ALBERT E. CROPLEY was born December 19, 1915 in Sioux City, Iowa, and died January 1, 2000 in Seattle. He is survived by a son Robert, a daughter Carole, four sisters and a brother, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wife, Hazel, and sons Albert and Thomas.
In Iowa, Al worked in the sheet metal business. He came to Seattle in 1940, while recuperating from an appendicitis operation, to visit his brother. He got a free pass because his father was a locomotive engineer for the Milwaukee Road. While he was there, the recruiter for the Bremerton Shipyards asked him to fill out an application. He did and got a job with them. He and Hazel had been dating in Iowa before he came to Seattle, and when he started his job there, he sent for her and they were married in early 1941.
Al started his own business in 1947 at a leased building in Burien. When the hardware store where he was leasing space needed more room, he relocated first to South and Lander and then in 1950 to Myers Way, where he slowly expanded the building as his business grew, al's machine shop and metal fabrication business was a source of employment for Al, his sons and grandsons. It was a popular meeting place for 'engine nuts' for many years where they gathered at least once a month to show and share and tell stories around the wood stove.
He and his brothers and sisters had alcohol-powered steam engines as toys when they were growing up. That was the start of his interest in hot-air and steam engines, which he displayed every year at various engines and tractor shows. His 1907 Rider and Ericsson originally pumped water at the Wrigley family's ranch in Phoenix. Another of his engines, a C. Cretors and Company working engine, was shipped here in 1913 to power a street popcorn and roasted nut wagon. His booth was a big attraction every year, as was Al and his little boxer, Boz I, and then after his passing, Boz II. Boz II is now being cared for by Al's daughter Carole.
As his shop was being cleaned after his passing, someone remarked on all the cat food cans Al used to store nuts and bolts. Al was very kind to animals and inherited many cats and kittens from his children to care for at his shop. He also fed the birds year round, making special trips to his shop on weekends to be sure everyone was fed.
Al always had a joke and a smile for everyone. He had spicy jokes for the guys and tamer ones for the gals, but every once in awhile he would switch them just to give people a little shock. Everyone has an 'Al' story. To know him was to love him. He will be greatly missed by all of us.
Our 19th annual Antique Farm Engine & Tractor Association Show in Shelton July 8 and 9 will be dedicated to the memory of Al.
Submitted by his son Robert W. Cropley, 5149 S. Findlay Street, Seattle, Washington 98118.
FRANCIS F. SEVART, Girard, Kansas, passed away January 6, 2000. He was born March 19, 1924, southeast of St. Paul, Kansas.
Francis was a collector of tractors, gas engines, and a steam engine, and loved working and restoring them and doing woodwork.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; son, Ronald Sevart, who collects and restored with his dad; two daughters Ramona Swartz, Pittsburgh, Kansas; Rayma Nesseleade, Lee's Summit, Missouri; a grandson, four brothers and a sister.
Francis was raised on the farm where he was born. When he was about 10 or 12 years old, he had to run the steam engine and separator, threshing for others, and running the Baker and Port Huron. The Baker was also used for operating the saw mill.
Francis always loved to blow the whistle when he ran an engine at a show. He got more enjoyment from blowing the whistle than running the engine.
Francis was a lineman for over forty years for Rural Electric Co-op (REC).
He didn't get to as many shows as he wanted due to being on call a lot, but went to as many as possible. Working on a yard pole he had a high advantage of finding gas engines and tractors.
Francis belonged to Pioneer Harvest Fiesta at Fort Scott, Kansas; Ozark Steam Engine Association, Republic, Missouri; Oklahoma Steam Threshing and Gas Engine Association in Pawnee, Oklahoma; Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Branch #17 (he was its first president when it was organized). He was a past member of Branch #16. He also belonged to the American Legion and Knights of Columbus (Third Degree) in Girard.
Had Francis lived, he and his wife would have been married 50 years on February 18.
Submitted by Marjorie and Ronald Sevart, 111 N. Cherokee Street, Girard, Kansas 66743-1305.
ERWIN OTTO KRETZSCHMAR, 1912-2000, died in San Antonio, Texas, on February 18, 2000 at age 87.
Erwin and his wife Tillie owned and operated Tic Toe Ranch and Farm Museum near Floresville, Texas. Erwin collected many farm related items beginning with clocks, tractors, and engines and most everything in between.
The Tic Toe collection is known all over the country as outstanding in uniqueness and variety. Clocks of many countries fill the farm home and were collected through travels to Europe, the Far East and all over the United States and Mexico.
Tractors were collected from all over the country and cover many years of tractor development and progress. Engines were collected and hauled to Tic Toe and then the very large engines were set upon concrete pads and run on special occasions for people to enjoy. Engines range from Maytags to the very large Bessemer diesel and Tips diesel engines. No engine was too large or too small for Erwin and Tillie to drag home and start up.
Erwin was a long-time subscriber to GEM. He traveled the country with his engines, hog oilers, and garden tractors.
On special occasions the 1914 Allis-Chalmers 10-18 went to shows and sometimes, the two cylinder Minneapolis Moline cultivator tractor was taken to shows. The old Harrison steam traction engine only went to very special shows, since hauling this machine for long distances was difficult even for Erwin and Tillie.
Erwin also published a very fine book that chronicles his collecting accomplishments, a very fine book. Erwin also has many articles included in various Stemgas Publications that were always interesting and informative.
Erwin Otto Kretzschmar was pre-de-ceased by son Elton. He is survived by his wife Tillie; sons Erwin Jr., Melvin and Alfred; daughter, Marylou Mills, and her husband, David; widow of son Elton; ten grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren.
All of Kretzschmar's family helped with the collection and Tic Toc and with all the hard work involved. Now, all the clocks are stopped and the tractors and engines are silent as the master is gone to his reward.
Erwin was an early advocate of preservation of our heritage and did his part in this work. All who knew him will miss his presence and words of wisdom, advice and encouragement. Rest in Peace, Erwin.
Submitted by friend, Richard Kepler, San Antonio, Texas.