James E. 'Bubba' Gast, 65, Valparaiso, Ind., passed away Dec. 29, 2003, at home. He was born in Michigan City, Ind., on Sept 4, 1938. He was a heavy equipment operator for the state of Indiana and retired in 1981. He was also a former Union Township Volunteer Fireman, a former member of the National Guard, a member of the Northern Indiana Historical Power Association and various other antique associations. He was also a founding member of the Old Oaken Bucket Steam Club. Survivors include two sisters, Betty (Parrill) Forbes of Knightsdale, N.C., and Sharon Shivley of Valparaiso; two nephews; a niece; three great-nieces; and one great-nephew.
Submitted by Mark A. Corson
Clarence Gerald Furr, 79, the foremost historic farm machinery collector in north Texas, passed away Jan. 24, 2004, at Gunter, Texas, after a long illness.
Born Sept. 3,1924, at Rhea's Mill, Texas, Gerald began farming at 15 and bought his first plot of farmland when he was 17. After a stint in the Merchant Marines from 1944 to 1946, he married Patsy Ruth Gilliand. They have three children, Brenda Guasted, Paul Furr, and Sharon Camp.
Gerald loved antique farm machinery and steam threshing. He preserved historic farm machinery and was instrumental in the formation of the Collin County (Texas) Farm Museum. He held the first modern threshing demonstrations in north Texas about 1970. His earthly pride and joys were his original threshing rigs, including a 28-inch John Deere pulled by a Rumely Oil Pull.
For many years, Gerald paired his threshers with a 25 HP 1923 Minneapolis steamer that Ivan Burns and Harold Ottaway found for him. With the pop lifting at 151-psi and everyone pitching hard into the big Case separator to get the governor to lift, his smile was hard to miss. He loved a hard-working steam engine, and any time he was impressed his trademark, 'That's neat, that's neat!' was sure to be heard.
He saw farming as a divine calling and was a friend to all. He served on innumerable boards at the Rhea's Mill Baptist Church and other organizations.
I have no doubt that he is, right now, enjoying fellowship with all the thresher men who have gone on before, and that he and Ritzman, Blaker, Baker and Ottaway are getting up a celestial crew to thresh a little.
Submitted by Jim Templin