By Ken Green
Jerry Lee Virtue, 72, of Wilton, CA died suddenly Feb. 8, 2015 of natural causes. He was born in Battle Creek, Iowa, on Nov. 16, 1942 and had lived in Wilton since 1978.
Jerry was a construction manager for Citation Builders for 25 years and a machinist for Cope Manufacturing for 10 years.
He was an active member of Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Inc. He was a member of Branch 13 in the Sacramento, CA area and served as President for four years, Vice President for one year and on the Board of Directors for five years. He was the president of Branch 13 when the branch hosted the 1993 EDGE&TA National Show at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA. His leadership and coordination of activities made this one of the most memorable National Shows ever. He was the Branch 13 Show Director at the Amador County Fair for 12 years. He was an avid engine restorer and his collection ranged from small to large engines. One of his rare prized engines was a Virtue and Pound which he proudly displayed at the Amador County Fair.
He was also a member of Branch 49 located in the California gold rush foothills and served as Branch President for three years and on the Board of Directors for five years. Branch 49 hosted the 1999 Southwest Regional Show at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angles Camp, CA.
He was a member of the Amador County Sawmill & Mining Association and worked several years restoring and operating the steam powered sawmill at the Amador County Fairgrounds. He was very passionate in promoting an appreciation for our country’s agricultural and mining heritage. He especially enjoyed passing on the historical significance of this era to our new and younger members.
Jerry was the oldest of 13 children and is survived by his loving wife Marianne; children, Kenneth, Randy, Todd and Christie; four grandchildren; eight brothers and sisters; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings.
Blair was one of the Charter Members of Branch 1 and EDGE&TA. Blair along with John Achey, Dennis Magnuson, Henry Sawer, Carl Mortenson, Arvid Stark, Clark Christenson and others sat down in John Acheys house in Dresser WI and organized and incorporated the national of EDGE&TA. Most of the members were local but they had some from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.
Blair C. Dollery of New Richmond died Friday May 21st at Regions Hospital in St. Paul at the age of 79.
Blair was born March 8, 1931 in St. Paul, MN to Collingwood and Bessie Dollery. Blair graduated from Osceola High School in 1949. On April 19, 1952 he married Eleanor Koch at Zion Lutheran church in Farmington. He farmed for a while and then worked as mechanic and driver for the Osceola School District. He enjoyed old trains, streetcars, tractor, going to thrashing shows, was active in the Minnesota Transportation Museum operating their street cars at Lake Harriet and Excelsior.
Harold Mansperger passed away on Thursday, May 6 from complications following surgery. A member of Rusty Relics since the early 90’s, he maintained the position of Safety Director since 1994 until his death. With the exception of the first 3 days of his life and serving in Korea, he lived his entire life here in the Antelope Valley. “Red” as he was called, was best known for his participation in the Rural Olympics at the Antelope Valley Fair. He was a consummate story teller and was very well liked. He is survived by his wife Leesa and 7 children. Red will be sorely missed.
Additional coverage about “Red Dog” can be found on the Branch 30 website.
Clyde L Schurman of Woodland, WA passed away Dec 10, 2006 at the age of 92. Clyde was born Sept 10, 1914 in La Center, WA to Frank and Evangeline Schurman. He was preceded in death by his wife Millie in Oct 2005. He is survived by daughters Linda Wyttenburg and Janice Schurman, two sons Gerald, and Roger Schurman, brother Paul, sister Florence Thompson, two grand children and numerous nieces and nephews.
Clyde started into business at an early age repairing farm equipment. This led him into the design and manufacturing of saw mill equipment still in use today. Clyde was a collector of early industrial revolution artifacts and a long time member of Branch 15 of EDGE&TA. Clyde had the honor as an inductee into their Hall of Fame. His love of Early Cars, Steam Engines, Electrical Motors and Generators, Gas Engines and Mechanical Antiquities was evident by the twinkle in his eye and made him many friends over his life time. He was always willing to share his knowledge and collection with anyone that would take the time to look and listen. Clyde was more than willing to help others with their projects, be it advice or loaning parts and pieces to be copied, helping them complete there collections. Clyde was a wealth of knowledge and had the knack of seeing the true historical value others often passed by. He was a man of principals and always seen the good in everyone, never speaking a harsh word. Clyde was loved by all and will be missed by many!
William "Dale" Boss June 11, 1915-Sept. 20, 2005
Dale was a member when EDGE&TA Branch 9 was originally formed. When that group disbanded he became a member of the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista. For many years he and his wife, Shirley, were very active in the group participating in the June and October shows. He would display operating engines and she would be with all the ladies in the ranch house making jam/jelly, quilting, and baking pies and bread.
