December 2018 President’s Message

It is hard to believe that another year has gone by. By my estimation, 2017 was a blur. There are now more tractor related activities than ever and Green Club members are participating in almost every one locally and then some. Green Club started our year with selling raffles at the Peotone Toy Show, went on the include several guest speakers at our meetings and then came the “Tractor Season.” On nearly any given weekend there was a tractor show, a tractor pull, a tractor ride, somewhere within the reach of Green Club members. Members attended the Morris Tractor Ride, the Herscher Historical Ride, OTFS, Will County Thresherman’s, Penfield I&I Show, our own mini-show at the Kankakee County Fair and more in between. Then came the Half Century Show which by all estimations was the Greatest Tractor Show on Earth! Ok, so one of the greatest shows. Then came the Fall. There were more Antique Tractor Pulls and more participants that ever! This seems to be quite a trend and a direction that is enjoyed not only by us more mature folks, but did you see all those younger folks out there pulling. I hope we continue to support this. It seems likely that we like them tractors in motion, makin’ smoke and getting ‘er done.

2018 will be another busy year. There will be many rides and shows for CIGC members to attend. OTFS is featuring Charter Members and John Deere, Will County Thresherman’s have a new venue in Wilton Center and the National Oliver Show is in Penfield. Oh, did I mention the Central Illinois Green Club is having a tractor ride called “Ride the River.” Everyone, remember those Club members who have passed and have a “Safe and Joyous Holiday.” See everyone in the New Year and please, have a really good one.

This month’s feature is in remembrance of Leo Dumas who left us 1 year ago December 4th, 2016. Leo grew up in the Goodrich area the son of Paul Dumas who was also a farmer. Leo graduated from Herscher High School and began working for Legris Manufacturing located on Old Lehigh road right away. He met Dorothy “Dotty” Kamp from Chebanse, married and had 6 children. Sandy, Becky, Nancy, Judy, Karen and Suzie. They lived in Aroma Park, Manteno and finally settling in Goodrich. Leo grain farmed but also had cattle, hogs, chickens and rabbits. Becky tells Nancy, Judy, Karen and Suzie. They lived in Aroma Park, Manteno and finally settling in Goodrich. Leo grain farmed but also had cattle, hogs, chickens and rabbits. Becky tells us that they (the daughters) were his ranch hands, having to care for the animals and help run the farm. Becky tells us that Leo enjoyed his place in Sebring Florida very much and in later years couldn’t wait to get the crops out so he could go there. Leo enjoyed antiquing, helping his neighbors with projects and traveling to Hawaii. Leo also enjoyed his tractors in later years. He collected and restored several John Deeres including a 4020 that was left to him by the owner of Legris  Manufacturing. He rode it in the 2016 Herscher Parade and was very proud of it. Leo also owned and restored his dad’s International MTA. Mark Chapman a friend and Club member said that Leo kept good care of his equipment while farming and that Mark and his father Eldon purchased a 4450 at Leo’s farm sale. Mark says that Leo was pleased to see that something he had stayed where he could see it used. Mark also bought a John Deere 630 from Leo when he decided to downsize. Mark had a special connection with the tractor prior to Leo’s ownership. He is very happy to have made the purchase for 2 reasons.

John and Nancy Evans shared a memory which I had forgotten. Leo was a Charter member of CIGC. He was also a director in the beginning. At the beginning it became obvious that the Club needed a place to store all of its things and a way to bring them to the Shows. It was decided that a pull type trailer would be perfect for the job and one was selected. The problem was that being a young new Club, we did not have the cash to make the purchase. Leo stepped up and loaned the Club the money, interest free! Over time, the Club paid Leo and Dotty back. It has been a good purchase for the Club and still serves us well. Thanks Leo and & Dotty!

