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