In 1986 he and approximately 24 other people gathered together with a common interest of becoming a branch of EDGE&TA. The number assigned to them was Branch 22. He would always be the quiet participant and have an engine to show. He saw the branch grow to over 240 members.
Aside from his engines he had another hobby that was his prize possession. Several woods from all over the states were collected to make handles for his hammer collection. He would show you his latest creation when you went to his home to visit. If you brought him an antique hammerhead, he would make you a handle for it. It is said he made well over 400 of them! His daughter Faye and husband Hank now have the collection at their home in Clifton, CO. Many branch 22 members are proud owners of his creative work.
In June he reached his 90th birthday. Several of his friends gathered to help him celebrate this milestone in his life. He was born in Iowa June 11, 1915; served in the Marine Corps during WWII; retired from San Diego & Electric, and was a true friend to all Branch 22 members. He passed away peacefully after a short illness, on September 20, 2005. He was survived by his wife, Shirley, daughter, Faye, and son-in-law, Hank.
Submitted by his Branch 22 friends.
Shirley M. Boss Sept. 26, 1918 to Feb. 2, 2012
Shirley Boss, one of five children raised in St. Louis, MO, is predeceased by husband Dale, son David, siblings Garey, and Inez. Her surviving family, daughter Faye, brother Carl, and sister Marge and their spouses will miss her greatly. Shirley and Dale were married in 1946 and spent their lives raising a family in La Mesa, CA. Shirley was active in the EDGE&TA along with Dale. Enjoyed traveling to the many Engine Shows across the country and could be seen playing Scrabble with her friends, working in the country kitchens or working on a quilt as Dale discussed engines and hammers with his friends. She had a wide variety of interests she shared with her lady friends ie: poker, board games, bowling and crafts. Her last seven years were spent at Country Villa Care Center in La Mesa where family and friends visited.
Chauncey Leon Smith, also known as Smitty, was born in San Diego in 1910. His parents Leon and Birdena Smith were pioneers in the east county in the Cottonwood Valley now known as Barrett.
In his early years he enjoyed playing the violin. He looked back on it as enjoyment, but I really doubt that he enjoyed having to practice when he was younger.
After high school he raised watermelons on the ranch and hauled them to town in his model ‘T’ pickup.
Smitty’s creativity was shown in 1927 when he entered a contest at Ocean Beach for the most dilapidated Model ‘T” Ford. His “T’ was pretty bad, but he took extra steps to make it worse by adding tires over his regular tires that had loose pieces of material on them so they would slap the pavement as it rolled along. HE WON!
In 1944, Smitty and Margaret were married in the Bair home in La Mesa. He joined the Navy and was shipped out to sea on his way to Australia and New Zealand. Once, while on liberty in Australia, he wandered into an Allis Chalmers Tractor showroom and saw a poster showing his Home Ranch with himself sitting on the tractor. He was proud as could be and told the person in the salesroom that it was him and that was his ranch back in California. Their response was, “Yeah, this is another G I story. ” He went on his way knowing he was right.
One of the jobs that Smitty took after World War II was as an electrical troubleshooter for Mountain electric. He and Margaret moved to Campo where they were also caretakers for some property.
Later, he would go to work for San Diego Gas and Electric as a lineman troubleshooter. This meant long hours, many times in the snow and other hard conditions. He worked for SDG&E for more than 20 years
Margaret’s health was fragile, and in time she lost lung capacity and passed away in the late 1970’s. His compassion and caring attitude was foremost in her last years.
He was lonely and as he said just a few months ago, “Some people don’t find a lovely lady to enhance their lives once” but he was blessed twice in his life with loving women.
He married Ceil and she became a very important part of his life. Smitty told her that she would have to put up with all the ‘widows’ in his life as well. If any of them had needs, he was off to help them. Whether it was fixing something that was broken, transporting them to a store or Dr. visits, or any other help he could provide to them. In many ways, he was the Lone Ranger of his day. He would appear and take care of the needs of others. Repair a light, pick up groceries or a prescription, and then be off to help someone else.
CEIL WAS TO BECOME KNOWN AS THE ADMIRAL.
Ceil and Smitty shared their passion for travel in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the South Pacific. There was the trip to the southern hemisphere and Europe that brought a lot of happiness into their lives. They went to Australia and New Zealand, England, and Scotland where they rented R.V.s and enjoyed traveling together. One of the joys of these experiences was to share the trip with others by presenting only the best of his slides in a special slide and picture show. Even to this day, a number of his pictures are displayed in the sun room in Smitty and Ceil’s home.
A man never to be idle, he took on a number of projects. His pictures, a shell collection, .. each shell with a story and how it was a significant part of his life. To go along with this, he started to buy shells in Mexico and make night lights and sell them in some shops in the San Diego area.