November 2017 President’s Message

On October 19th, 2017 the Kankakee Community College Foundation held their annual meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn Convention Center. Mark Chapman and I attended and sat with the recipient of our Scholarship. I want you to meet Nicole Neiner who is the 2017 recipient of the CIGC Agriculture/Horticulture Scholarship. She lives in Manteno, IL and will transfer to a larger University upon completion of KCC. She seems quite bright, easy to talk to and I am sure she is a good fit for our Scholarship. The Olde Time Farm Show has invited CIGC members to ride on the people mover for the Bradley Christmas Parade on December 1. They are meeting at 5pm to decorate the float at the Perry Farm. They will be distributing (5) 5 gallon buckets of candy to the children along the way. The parade starts at 5:30.

This month’s featured member is someone you all think you know well, but do you? John is 69 years young and was born in Fairbury, IL to Claude and Sally Fulton. John’s father was related to the beloved Bishop Fulton Sheen who helped Claude get his start in farming. Claude sharecrop farmed near Chatsworth until 1952 when he was able to buy his own farm in Herscher, IL. John was about four years old. John attended Herscher Grade School and Herscher High School where he met his sweetheart and now wife Loretta. John worked at Roper Corporation upon graduation until he was drafted in March of 1968. John did basic at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri and then was sent to San Antonio, Texas for medical training to become an Army Medic. He was then sent to Dong Kam (sp???) Vietnam to join the 9th Infantry. John earned his Medal of Valor as a member of the 9th Infantry. On May 13th, 1969 during the Tet Offensive of 1968 in Ben Tre’, Vietnam, John was critically wounded while attached to another Army unit. The unit was on patrol of a trail along a river when a mine exploded injuring other soldiers. John was severely injured by a land mine as he attempted to give aid to the injured soldiers thus earning his Purple Heart. Through a miraculous series of events and the actions of his fellow officers, John was able to survive the incident and return home to Herscher and to marry is wife of 47 years, Loretta. John has maintained a relationship with many of those soldiers yet today. Together Fulton’s have 3 living children, Monica, Brad and Brent. A fourth child Eric died from spinal meningitis at the age of 2. John remembers that Eric was his combine child who, at the age of 2 could spot all brands of combines and would have to test them out whenever he got near one.

John retired from the Army August 20th, 1970 after a long recovery from his injuries. He returned to work at the Roper Corporation and served as a personnel manager working with Corporate heads Bill McGrath, Jamie Gibson and Max Hoover. John says he was treated very well and was respected by Roper Corporate officials. In 1974 John’s father passed leaving the farm to become a full-time job for John. At one time he was farming nearly 1000 acres. John also became involved with Manteno Veteran’s Home where he worked for 13 years. His duties included Chief of Security and Advocate for the Homeless Veterans. John is currently the Commander of Chapter 34 of the Disabled American Veterans and a member of the Kankakee Veterans Assistance Commission as well as member of the Herscher Legion. John is also member of the Kankakee County 100 Club, the Kankakee County Corn Growers as well as CIGC, OTFS, WCTA, Slow Boys and probably a few I missed.

So here might be the part you don’t know. After returning home from Vietnam, John decided to go back to school at Kankakee Community College (KCC). He holds 3 Associate Degrees. He became President of the KCC Alumni Association for many years and established the KCC Veteran’s Club and was president of it too. He was asked to join the KCC Foundation Board because of his dedicated work at KCC with the Alumni Association. In 2009 John was the first recipient of the Alumni Award and immediately it was renamed the “John M. Fulton Distinguished Alumni Award.” The recipients exemplify the following: Outstanding success and distinction in chosen field, Humanitarian service that has proven greatly beneficial to society, Continued interest in/support of education and community colleges, Overcoming life’s obstacles and Completion of a recognized program of instruction at KCC. John considers the Award a “great honor.” Did I mention he is only 69 years young? That’s a lot to do in a short amount of time!

