In the waning days of summer nearly 20 years ago, when we were about to put the second issue of Farm Collector to bed, the office mail included a letter from a man in Indiana.
At that point in the life of this magazine, any mail was cause for celebration. Shoot, I remember the roar of laughter greeting my announcement that – thanks to a flush of new subscriptions in one day’s mail, probably a dozen or two – we had fully doubled our circulation.
But the letter from the Indiana man stood out for its unbridled enthusiasm. He’d seen only one issue, he wrote, but Farm Collector was his kind of magazine and he wanted to be a part of it in any way he could. Logistically, that would be difficult, but he suggested a role in which he would act as the magazine’s representative in the state of Indiana.
Ever the proud father, he enclosed an essay written by his daughter, reflecting on the pride and nostalgia she’d experienced when attending a tractor show as a young adult. When we told him that we’d like to publish Patti’s essay in Farm Collector, he was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve.
That was the beginning of a long and happy friendship with Bob Crowell. Bob and his wife, Linda, represented Farm Collector and its sister magazines at tractor shows all over the Midwest for nearly 20 years. Through all that time, we never had a better ambassador. His enthusiasm and genuine interest in people won him and the magazines friends wherever he went.
Bob was a man of many passions, including the people of his adopted state. In particular, he was proud of the many fine collections of old iron in that state. For years, in literally every conversation we had, he’d lobby for a full page – “The Indiana page!” – in each issue of Farm Collector. He knew it was never going to fly, but he had such fun running it up the flagpole.
With Bob’s passing on Nov. 11, 2017, we’ve lost one of our dearest friends. I cannot think of him without a smile spreading across my face, and that seems to me a fine legacy. Today I’m returning the favor. In a far, far better place, I hope the smile is now spreading across his face. Cheers to you, Bob: You finally got your Indiana page! FC