''The Country School'', Lavern Kammerude's last painting.
WESLEY PITMAN, born May 13, 1908 in Minneola, Kansas, died January 14, 1990 at Garden City, Kansas. A resident of Scott City, Kansas most of his life, he was a farmer, stockman and a restorer of antique engines and windmills. Six of these windmills stand guard at the east side of Scott City. There wasn't an engine or transmission he wouldn't try to repair. If he couldn't find a part he would make it, according to his nephew, Larry Pitman. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and was a life member of the American Legion, which he had served as Commander. Wesley farmed and raised cattle until he retired in '74. The cattleman was also a stockholder in the Scott County Feed yard, where one of his restored windmills stands guard.
Mr. Pitman was also known for his collection of steam engines and small gas powered engines. Among his restorations were a 60 HP Case, a 10-20 Mogul, a Waterloo Boy, a 16-30 Rumely Oil Pull and a Heider. He also collected John Deere tractors, having one from every year from 1937 through the mid 50's, with the exception of the two war years. For the past 25 years he showed his Case steamer and gas tractors at the Tri State Engine and Thrashers Show in Bird City, Kansas. Mr. Pitman will be greatly missed by all.
Submitted by his friends, Tri State Antique Engine and Thrashers Assn., Bird City, Kansas.
THOMAS A. KEYSER, a lifetime resident of New Athens, Ohio entered 'the land of the Golden Whistles' on December 3, 1989. He was born on October 10, 1907, the son of Charles & Rose Keyser.
He was the eldest of six children and is survived by his wife, Wilma, whom he married on November 10, 1930, and one son, four daughters, 23 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, one brother and one sister.
Tom worked in the coal mines but retired as the custodian of Franklin High School, New Athens, Ohio after serving for 25 years. He was the Stumptown Steam Threshers Show watchman for the last 14 years. He was a charter member of the New Athens Volunteer Fire Department and a lifetime member of the New Athens Methodist Church.
He will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.
Submitted by William Flowers, Sec, Stumptown Steam Threshers Club
EDWARD A. MATTIS of Arcanum, Ohio, age 43, passed away October 25, 1989. Ed was the son of Kenneth M. Mattis (dec'd) and Audrey Mattis.
He was currently on the Board of Directors of the Darke County Steam Threshers Association and was also past president and treasurer of the club.
He is survived by his mother, Audrey Mattis; a brother, Kenneth Mattis; a sister, Ruth Ann Mattis; and a nephew, Robbie Mattis.
Ed will be missed by all steam friends of the area.
Submitted by John S. Holpdi, 7543 Delisle Fourman Road, Arcanum, Ohio 45304.
R.D. 'DICK' WAGGONER, 90, of Gravette, formerly of Ottawa, Illinois, died Tuesday, December 26, at the Gravette Manor Nursing Home.
Mr. Waggoner was born February 18, 1899, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to William Zeb and Nancy Adeline (Bailey) Waggoner. He had owned and operated a sawmill and was a former owner of an Oldsmobile dealership in Ottawa. He was active in the Central States Threshermen Reunion, Pontiac, Illinois. He also owned several steam engines which were used on his saw mills. He was a member of Starved Rock Yacht Club in Illinois, Auto Dealership Association in Ottawa, and he was a pilot. He moved to Gravette in 1966 from Florida.
He is survived by his wife, the former Harriett Strait; a son, Robert D. Waggoner of Delran, New Jersey; a daughter, Delphine Smith, of Bloomington, Indiana; four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Sunday December 31, at Gladfelter Chapel in Ottawa.
Submitted by Mrs. R.D. Waggoner, P.O. Box 367, Gravette, Arkansas 72736.
We regret the recent passing of MYRTLE (BROWN) DELL of Otterville, Ontario, Canada on December 18, 1989. She was born in South Norwich, Ontario on August 5, 1926. She married Clark Dell on May 15, 1954. They lived on a farm on the 10th concession of South Norwich Township, then moved to Milldale a few miles away.
Clark, an engineer, was very busy with boilers and this left many things for Myrtle. She earned her way to the platform of an engine by firing many boilers on tobacco farms. This way she proved, without papers, she was competent to run the Baker, Waterloo Sawyer or the upright. She could handle them all.
She will be sadly missed by many in this area.
Submitted by Rick Singer, RR 2, Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada N4G 4G7.
LAVERN KAMMERUDE was born December 10, 1915 and passed away September 26, 1989.
Capturing memories on canvas, Kammerude spent the years since his retirement from dairy farming painting scenes from his boyhood days on a southwestern Wisconsin dairy farm.
Lavern worked on the back porch of the house where he lived with his wife, Mildred, near Blanchardville, only a few miles from the farm where he was born and raised. Painting from memory, this self-taught artist recreated farm life from 1900 to 1945 in vivid detail. He started painting when he retired from the dairy farm at the age of 55. When he was 73 years old he had 200 'plus' original paintings to his credit. He painted what he knew and remembered. Farm scenes of days gone by sprang to life on canvas through masterful strokes from his brush.
'I just put the scenes down the way I remember them,' he said. 'I think people like to look at my paintings because they're of a time when there wasn't much tension, when everybody seemed a little happier.'
Those who have viewed and purchased Lavern's paintings confirm his knack for recreating the most minute details and recapturing the past. They talk to each other and the artist about the particulars of silo filling, haying time, milking time, harvest, shredding, threshing and feeding the threshing crew, trips to the cheese factory with cans of milk, and the annual excitement of the county fair.
These nostalgic scenes have awakened memories in many, and now are being used by museums and colleges to teach the history of the era portrayed bringing to those who didn't live during those times a sense of how dairy farming formed a community and culture.
In 1986, Lavern was awarded the Governor's Heritage Award. Then-governor Anthony Earl, when presenting the plaque, asked, 'How many people, after a long career as a dairy farmer, would start an ambitious second career as an artist?
'Lavern has done it and done it well, and in doing so has brought pleasure not only to himself and his family, but to a lot of other people. He portrays the countryside that shaped our state and made Wisconsin special. And he has brought back a quieter time, a time when we related to others on a day-to-day basis, when we knew our neighbors and helped them.
' For information about prints and limited edition prints, contact: Regan Sales Company, P.O. Box 117, Plato Center, Illinois 60170.
Lavern Kammerude will be missed but fortunately for us, his paintings have preserved the past. This is the legacy of Lavern Kammerude.
Submitted by Gerry Regan, Regan Sales Company, P.O. Box 117, Plato Center, Illinois 60170.
STERLING 'SLIM' LEACH passed away November 29, 1989 at the age of 72 after a long illness. He had been a life long member of the Central States Threshermans Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois. A director for many years, he also worked on the sawmill many years. He spent his life as a mechanic the best. During his younger years in the Depression he rode the world's tallest Silo Motordrome with a motorcycle. He also crashed burning board walls at fairs; a great stunt rider, he never had a broken bone from riding. In the early 70's he helped restore a 10 ton Holt crawler that was pulled out of a junkyard, also a 20-40 Oil Pull Tractor that he owned with his brothers. He pulled the Illinois Sesquicenten-nial Float at Springfield, Illinois with a steam engine in 1968.
Slim was well liked and gave a lot to the Threshermans and will be missed by many.
Submitted by Bruce Leach, 1310 N. Aurora St., Pontiac, Illinois 61 764.