As you may already know, John and his sons collect IH and Case tractors. I also hear that there are a couple of strays that have invaded the shed too. Maybe we can get a tour someday? John told me that he really enjoys being a member of all of the Clubs. He says “it’s all about the people you meet and the friends you make.”
Thank you, John, for who you are. — Craig

October 2017 President’s Message

Summer has really hung on a long time. As I write this I am wondering when will Fall arrive. Many of you are probably busy farming or helping farm. I just want to remind everyone that the combines and other equipment are out. If you are operating on the roadway with farm machinery you must have an SMV sign on all the equipment and if you are operating on the roads after dark you need emergency lighting. And of course, shut the machine off while you are working on it. Think of how much fuel you are going to save by shutting off the engine. Let’s be safe out there boys and girls.

On a different note, the Club ride was very good. I believe 16 tractors and 21 riders. The weather was perfect, the scenery was interesting and the company we had was great. Lunch in Herscher was very good as were Pearson’s Pastries. The trek took us 68 miles I am told through Kankakee, Will, Grundy and Livingston Counties. We may have even got to Ford, I’m not sure. We moved right along all day. Thanks to Jerry Snedecore and Jim Moody for planning a special day. Good job guys!

This month’s feature are long time members of CIGC Jack and Sharla Grosso. Jack grew up in Limestone Twp. Across the street from the new Limestone
Fire building. He attended Hawkins Grade School and later graduated from Herscher High School. He and his brother Joe own their father John’s business, Grosso Construction
located on Rt. 17. Jack says that his father John worked for Triangle Construction building roads, some as far away as Carbondale. He later opened his own business working such notable
projects such as Rt. 113, Rt. 17 and the excavation for Meadowview Shopping Center. John also ran a small repair shop, working on tractors, welding and general repair. John’s dad interestingly took 2 row planters and made them into 4 row planters. Needless to say, John learned to drive a truck at a young age and how to repair equipment. Jack adds that both his
Grandpa Grosso and his grandpa Ohrt farmed with mules here in Limestone Township. Jack says their business today consists of road maintenance, ditching for farmers and maintaining waterways. Jack and Sharla’s son Bob (John III) is part of the Grosso business. Bob also runs a trucking business of his own.

Sharla is also a home town person. Sharla grew up in West Kankakee (yes there really was a West Kankakee) and graduated from Kankakee High School. She worked for such notable companies as Dairy Queen, LeBeau GMC and Commonwealth Edison. Jack and Sharla have 2 sons, Bob and Bill who lives in Indianapolis and pilots for the United Postal Service (UPS). All
told, Grosso have 4 grandchildren. Sharla also told me of and interesting job she had working for the State of Illinois Survey Team. She and her companions would search areas for American Indian relics before any construction was allowed. Sharla work before the bike paths were added to the Kankakee River State Park digging and seining along the River. Along the way they found beads, stones such as ax heads and metal used by the Indians. She says it was quite easy to find. Sharla is also a quilter and a Genealogists.

I asked what was the couple’s most interesting thing to do. Sharla says they like to travel. They have been to Italy which was very interesting, France and Alaska. They have also been to Ireland as Sharla has some Irish heritage. She thought it was beautiful. But, their best trip was to Australia and New Zealand. She said it was interesting driving on the wrong side of the road from Sidney to Melbourne. Both were beaming so I am sure there is a lot more to the story.

Jack collects Allis Chalmers, Ford, Oliver and belongs to the Ford Ferguson Association. He likes to go to the Conventions. Jack says he has enjoyed CIGC, the tractor rides, the plow days and all of the places we have gone. Thanks Jack and Sharla for being members of CIGC. We enjoy your company. — Craig

September 2017 President’s Message

It has been a very busy month since the last newsletter. It seems the months of July and August are prime tractor time. Everything from 4th of July at Bonfield to Pull in the Park at Chebanse in early September goes by so quickly. I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone personally for helping out with the Club trailer. As you may know we had an idea at OTFS to combine OTFS and CIGC trailers to help cut down on the amount of work to do at the Half century Show. CIGC members worked side by side with Dan and Denise and others from OTFS to make that happen. I think it was a big success. Bill Hengl and Carol Churilla and many from CIGC manned the tent all weekend. I missed an opportunity to take pictures of the display and workers but I will tell you it looked very professional. Thank you so much.

Our trailer also went to Pontiac to the Thresherman’s Show. Thanks to Nancy Evans, Ann and others who were able to man the trailer. It looks like they had a good show and sold lots of tickets. Speaking of which. We really need to have members step up and sell some of those tickets. I’ll have them at the meeting.

This month’s feature is Don and Judy Buck. They are long time members of the Green Club, Olde Time Farm Show as well as volunteers for other organizations. They are people I think you should know more about.

Don Buck lived in Grant Park, IL until he was 7. His family then moved to Limestone Twp. to the farm we all know as the Stoney Brook Farm owned by the Small Family. It’s located at the intersection of Rt 113 and 3000N Rd. He and his father farmed many acres in the nearby area. They also raised cattle. Don graduated from Herscher High School. While working for both Sale Barns (a place to bring animals for sale, one near Rt 50 and Larry Power and one Located near Exline) he met his lovely wife Judy who also worked at the Sale Barns serving food with her mother. They married in 1963 and had 3 children, Tina, James (Jim) and Michael. In 1968 the tenant farm was sold and Don went to town to work at Armstrong’s until 1994. After retiring from Armstrong’s in 1994, Don worked for Benoit Farms loading planes (crop dusters) and helping Benoit’s farm their large farm for 18 years.

Judy was born in Seattle, WA. Her family came to the Kankakee area when she was quite young eventually settling in the Herscher area. She also attended Herscher High School but did not know Don until after high school. Judy worked at St. Mary’s as a nurse’s aide for a time before having children. After Tina was born, Judy became a stay at home mom for the most part. Here is the interesting part… while caring for their own children, Judy and Don fostered more than 35 other children. Wow! Judy says the children were brought to her mostly by Catholic Charities and many were infant but some were as old as 16. Wow! Today, Judy still volunteers at St. Mary’s one day per week. She also gives one day per week to Hospice of Kankakee. She reads to patients and provides companionship. Wow! Talk about that helper gene!

I happened to be at the Half Paddy Day at St. Patrick’s Church in Kankakee a few years back. They give away a trip to Ireland each year and guess who won. Don and Judy of course. They
talked to me about what a good time they had with 8 of their friends some from Green Club. They also talked about the same group going to Alaska and having such a good time. It does sound like they would like to go back to Ireland. Me too.

So, this is my thought. Did you ever notice that whatever activity we are doing that the Bucks are always there, helping. If we are serving food, Judy is helping. If we are working on the Ride the River, Don is helping. If we are trying to sell from the trailer, guess who’s there? Did you know that your newsletter is picked up by the Bucks in Manteno, stuffed in an envelope and mailed in a timely fashion by guess who? The Bucks. There are many people in our Green Club family who help our organization do whatever we need to do but, I think credit should be given where credit is due. To the Bucks, thank you for all you do for us, it is noticed and we all appreciate what you do.

— Craig

August 2017 President’s Message

I want to take an opportunity to thank Chuck Quick for setting up the Central Illinois Green Club display at the Kankakee County Fair. The display was top notch and represented the Club very well. I would also like to thank those who brought tractors and equipment to the display. Exhibitors were John Evans, Brad and John Fulton, Larry Quick, Ann Roach, Jerry Snedecore and Harley and Carol Buente. Thanks Chuck!

This month’s feature members are John and Diane Smolkovich. The Smolkovich’s are charter members of the Central Illinois Green Club and have lived and farmed in rural Cabery most of
their adult lives. John was born in Essex where is parents Ignace and Anna farmed. In 1942 their farm located on the road between Essex and South Wilmington (4000N Rd today) was bought by Peabody Coal causing the Smolkovich’s to relocate to Herscher, IL with their 11 children. John graduated from Herscher High School and soon joined the Army reserves (thank you for your service). He then worked at Caterpillar for a few years while building his farm and family.

Diane (Hoffman) Smolkovich grew up in the Cullom/ Kempton area and graduated from what is now called Tri Point High School. She is the oldest of 4 and attended St. Mary’s Nursing School in Kankakee. Diane worked at St Mary’s Hospital, Riverside Medical Center, the Fox Center for the Disabled and retired in 2010 with 39 years of service from Miller (thank you for your service too!). The Smolkovich’s have been married for 51 years and have 5 children whom all farm, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

The Smolkovich’s have mostly John Deere antique tractors and farmed with them too. They have an A, B, G, D, N and an H. They also have a 400 Farmall which belonged to a neighbor. I asked which one is the favorite? John says it’s the G. John says that it got used a lot on his farm. It belonged to his dad. The Smolkovich’s say that they enjoyed the trips to Rockville Covered Bridges most but have participated in many other events such as the Party in the Park in South Wilmington, plowing at Rodney Schwark’s and Ride the River. Thanks for being members of the Central Illinois Green Club.
– Craig

July 2017 President’s Message

It has been a very busy summer. There were 14 CIGC members in attendance at the Morris Tractor Ride. It was 3 days of very warm travel in the Morris, Gardner and Marseilles area. It was really a lot of fun to reacquaint ourselves with old friends from the Heritage Tractor Ride especially Mary Beth and Max. The scenery was good, the food was great and the tour of “D” Construction was impressive.

I believe there were 19 members in attendance at the Covered Bridge Ride in Rockville, In. Joe Warters and crew put on another amazing tour of the area. The weather was perfect, the route took us to some new places and some old, and the food was its usual best. At one stop the 4H moms made 22 pies for our lunch. You name the fruit, it was there and so good. If you look, I already have the dates for next year. See you there.

OTFS is already in the books. There were a lot of CIGC tractors and members in attendance. Thanks everyone for helping with the trailer. We sold a few things, and socialized a lot. I will bring it to the next meeting just in case you need a new shirt or hat. OTFS appeared to be successful and the tractor pull was a big hit. We only had a few players for the Tractor Games but Les, Dave and few others had a little fun too.

—– Feature —–

If you know me, then you know I am always interested in the How and the Why. So, traveling on the Morris Tractor Ride it occurred to me that the first Heritage Tractor Adventure had a profound effect on me and many others. The first ride was the brainchild of Max Armstrong and Mary Beth DeGrush. It was something new at least in Illinois and provided the place for a group of people to cement relationships that have now lasted more than 15 years. Out of those relationships John and Nancy Evans became friends with Sue and Joe Warters. John and Nancy on invitation went the Rockville, IN area to a show that Sue and Joe had told them about. Not long after the HTR there began talk about a new club being formed by John and Nancy. By Laws were written and by the end of 2002 Central Illinois Green Club was born.

Upon returning from the HTA, I decided it was about time we got the Evans’ story. Here is what I learned in their own words.

Nancy Evans grew up in Kankakee the eldest of five. Worked at St. Mary’s and Riverside Health Equipment. My retirement dream was to learn how to quilt. After joining the Quiltmakers of Kankakee it became my passion and the heart of my soul. John grew up on the Evans Family Centennial farm his grandfather purchased on September 25, 1900. Farming all his life along with many city jobs he retired from Azzarelli Construction in 1994, continued farming until January 1st 2017. During his Herscher High School Days working for Wheeler Tractor & Equipment in Kankakee he always dreamed of owning the John Deere numbered series built in the 50’s. Married in Las Vegas in 1990 we began our dreams. We have four children, yours (Mary Beth & John Jr.) mine (Jim) and ours(Julie), Eight grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. It took me three years to make my first quilt and twelve years for John to gather those Deere’s. Along John’s journey he’s collected IH, Allis Chalmers, Ferguson, and added a few garden tractors to his collection. We have traveled the United States looking for those JD’s and have made many friends at the Farm Shows across the US and Canada. Over the last 27 years we have rode in many tractor rides and parades. Our most memorable was the first Heritage Tractor Adventure when Max Armstrong asked us to be two of the 20 antique tractors leading the ride and riding the Chicago Land Speedway track with the JD 80 and the JD40 Utility. We have made the greatest friends of all in this Central Illinois Green Club.