In 1956, Smitty organized Helix Showmasters to provide an organized way for members to share pictures of their travels. It had a 20 year successful run with members exceeding 175 or more.
After meeting members of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, he came to realize that a number of things from the past were being lost sight of and he wanted to be sure that people did not forget what the past was like. He searched the countryside for old engines and engine parts and started to restore old stationary engines. He had several prizes, but most likely his favorite was his 1901 Hardy.
He had a special trailer made and when he was able, traveled from show to show. The familiar sound of the putt, putt, then a louder putt would echo around the show grounds. One of the joys of his life was telling about and showing off his engines. He did a great job of it. As time went on, he was not able to move about well enough to show his engines, but the engines are still a memento to his desire to keep a window open to the past.
Smitty will live on in our minds and we will miss him greatly, but we will not forget his drive to keep busy with meaningful things that enhanced the lives of others. He appreciated his friends calling on him and if he could speak to you this morning he might say
“Carry on, keep the old engines running, keep yourself busy doing something useful, seek out who you can help and make their life better by touching them with kindness.
Yes, Smitty left his indelible mark on our lives. We’ll miss you Smitty. Members of Branch 22
Submitted by Branch 22 Secretary, Ruth A. Warnock
Mr. Kidd of Charlotte, North Carolina, peacefully went home to be with our Lord, Saturday, May 15, 2004, at his home surrounded by his loving wife, Helen, and family. Born November 7, 1924 to Chester W. and Bonnie Kidd, Sr., he spent his lifetime serving his Lord, his family, his community and his country. After graduating Long Creek High School in the 1940’s, he married his high school sweetheart and worked at Southern Electric before proudly joining the Army Air Force 8th Division in the 489th Bomb Group during WWII. He flew a B-24 bomber over France and Germany completing 35 perilous missions. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and eight Oak Leaf Clusters. After returning home on Christmas Day, as he had promised Helen, he began what is now his legacy to his four children, nine grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren. He created the Rockin’ K Ranch, their home on Miranda Road in Charlotte, North Carolina. He prospered in business with his construction company, a general store, the Rockin’ K Motel in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Mecklenburg Abattoir and other businesses – too many to list. His determination to help his community and family lead to various endeavors including serving as sheriff of Mecklenburg County for twelve years. Mr. Kidd served his community through his church, Trinity United Methodist Church on Beatties Ford Road. “The Greatest Little Church in America.” He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Optimist Club, the Power of the Past Tractor Club, the 9th Angel Tractor Club, and a variety of other charitable organizations. He spent his lifetime helping others in ways that may never be matched and couldn’t possibly be duplicated. If a need was brought to him by anyone, he would find a way to provide.
He is survived by his wife, his lifetime love, Helen Frazier Kidd, his daughter and son-in-law, Vicki and Scott Tucker, his son, Jerry Kidd, his son, Larry Kidd, and his son and daughter-in-law, Chester W. “Buddy” and Lyndy Kidd, nine grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and a lifetime of cherished friends.
He was buried on Tuesday, May 18th at 2 p.m. at the church’s cemetery.
In memory of Richard “Geronimo” Earl. Quite literally ~ a Hero to the very last second. You’ll be missed.
Long-time member of Branch 111.
Carl Bergman, a 70 year Antelope Valley resident, died Sunday at a Lancaster residential care facility following a lengthy illness. He was 95 years old. Born Nov. 10, 1907, in Compton, Bergman moved to the Antelope Valley on July 1, 1933, driving a Model T roadster with his wife of two years, Alta. Alta died on Nov. 23, 1999. They were married for 68 years.
Bergman was probably best known in the Antelope Valley for his work with Branch 30 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. A founding member, Bergman brought gas engines to the Antelope Valley Alfalfa Festival when it was held in downtown Lancaster in the late 1930s. In late August of last year, Bergman visited the Antelope Valley Fair for one last look at the branch’s display of engine and tractors. “I have so many great memories of this place, mostly the people,” said Bergman, enfeebled by age but resilient in spirit. “Many of them are gone, but there’s still a few of them around. We put in many hours and many years into helping make the fair become what it is.
Bergman shuffled over to an old John Deere tractor and leaned against it for a photo. He gestured towards the antique engines, tractor, cars and trucks. Many of these are my friends. I’m in good company, Bergman said. He worked for the Union Oil Co. and once operated his own gas station at what was now Sierra Highway and Lancaster Boulevard. Later, he teamed up with the late Russ Turner to build about 500 hay barns in the valley, as well as in the Kern and Mono counties. Bergman also worked as a carpenter and special effects man for movies made in the Antelope Valley. He was a projectionist at the old Valley Theater when it was owned by Judy Garland’s parents.