ROBERT A. KIPFER, died July 11, 1977. He had been president of the Threshermen's Reunion and member of the board for many years. Bob was a real craftsman in many ways. He had a way with words that not everyone possesses. He could write about an event he had experienced long ago as if it were yesterday. His craftsmanship did not end with words. He was a hand at other crafts as well. He could use his hands to polish off a tune on the organ or to polish off a scar from a piece of furniture. He could clean out a swimming pool filter or repair a Swiss music box. He was as at home with a lathe making wooden parts for little toys as he was with a roller organ playing 'Star Spangled Banner.' But, most of all Bob was concerned with the passing of time. His clocks were a symbol of that. One of Bob's views of life was 'I still think, while doing my tour of duty here on earth, I have seen more progress than a man living in any other equal time. What lies ahead for my descendants is hard to guess, but I think it will be good and may put us to shame for progress.'
Bob had a love of farming and a love of kids which he combined in his little Swiss toy shop which he brought to the Hobby Building of the reunions with his wife, Hazel.
Now if there is such progress to be guessed for our descendants, what is ahead for Bob and for others who have died in the faith and gone to be with the angels and the ancestors? The Apostle Paul expresses it this way 'Death has lost its sting and it has been robbed of victory through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.' So you see there is much more to cling to than a precious memory and a wholesome respect for Bob Kipfer. We also anticipate, accept and joyfully await a reunion hope you don't miss the tremendous appropriateness of that Bob has spent 28 years working for reunions, and that is just what will reunite us.
(This has been some excerpts from The Rev. Kennent Dobson's eulogy.) Submitted by H. E. Beckemeyer, Route 5, Champaign, Illinois 61820.
MODE HAMPTON, 78, Rt. 13, Clarksville, Tennessee, died November 30, 1977 following a heart attack. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, Odd Fellows and charter member and one of the original directors of the Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen's Association. He was a plumber by trade but was greatly interested in steam. The association acquired several pieces of equipment through him, a Keck-Gonnerman 32' separator, a boiler for the Corliss engine and other items. He owned a Frick stationary engine and a Huber portable that he exhibited at the shows. He was a great help in putting on the show. He did most of the boiler testing and was always on hand to help with any repairs or anything else that anyone needed. He was a top notch mechanic. Four years ago he completely rebuilt a 65 HP Case, a Frick and a Nichols & Sheppard engine and at the time of his death was looking for another engine to refurbish. Somehow he would always find parts for them. He knew just how and where to get things done.
Mr. Hampton was a gentleman of the old school. His family and many friends will miss him, especially the Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen's Association, to whom he was so faithful. Submitted by Billy M. Byrd, 369 South Harrig Street, Madisonuille, Kentucky 42431.
GEORGE C. SEARSON, age 65, of Watford, Ontario, Canada died November 10, 1977 in his hunting camp about 25 miles northwest of Parry Sound, Ontario. George was one of the organizers of the first steam shows in Canada, The Western Ontario Steam Threshers. He also helped to organize the Huron Pioneer Threshers Association. George had the pleasure to be the first Canadian director of The National Threshers Association. George was well known for his ability and knowledge about the steam engines. He was the proud owner of two 20 HP Sawyer-Massey steam engines which he showed at both Bridgen and Blyth. George started threshing with his father and they bought a rebuilt steam engine when he was 16. In 1934 he bought an abandoned sawmill and set it up on his father's farm in Brooke Township, just south of Watford. In 1936 he moved to his new property and set up his sawmill in Watford. From this point in time he and his father continued both custom threshing and sawing. In 1938 he bought his father's interest of the threshing outfit. He continued threshing until 1945 when he sold the separator. In 1955 the old girl blew a hole in her plate. George, being the steam buff he was, went out and bought his second 20 HP Sawyer-Massey.
In 1960 he had the first engine rebuilt and has had both in working order since. George has used steam for all his life and knew no other kind of horsepower. George had one other great interest in life which was the Masonic Lodge. Submitted by his wife, Nelena and his four sons, Claremon, F. Carlyle, Harley and R. Darryl.
CHESTER HILER, 69, of Okeana, Ohio, passed away quite suddenly of a heart attack on October 31, 1977. Mr. Hiler was on the board of directors of the Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana at Rushville. He had attended the officers meeting on the preceding Saturday evening of October 29.
He was also head of the boiler safety committee and was the head sawyer for the Rushville Show. He was a well-known sawmill operator in the Okeana community. He was a member of the Darke Co. Steam Threshers of Greenville, Miami Valley Steam Thresher of London, and the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Club of Georgetown, Ohio. He was also engineer on the Kings Island Amusement Park steam railroad near Cincinnati.
He left countless friends who will all share their sense of deep loss next summer at the shows by his absence. Submitted by Jerry Moorman, R. R. 6, Greensburg, Indiana 47240 (Pioneer Engineers Club).
ARCHIE F. STEVENS, 70 Millville, Minnesota died October 14, 1977 at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Wabasha, Minnesota. He farmed in Oakwood Township and was an outstanding antique collector. Together with his son, Arnold, and family they staged the 'Peaceful Valley Threshing Bee' for several years. Submitted by Gilmar Johnson, Frederic, Wisconsin 54837.
WILLIS H. HERSHEY of Paradise, Pennsylvania, who for many years operated a large threshing rig in this vicinity, died January 2, 1978, at age 81 years, having been stricken three weeks earlier. He was one of the original directors of the Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Association, Kinzers, Pennsylvania, and until last year served as curator of the museum. It can be said that he died in the harness, since his last effort was in the promotion of the association he loved so much. He was stricken while working at his little desk in the museum of the Rough & Tumble Engineers. Submitted by Wilmer J. Eshleman, 722 East End Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602.
WALTER McCASKY died October 14, 1977 at Monte Cassino Nursing Home, Toluca, Illinois. He had been ill for a year. Walt had been a member of Central States Thresherman Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois for many years and had shown and operated an Aultman Taylor steam engine. His father and brothers had operated steam threshing machines and corn shellers for many years in the LaRose area. Submitted by his brother, Herbert W. McCasky, Toluca, Illinois 61369.
CLARENCE LANDORF of Naperville, Illinois died at his home suddenly on November 6 at the age of 67. He was a member of Northern Illinois Steam Club and the Will County Threshers Association. He owned and operated a 1906 18 HP Nichols & Shepard which he enjoyed taking to the shows. He was very interested in all steam and gas engines. Submitted by his wife, Lillian, R.F.D., Naperville, Illinois 60540.
ANDY IHRKE, 67, of Zumbrota, Minnesota died September 15, 1977 at the Community Hospital. He was a long time steam engine and gas engine enthusiast, attending many shows. He was also a hobbyist, having made miniature steam engines, models of farm wagons, covered wagons, stage coaches, ox carts, hand-braided ropes and many other articles. He also had a large collection of antiques and gas engines. He is sadly missed by friends and his widow, who will have an auction in the spring of many of his items. Submitted by his wife, Mrs. Edna Ihrke, 605 Pearl Street, Zumbrota, Minnesota.