I asked what was the best trip or vacation? I got a multiple answer. John said Ireland, Nancy said the summer they traveled from Key West to Seattle then on to San Diego. They talked about Stage Coach Races, they talked about a Tractor trip to Canada where no one spoke English but yet they were able to get their ideas across. They have driven to all 48 lower states and flew to Alaska and Hawaii. John says the “Best trip is the next one.” Nancy says “We really enjoyed it (tractors) and making friends for 15 years this November. We never dreamed it would become as big as it is.”

So, what if Max and Mary Beth never had the first HTA? What if Nancy and John had not met Joe and Sue? What if John and Nancy had not had signed on to create the Central Illinois Green Club? The next time you see John and Nancy ask them for a story, tractors or not. I’ll bet they have some more good ones. Thanks for what you both have done. I have a lot of good friends past and present because of you both.

Craig Long

June 2017 President’s Message

If you have been on almost any tractor ride in the area, you will be familiar with the deep infectious laugh of this month’s feature member. John Fahs is a native Peotone farmer. He grew up just northwest of Peotone on his parent’s farm where he still lives today. He says that when he was a very young man he and his father farmed about 400 acres and that his dad was always interested in new farming techniques. His dad was one of the early guys to shell corn from the field with a pull type Ottawa 500D sheller. He says that his dad went quickly to a John Deere 45 combine with shelling capabilities when offered to him by the Dralle John Deere dealership in Peotone. John also said that his dad was the first in the area to have a corn dryer at home. John’s mom worked at the Manteno State Hospital and was an avid fisherman. John says later in life his parents spent a lot of winters on the Texas Gulf, fishing.

John tells me that in 1957 he went to work at Bennett Industries of Peotone. While they were known for their plastic 5 gallon pails in modern times, they were originally a steel company involved in bridge making. Bennetts made girders up to 130 feet in length that were used to build bridges in IL, KY, TN and MI during the construction of the Eisenhower Interstate System. Bennetts also made expansion joints and “finger” joints to connect the bridges to the roadways. John says Bennetts still makes steel pails in Peotone today. John adds that he worked for Bennetts at their peak of employing over 400 workers. As a maintenance worker John helped develop the processes for welding iron and later injection molding. He helped set up  manufacturing in several of their plants around the US while working for them. As a side note, Bennetts hired young men and women during the summer months and farmers during the winter for extra help. At one point John’s dad worked for him as a machinist.

I first became familiar with John on the 1st Heritage Tractor Adventure. He was driving his Super W6 International. He reminded me that he was parked near John Evan’s 80 John Deere in front of the Rialto Theater in downtown Joliet. We saw him on many rides on the SW6. Today he enjoys the rides on his 1970 International 656 Gold Demonstrator. It’s a hydro shift and has the classic red with gold hood and fenders. It always looks good. John also has a ’54 SMTA.

When I was talking to John I could tell that last tractor he has was very special to him. John tells me that he still owns his dad’s ’45 Farmall M. He tells me that it was ordered during the Great War and that it took about a year to arrive. It was purchased from the IH dealer in Manteno. John thinks the owner was Ed Smith who was a short-wave radio enthusiast. He also believes that Don Baker was a mechanic there and that Don and his brother Fritz later became the owners. He added that the M cost about $1,100.00 and was delivered with 11” tires and magneto. It was their main tractor for many years and was upgraded with power steering, live hydraulics, disk brakes and 1 paint job. I can tell when he talks about the M, it is very special to him.

John belongs to CIGC as well as WCTA, Chapter 10 IH, OTFS and Slow Boys. John, thanks for being a member of the Green Club.

Craig Long

May 2017 Presidents Message

I wanted to take a moment to thank Chad Miller from Kankakee Farm Bureau. I think the work of the Farm Bureau is so important right now. If you have the ability to go to their website or in particular if you can receive emails, This Week in IFB and the IFB Legislative Alerts, we as farmers can stay informed about current topics that affect us. Chad emailed this week to say that the Great Lakes Belt Railway did in fact move forward as he predicted. This and several other pieces of legislation need to be watched as they will impact us regionally. I think that the Kankakee County Farm Bureau also needs to be commended for the $76,000 dollars that has been awarded in Scholarships to local students and for keeping the Kids Day on the Farm program going. Remember we are now about 1% of the population as farmers.

We need to stay informed. On a lighter note, this month I would like you to meet new member, Dick Smerz. Dick and his wife Lillian live near Wilton Center, IL (Manhattan). Both Dick and his wife were born and raised in Chicago. They married in 1955 and moved to Evergreen Park. Lillian worked out of the home until their 4 children arrived and then became a home maker. Their children are Mike of Florida, Linda Naughton of Manhattan, Paul of Oswego and Judy Abderhalden of Naperville. The Smerz have 9 grandchildren and 3 greatgrandchildren.

Dick worked as a Union Construction Carpenter for 55 years. He worked on several large construction projects including McCormick Place and the Deep Tunnel Project. Dick retired in 1991 to Wilton Center with his lovely wife Lillian. Dick served in the Navy during the Korean War. Thanks Dick for your service.

I asked Dick what brought him to Wilton Center to retire. I received an answer that I did not expect. I expected that it was a nice quiet place to retire, that is was near St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where he was drawn to Father Sal, that there were a lot of nice people living there like Jim Toepper for whom Dick helped farm for many years. Nope, that is not the answer I got.

Dick told me a very different story. Dick said that during the Great War (WWII) he worked on a farm for 3 summers for the Crop Corps. WHAT? I said. Dick said that the Crop Corps was a program during the war operated by the Farm Bureau in which young men went to the country to help farmers as live-in helpers. This was done to aid the farm efforts while the men were gone to War. I did not know this! Dick worked 3 summers on a farm owned by Earl Kenison in Wilton Center. During those 3 summers, he learned a lot from the Kenison family about farming including how to operate a tractor. That would be the very same ’41 M you see Dick driving today. In fact, he drove that tractor on all 13 Heritage Tractor Adventures. I know this! That’s where I first
met Dick! I also know his daughter Linda drives her ’41 H on the rides too! In fact, you will see them again in June at the Morris Tractor Ride (formerly the Heritage Tractor Adventure).
Dick was also awarded the “Golden Hitch Award” for participating in all 13 HTA’s. Dick says he joined our Club because he likes our “Ride the River” ride. He says it is so scenic. Dick has several other tractors including an F20, an F30 and a 240 utility, oh and Linda’s 41 H.

And so, for a very quiet guy, I found out some very interesting things that I did not know. One more thing. Ask Dick what his age was when he graduated from Joliet Junior College. WHAT!

Dick, I have decided that I need to step up my game. -Craig

April 2017 President’s Message

By the time you get your newsletter the first tractor ride of the season may be in the books already. Remember the Slow Boys ride is on April 8th. It’s time to get those tractors out and ready for the season ahead. There are many drives and pulls over the summer including the Half Century of Progress Show and the Morris Tractor Ride (formerly the Heritage Tractor Adventure) which we haven’t seen in a while. Locally there will be Olde Time Farm Show, Will County Thresherman’s Reunion, the Bonfield Fourth of July parade and pull and the Pull in the Park in Chebanse. Don’t forget our own Club’s rides at Herscher and to the Veteran’s Home. I’m sure there are many, many others to attend. If you don’t see them listed in our newsletter, drop me a line so I can add them to the list.

This month’s feature is Nancy and Jerry Snedecor of rural Bonfield, long time members of the CIGC, and been known to participate in many tractor rides. Nancy tells me she grew up in Lincoln, IL as one of 6 children. While retired now she is very active at Church and serves on the Board at Prairie View Lutheran Home in Danforth, IL. Nancy formerly worked at Country Companies in Bloomington, IL, at the Bonfield Grade School and retired from Meece Engineering. She has two stepsons Kevin and Eric Kirschner who live locally.

