CHESTER J. STERRETT,. died February 18, 1987 following heart surgery. Born December 5, 1914, he was a farmer and former school bus driver of Battle Ground, Indiana.
By the mid-1960's Mr. Sterrett was well into the hobby of collecting and restoring antique agricultural machinery. Chester was a generous man who enjoyed sharing his hobby with others. For 14 years he exhibited his steam traction engines at the Indiana State Fair, first using a 1920 Case 40 HP, Serial No. 34945. Later he used a 1927 Baker 21-75 HP, Serial No. 17786.
Chester was one of the 1981 organizers of the Battle Ground, Indiana Steam and Gas Engine Show, held annually ever since. He also was a participant at the Lafayette Home Hospital Fair, as well as at the Indiana communities of Winamac and Portland, and at Greenville, Ohio to name a few.
Each summer the Sterretts would hold their own threshing bee on their beautiful farm, using a steam traction engine and a grain separator. On display and operating were numerous internal combustion tractors.
In a larger sense, Chester planted more than wheat seed to be threshed later each July. He planted seeds of friendship by his warm, dynamic, and magnetic peronality. To him, each friend was someone special. He taught us the meaning of the word 'fellowship'.
'THAT WHICH YE SEW, YE SHALL ALSO REAP.'
On February 21, the long funeral cortege passed the Sterrett homestead, where before the casket was lowered, two long blasts were sounded, recorded from the Baker steam whistle, signifying that Chester's work here on earth was done.
We are thankful that Chester Sterrett left us a family by which to remember him. Perhaps in the seasons to come, as that old Baker steam engine labors upon a heavy load in the separator, Chester will be watching from somewhere beyond the sunset.
After outliving 'most all of the early entrepreneurs of the tractor industry, ROY C. TOWNSEND SR. passed away February 26, 1987 at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He was a hands-on inventor, designer, developer and builder of mechanical devices, an accomplished musician and a fine and sensitive gentleman.
Roy was born October 9, 1884 at Magnolia, Rock County, Wisconsin to Arba and Belle (Letz) Townsend. He was married to Edna Yunker June 26, 1912. She preceeded him in death in 1984.
Roy built a neat 1' scale model of a Case steamer while in his teens. In his middle twenties he was designer and engineer for Fairbanks-Morse and designed their big 30-60. When Fairbanks Morse went out of the tractor business Roy, his brother George Elmer and their father Arba F. Townsend formed a company to build the Townsend Oil Tractor (1914). At first Fairbanks Morse distributed them under the name 'Fair-more'. Others which were exported to Canada were called 'Bower City'. These were the 12-25 size. After a couple of years the 12-25 became the 15-30 and four more were produceda 10-20, 20-40-25-50 and 30-60. Later a few units of a more conventional '2 Plow 20 HP' were built. Until the recession after World War 1 the company could not meet the demand for their tractors but that prosperity turned to heavy losses and production ceased. Later in the 30's the LaCrosse Boiler Company built a few 15-30, 20-40 and 30-60's, but by that time the design was outdated and the Townsend Oil Tractor was history. The Town-sends moved to LaCrosse in 1931 and Roy became Vice President and Chief Engineer of the LaCrosse Trailer Corp. and helped design and build a 200 ton trailer which was used to haul huge pipes for the Hoover Dam project. He held more than twenty five patents for carburetors, engine designs and much more. In later years he was especially proud of an idea for reforming the side electrode of spark plugs to get a hot spark with lower voltage. They really put new life in old engines with weak magnetos.
After retirement Roy had more time to enjoy his musical hobby. He played French Horn with the LaCrosse Municipal Band and the LaCrosse Symphony Oechestra.
Almost to the end he loved to tell of the adventures of building and demonstrating the Townsend Oil Tractor.
FLORIAN C. KARL, of Jordan, MN passed away April 18, 1987 at the age of 90 years. Florian liked to fix engines. He got a 3 HP engine in 1915 when he was 18 years old, and started to saw lumber. After 1917 he ran a 25 HP Reeves steam engine in a threshing rig for many seasons. The threshing machine was a Minneapolis. He put in many hours running the steam engine for threshing or sawing lumber. He ran a 16 HP Advance machine for nineteen years at the Scott-Carver Threshers Show. He was a lifetime member of the Scott-Carver Threshers Assn.
He had a Texaco gasoline station in Jordan for 35 years.
EDWARD F. HUPPERT of Beldenville, Wisconsin, died Sunday, March 8, 1987 at St. John's Hospital, Red Wing. He was 79.
Mr. Huppert was born August 28, 1908 in Trimbelle Township, the son of John and Margaret Huppert. He married Eileen Heins. He farmed and owned Huppert's Tavern in Beldenville for 35 years.
He was one of the originators of the Beldenville Steam Threshing Days. He was a member of the Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club and St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth.