of engines during his lifetime but the Reeves and Port Huron were at the top of the list. He was one of the original founders of the Central States Threshermens Reunion at Pontiac. He operated his 19 horse Port Huron there until he was 87 years old.

Submitted by grandson, Gary Lee Haszler, 312 N. Chestnut, Toluco, Illinois 61369.

DAVID R. MILLER, 22, of Geneseo, Illinois, died June 2, 1981 in an accident at a construction site in LaFayette, Indiana, where he was working.

Miller, the son of Ronald E. and Lora Lea Cowan Miller, of Geneseo, was a 1977 graduate of Geneseo High School. He was employed by Mohawk Pile Driving Company of Geneseo, and was a member of LIUNA Local 852. David was a member of the 1976 State Champion Football team and coached Little League football.

He was an avid steam engine and tractor enthusiast. David attended various steam shows throughout the Midwest with his family from the time he was a small child. As he grew up, David became an accomplished engineer under the patient teaching and guidance of some of the best engineers in the Midwest. His biggest ambition was to own his own steam engine.

Submitted by brothers, Russell and J.D. Miller, Geneseo, Illinois.

MELVIN ANDERSON, Okanogan, Washington, died May 8,1981 in Spokane, at the age of 78. He was a retired county road employee and member of Okanogan Senior Citizens, Western Steam Friends, Inland Empire Steam and Gas Buffs. He moved his family to Washington state in 1937 and lived at 25 Mile Creek where he taught mechanics to 150 CCC boys. In 1939 he moved to Okanogan where he worked as foreman for the county shops for 30 years before retiring. He and his son, Raymond, spent the last 12 years collecting and restoring steam and gas engines. They put on 12 engine shows and last year Mr. and Mrs. Anderson rode one of the antique steam tractors as grand marshals of the 'Okanogan Days' parade.

He also took an interest in the Okanogan County Chapter of the Old Time Fiddlers.

His passing is a great loss to the 'steam friends' and gas engine collectors of the Northwest and it is hoped that his many friends in these organizations will continue the tradition in his memory just as they've done for other veteran 'engine men.'

Submitted by Walt Thayer, Wenatchee, Washington 98801.

ARTHUR SCHROCK, 73, Rural Lake, Michigan, passed away May 21, 1981. He was a member of the Saginaw Valley Live Steam Association, the National Threshers Association and the Frick Engine Club. He was an ardent live steam enthusiast and had displayed his 1912 Frick engine as late as last year at the Saginaw show in Ithaca.

He was a devoted husband, father and friend to all.

Submitted by wife, Annabel Schrock, Lake, Michigan 48632.