Jerry grew up in southern Illinois near El Dorado on a chicken farm. They raised 24,000 chickens per year. Jerry spent a couple years in the Army, received his training at Ft. Leonard-Wood and later served in Manheim Germany. Thank you for your service Jerry. He later became an employee of Caterpillar Inc. in Joliet, IL where Jerry retired from. He has two sons Matthew and Jeff. Both Jerry and Nancy lost their spouses and found each other in 1999. They have spent many hours and miles trail riding horses and touring the Country on a Gold Wing motorcycle. After retiring Jerry became a driver who delivers camping trailers. He has delivered to all lower 48 states, Alaska, Canada and New Foundland. Needless to say, Jerry likes to drive.

The Snedecors own several tractors each with a good story. The first is a’48 International “C.” Jerry helped Nancy’s mom out on her farm during a family hardship and in return she sold it to him for 25 cents. The second is a ‘51 International “M” which Nancy’s husband owned that she sold Jerry for $100. He restored it and built and ride-along seat for Nancy. In recent years Jerry and Nancy bought an International 656 from Nancy’s cousin which now serves as their tractor ride transportation.

The Snedecors regularly participate in many different tractor rides including local ones. But when talking about rides they told me about several worth telling about. In 2012 they took their ’51 “M” to the Mount Rushmore Ride in South Dakota. Their ride was two and a half days at Custer’s State Park, Mt. Rushmore and to Deadwood. Jerry also told about treading the needle, a portion of the ride full of switch backs that tested the endurance of a lot of tractors and drivers. Along the way, they saw buffalo up close and personal, burrows who were demanding apples and rode on a steam train. There was also something about the purple house and the “pie lady” that you should ask them about. Might be worth the trip. They also told about the drive at La Crosse, WI that took them 2 days full of hills, curves, beautiful scenery, wineries and private collections of tractors and farm machinery. They also said that they enjoyed the rides at Arthur, IL and the Covered Bridge at Park County, IN.

We enjoy the Snedecor’s friendship and the Green Club. Jerry serves as a Director and is always there to help. When you get a chance, ask them about some of their rides. They are good story tellers.

Craig Long

March 2017 President’s Message

I’m going to try something new. I want to bring to the membership short stories from our own group. I hope you will enjoy this.

My guests for the first story are Duane and Anna Mae Boyd, Charter members of CIGC. Duane tells me that he was born and lived southwest of Herscher on his family’s farm near 15000W & 7000S where their son still lives. He attended Grubwood Grade School and later Herscher High School. Anna Mae says she was born in Gardner and moved to Bonfield in the 7th grade. She attended the Shreffler Grade School near her home. She later attended Reddick High School and because of redistricting moved to the Herscher High School as a junior. HHS is where she met and married Duane. They have been married 65 years!

As adults, the Boyds both worked off of the farm. Duane went to work for ComEd (then called Public Service Company of IL) for 39 years. He held several positions including Groundman, Lineman, Trouble-man and Crew Leader where he retired from. Anna Mae worked at St. Mary’s, Leiser’s and later at Turk’s Furniture Manufacturing in Bradley. When daughter Linda (Messerlie) and son Ronald came along, Anna Mae became a full time mom. The Boyds have 3 grandchildren, Ryan working in San Francisco for Groupon, Keith, living in Buckley and drives for Manitow Trucking and Kevin who recently became the manager of Right on Target, Bourbonnais, a gun shop and range.

The Boyds farmed his father’s farm part-time until about 5 years ago with their son, Ron. Anna Mae says she has helped farm and has driven all of their tractors except the John Deere
4630. She says it was just too big. They own a JD 4020 and a JD 730 that we have seen them plow with. They also own Anna Mae’s father’s International M. Grandson Keith restored it.
Keith has also taken over the full time farming duties for the family. Duane also owns his father’s JD H and a Case DC which still needs a little TLC. Duane also collects a few toy
tractors which he enjoys at home. As president, I am very pleased to have the Boyds as cornerstone members of the Central Illinois Green Club.

Craig Long