It is with deep sorrow that the Board of Directors of the Western Development Museum announces the death February 19, 1978, of DR. GEORGE SHEPHERD, Honorary Museum Curator.
Dr. Shepherd was born in England in 1890, and was 18 years old when his family emigrated to Canada. After many years as a rancher in southern Saskatchewan, he and his wife Irene moved to Saskatoon in 1950. Three years later he was appointed to the position of curator at the Saskatoon branch of the Western Development Museum, a position he held for almost 25 years.
A prolific writer, Dr. Shepherd published numerous feature stories and articles in such magazines as 'The R.C.M.P. Quarterly,' 'Heritage Canada,' 'The Iron Men Album,' and 'Engineers and Engines.' In 1965 he published his first book West of Yesterday, followed in 1967 by Brave Heritage.
He was honored many times for his contribution to the museum field and to the preservation of the Saskatchewan heritage, including in 1974, an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and in 1977, an Honorary Scroll from the government of Saskatchewan. He was also a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association.
The directors, staff members and volunteers of the Western Development Museum deeply mourn the loss of this friend and advisor.
WILLIAM L. CURTIS, 80 years old, of Lehigh, Iowa, passed away December 9, 1977 of sudden illness. He attended many steam shows the past twenty years, attending the Steam Show in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa every year for the last twenty years. He was really an antique buff, with his Edison Phonograph collection -his favorite.
Submitted by Jerry Fiferlick, P.O. Box 205, Lehigh, Iowa 50557.
ELLIS ELLWOOD REES, 80, Rural Route #1, Steward, Illinois died Saturday, November 19, 1977, at Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford, Illinois, following surgery.
Mr. Rees was a 50-year member of the Alto Masonic Lodge, and was also a member of the Freport Scottish Rites Consistory and Tebala Shrine, Rockford, Illinois. He was a long time associated member of the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show at Davis Junction, Illinois. He was a friendly, good natured, and very understanding man. One of his greatest joys was to serve as a operator of George Hedtke's 30 x 60 Aultman Taylor Tractor annually at steam shows, which he very well did since 1962. His vast knowledge about the Aultman Taylor tractor kept the huge show piece of 1919 in very good operation annually.
Ellis will be greatly missed by his family, friends and his many steam show associates. Prior to the time when Ellis retired in August 1962, he was employed for 42 years as a Standard Oil Company agent in the Scarboro, Illinois farming area.
Submitted by Emil F. Svanda, Box 111, Davis Junction, Illinois 61020.
This is a sad missal to advise of the passing of BEN FISHER a most sincere friend, farmer and a wonderfully well-qualified mechanic who built scale model Iron Men and also maintained a few full sized specimens in fine shape. His name must go on the Golden Honor Roll as Ben Fisher, understood to have been in his 80s, and a wheat farmer in the great Red River vicinity of Bowesmont, North Dakota. I came to know Ben through his wintering in nearby Arlington many years ago. He would work on scale models of Reeves, Case, Monitor and merry-go-round engines during the pleasant California winter seasons, also near his childrens' residences, and then truck them back (together with a heavy lathe and welding equipment) to finish the job at his farm. Ben had also restored a full-sized merry-go-round engine; a Buffalo-Pitts; and was working on a 13 HP Reeves, always busy, and happy. Ben was called to join the Great Society of Old Threshermen on January 15, just having seen the dawning of 1978. His dear wife had preceded him many years ago. Blessed is he who hath tilled the land and raised thereby his sustenance, and that for those of his brethren who could not do likewise.
Submitted by Frank J. Burris, 35640 Avenue F, Yucaipa, California 92399.
LESTER A. GAITHER, 80, of Brighton, Illinois passed away on January 4, 1978 after an illness of one year. Mr. Gaither was known by many in the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association, as he was a member for many years. He was a telegraph operator for 53 years, serving the Chicago and Alton Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio, Gulf Mobile and Ohio, Illinois Central Gulf and Burlington Railroads.
Submitted by Henry E. Kramer, R. R. 2, Box 224, Brighton, Illinois 62012.
