The Golden Roll: Honoring the Memory of Members of the Steam Community

Michigan man helped found steam engine club, Minnesotan wrote about steamers


| Spring 2007


Ward S. Woodmansee, 92, of Hastings, Mich., passed away Dec. 18, 2006. Ward was born on May 30, 1914, in Dowling, Mich., the son of Albert and Emily Woodmansee. He was raised in the Dowling and Battle Creek, Mich., areas and attended rural Barry County schools, graduating in 1934 from Battle Creek Central High School. He worked at United Steel & Wire in Battle Creek until 1941, when he began serving in the U.S. Army. He received his honorable discharge in 1945.

He married Barbara Winnifred Kelly on April 24, 1943, in Harrisburg, Pa. Following his military service he returned to the Dowling area and entered into the sawmill business with his brother Ralph, retiring in 1976. They sawed with steam engines for many years. Ward was an avid bowler, golfer and enjoyed square dancing. Ward was preceded in death by his brothers Ralph and Harry Woodmansee, who themselves were legends in the steam community, and three sisters. Ward was a founding member of the Michigan Steam Engine & Threshers Club and was the announcer for many years. Ward was the best announcer we ever had.
– Submitted by Larry Mix, Hastings, Mich.

Richard Rorvig, 72, of Rothsay, Minn., and Yuma, Ariz., died Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006, in Phoenix. He was born Oct. 7, 1934, to Raymond and Cornelia (Watterud) Rorvig and he lived near Rothsay his entire life. He married Kathleen Melby on June 27, 1954, and they had four children.

Richard farmed until his retirement, about 10 years ago. After retiring he began a stump-grinding business, which he operated until his death. He was a welder and boiler maker, and he restored his own 80 HP Case. He spent about three years restoring a 45 HP Minneapolis, one of the largest steam traction engines known to exist, and wrote many articles for steam magazines.

He was a charter member of the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s Reunion at Rollag, Minn., a member of the D.L. Eagles Club and a member and promoter for the NFO for many years. He was an active member of the DFL in Otter Tail County. Richard was preceded in death by his father, Raymond; mother, Cornelia; and his son Ronald. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; his son Ross of Albuquerque, N.M.; daughters, Brenda and Barbara of Tempe, Ariz.; and his granddaughters.
– Submitted by Mark Corson, Crown Point, Ind.






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