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 &
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
He will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.
Submitted by William Flowers, Sec, Stumptown Steam Threshers
EDWARD A. MATTIS of Arcanum, Ohio, age 43, passed away October
25, 1989. Ed was the son of Kenneth M. Mattis (dec’d) and
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Lavern Kammerude will be missed but fortunately for us, his
paintings have preserved the past. This is the legacy of Lavern
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.