ALBERT DEERK died suddenly of a heart attack at his Beatrice, Nebraska home December 30, 1977. He was born January 20, 1898. Al was a gentle man yet could be very outspoken. He lived a good wholesome life, was a very hard worker, had excellent health and was never sick. Prior to his retirement in 1953, Al owned and farmed a large wheat acreage near Chappell, Nebraska. He owned and operated large tractors and steam engines. For many years he graded roads, broke sod and threshed with steam power in the Chappell area. Al was a natural-born mechanic and machine man. There was nothing on a steam engine or thresher he could not repair. In February 1953, I bought Al's 65 Case steam engine. As a result, we became close personal friends for the next 25 years. We spent many a happy day restoring and playing with the Case steamer.
Submitted by Melvin Kestler, 1339 Evergreen Drive, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.
STEWART MUIR, 63, of Paisley, Ontario, Canada died February 12, 1978. He was a thresherman in his day. Served overseas in World War II with distinction. A charter member of the Huron Pioneer Threshing Association of Blyth, Ontario. Owned and operated a machine shop for 30 years. Was the most articulate machinist ever known, nothing he could not accomplish and with such ease and modesty. When it came to steam engines and guns, he was a master. He will be sadly missed for his friendship at the shows, the community of Paisley for his expertise, his family and friends.
Submitted by Ed Ferguson, 509 29th Street West, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.
ANSYLE M. McGURCK died January 7, 1978 at St. Joseph Hospital, Flint, Michigan, following a lengthy illness.
He was born on July 16, 1907 in Oaktown, Indiana. His abounding interest in steam led him into becoming a state certified boiler welder and eventually into a business of his own the McGurck Welding & Boiler Repair Company.
He was a member of the Michigan Boiler Inspectors Association, the Saginaw Valley Live Steam Association, Inc., and a charter member of the Thumb Region Steam & Gas Engine Association.
Because of his broad experience, his expertise in boiler repair work, and his mature judgement in mechanical matters, his advice and counsel were sought by many engine owners in the area.
May our risen Lord comfort Ansyle's bereaved wife, his two daughters, his grandchildren, and his many friends and fellow steam associates.
Submitted by Elmer G. Bickel, historian, Saginaw Valley Live Steam Association, 2224 Taft Street, Saginaw, Michigan 48602.
MARVIN W. BOETTCHER, 60, of Lydia, Minneapolis (P.O. Jordan) passed away February 6 from a heart attack.
He with his brother, Eitel owned and operated the Lydia Feed Mill and served farmers from a large area south of the Twin Cities. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces he served in Europe and in the Pacific during WW II. He was a member of the Scott-Carver Old Thresher Association and was its president for two years. He enjoyed collecting antique machinery and restoring it to a running condition. He annually displayed several pieces at the Old Thresher Days at Jordan. He also had several pieces in the process of rejuvenation.
He is survived by his wife Beatrice, one son, two daughters, and four brothers. He will be missed by his many friends.
Submitted by Reuben Boettcher, R.R. 2, Jordan, Minneapolis.
RAYMOND THACKREY, only child of Charles Wesley and Fannie Thackrey, was born at Reamsville in Smith County on July 25, 1900. He passed away at his home in Smith Center, Kansas on January 9, 1978. His early life was spent in the Reamsville rural school. When the telephone service was discontinued in the area, he accompanied his parents to Arkansas. He later returned to Smith County and to Smith Center where he has since resided. Raymond was much interested in machinery of all kinds and especially the equipment used in early day farming. He enjoyed attending threshers conventions each year. Raymond was a friendly person and he had many friends. He attended several churches in Smith Center and always knew where special services were held.
Submitted by John G. Brien, Athol, Kansas 66932.
PAUL C. HAZEL, 82, of 613 Myrtle Hill Road, Valley City, Ohio, known as Hart Scrabbles in the olden days, died November 12, 1977 after being hospitalized a short time. A carpenter by trade then retired to a small farm where he repaired garden tractors, lawn mowers, steam engines or anything that needed fixing. As a hobby he built model steam engines and miniature sawmills in his spare time. He was an active member in Civil Defense and in several steam engine clubs and enjoyed the shows. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends for all the good deeds he has done for everyone.
