Howard E. Pray was born and spent his childhood and schooling in Clinton County, Iowa. After graduating in 1955, Howard joined the Army as a paratrooper and returned to Clinton County in 1957. He started work at the Clinton Mfg. Co. before moving to Alcoa Davenport Works where he was an industrial truck mechanic for more than 33 years before retiring in 1993.
In July 1960 he married his wife, Judy, and together they raised three children. In the early ‘70s he joined the Antique Engine & Tractor Assn., Geneseo, Ill., in which he enjoyed showing various gas engines.
He became active in the club’s flea market. Judy would help arrange the funnel cake stand and worked the thresher’s dinner. At different times both held board of directors offices, secretary and treasurer, vice president, raffle chairperson, etc.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Howard was a Cub Scout leader, then became a troop leader for Boy Scout Troop 82. This led to training sessions at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, and he even attended the World Scout Jamboree in Sydney, Australia. He served on the Eagle Scout Board of Review and spent many summers at Camp Loud Thunder Boy Scout camp. Because of his scouting work, the Illowa Council awarded him the “Silver Beaver Award” for participation and his never-ending support of boy scouts.
Along with traveling with his family, his interests included Allis-Chalmers because of his boyhood experiences of farming, and collecting many toys and pedal tractors.
With the battles of sickness and surgeries he was not able to help the Antique Engine & Tractor Assn. relocate to its new 55 acre grounds, build the Illinois Oak Peg Beam office barn or work the farm shows the second weekend every September.
Submitted by John W. Boyens
If you’d like to memorialize someone who was involved in the hobby, please send photos and a written memorial to Associate Editor Beth Beavers at email@example.com.