Submitted by Laurel D. Runals, Nickle Plate Diagonal Road, La Grange, Ohio, Route 1, 44050.
DONALD E. FIELD, 81, of 2834 Apulia Road, LaFayette, died November 9, 1977 at Community-General Hospital after a long illness. A native of the town of Geddes, he had lived in LaFayette since 1927.
He was a retired employee of the Onondaga County Highway Department. Prior to that he was employed by New Process Gear Company.
He was a member of Manlius Military Lodge 93,' & A.M. He was a charter member of the New York Steam Engine Association and a member of the Onativia United Methodist Church.
Submitted by Arthur Norton, 4254 Norton Road, Syracuse, New York 13215.
EDWIN P. NELSEN, 87, of Bird City, Kansas died January 29, 1978 after a lingering illness. Ed and his wife, Hazel, moved to a farm south of Bird City in 1914 and established a home. They raised a family of eight children. In 1949 they retired from farming and moved to Bird City.
Ed was always interested in steam end threshing outfits. He did custom threshing near Bird City until the combine replaced the threshing machine. He attended the last Antique Engine & Threshing Association show last summer and operated his own steam engine for a short time.
Ed was one of the early promoters and a charter member of the Bird City show. He loved to tell of his many experiences when he was working with steam engines.
He was a willing worker doing whatever he could to encourage young people to become interested in preserving equipment that was used in agriculture in the past. Ed also liked to visit and show snapshots to friends of the early threshing days.
Submitted by Melvin Wright, secretary, Tri-State Antique Engine & Threshers Association.
LAWRENCE E. WALKER, 76, died October 17, 1977, after a two-year illness of heart failure.
Lawrence was a very active member and hard worker of the Pioneer Engineer's Club of Rushville, Indiana and served as a director for three years.
He had owned and restored 7 steam engines and showed his 60 HP and 80 HP Case engines at Rushville and Tipton shows for the last several years. The 80 HP Case was the featured engine at the Rushville show in 1976, being the largest engine in the Club.
He was the 'Iron Man of the Month' in the January-February, 1976 issue of the IRON MEN ALBUM, and enjoyed reading every issue.
He and his wife, Helen, were usually among the first to arrive at steam shows over the country during the summers from Missouri to Minnesota, arriving there with their trailer and helping to prepare the engines for the show. He has met and made many friends over the years and helped solve a lot of steam engine problems. Some parts he made himself in his shop when restoring engines or when someone would need a part. People would write from everywhere for solutions to their problems. His desire was to keep the steam engine for posterity.
He also owned and operated his sawmill, powered with steam engines, before going into farming back in the 30s, then when he retired he returned to his love of sawmilling and did custom sawing, still using steam for the power.
Lawrence always had the Pioneer Engineer's Club first in his heart and looked forward every year to getting ready for it, cleaning and painting up his 80 Case so it would sparkle for the show. His son showed his engine last year when he was not able to be there. He will be sadly missed by all his family and steam friends and there will definitely be a gap in the Rushville show this year.
Submitted by his daughter, Mrs. William M. Ross, Paragon, Indiana 46166.
JAMES H. HILL, JR., passed away March 5, 1977 at his home in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Jim became a charter member of the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club, Inc. in 1964 and served as its lawyer throughout the years. In 1974, he donated a Corliss Steam Engine to the club. Jim enjoyed making small engines in his basement shop. Jim will be missed by club members.
Submitted by Paul Young, North Freedom, Wisconsin 53951.
BURT F. BERRIER, 84, died suddenly at his home at 1407 Grand Avenue, Canon City, Colorado on January 7, 1978. For over 30 years, he was a sales-service man for the J.I. Case Company, and other tractor companies. Many farmers all through the west had their grain separators properly adjusted by Mr. Berrier. During his retirement, he collected over 400 varieties of beans from around the world.
Submitted by W. Thayer, Box 2175, Wenatchee, Washington 98801.