JOHN MILLER was born May 6, 1909 in Honey Creek, Wisconsin, son
of Henry and Hanna Miller. He went to elementary school in Honey
Creek and high school in Burlington, Wisconsin. He worked with his
father at the lumber yard and feed mill in Honey Brook.
John attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering for two years
and then worked as a machinist at Waukesha Motor Works and
Hein-Werner Motor Works in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He met Alta Guell
in Fond du Lac and they were married June 17, 1944. They lived and
raised their family in Brook-field, Wisconsin and were active
members of Elmbrook Church in Waukesha.
John joined Allis Chalmers in West Allis, Wisconsin, in 1946 and
was with them for 30 years as a heavy duty electrical
Upon retirement, John and Alta resided in Leesburg, Florida,
during the winter and in Sister Bay in summer where he helped at
John’s Lawn Service for 18 years. He enjoyed a hobby of
rebuilding and restoring antique gas engines was member several
steam engine clubs. also busy with variety woodworking projects,
especially games toys.
He was always willing to give of his time and help his family
and friends. He will be greatly missed.
John died at Door County Memorial Hospital, Monday, July 31,
1995. He is survived by his wife, Alta; two daughters, Linda
Anderson, of Sister Bay and Emily Walker of Lyons, Colorado; two
granddaughters, Elisabeth and Rebecca Anderson; two sisters, Alida
Classon of Chester, California, and Dorothy Duxbury of Kenosha,
Wisconsin. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother
Lester. Submitted by Ken Hollenbeck, P.O. Box 238, Ellison Bay,
DELBERT M. ENGLERTH, 74, of Vermontville, Michigan, passed away
on June 21, 1995. He had been ill for about six months.
Del and his twin brother were born May 9, 1921 in Kennan,
Wisconsin. They were raised on a farm in North Dakota where farming
was done by horses and steam tractors. It was there he developed an
interest and a love for steam engines.
He had collected large and small steam and gas engines for many
years. He was a member of several clubs. He loved attending the
shows, displaying his engines and looking at all the other engines
He especially enjoyed talking with his many friends discussing
and asking questions about engines. He was always trying to learn
more about them.
He will be missed by his many friends and relatives. Submitted
by his wife, May Englerth, PO. Box 156, Vermontville, Michigan
OSCAR OLIVER COOKE, 94, passed away July 29, 1995, at Glendeen
Nursing Home of natural causes.
Oscar was born to Riley and Fannie Palmer Cooke on March 8,
1901, in Gueda Springs, Kansas.
As a young lad, Oscar followed his dad’s threshing machine,
accompanying his parents who operated the rig. His mother was cook
for the threshing crews and traveled with her family through out
the area. By the age of 9, Oscar was firing his dad’s steam
engine during grain threshing. When he was 16 he was farming his
own small piece of land, had learned to fly, and had his own
threshing crew. Oscar studied math, commerce law, and banking at
the Emporia Business College in Emporia, Kansas.
During the 1920s and ’30s Oscar barnstormed around Kansas
with his plane. His love for aeronautics continued and he built
many air strips in the Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Montana
areas and attributed a great measure of his success to his flying
Oscar began in the machinery business as a salesman for Allis
Chalmers in Emporia, Kansas. He continued with Allis Chalmers and
was promoted to Branch Manager in Omaha, Nebraska. Oscar sold a
trainload of Allis Chalmers combines in one day. He made 33
landings in four states to complete these sales, and all the
combines were shipped on one special train. Oscar was instrumental
in the development of the round baler. He helped Mr. Lubben obtain
the copyrights to the baler and formed the mass production
agreement between Mr. Lubben and Allis Chalmers. Oscar has the #1
Round Baler in his collection today. While in Omaha, Nebraska, he
continued in his aeronautics by putting on an air show and doing
stunt flying himself.
Although he was too old to be drafted into World War II, he
became a volunteer member of the Civil Air Patrol, where he held
the rank of Captain. This patrol was made up of volunteer pilots
who flew their own planes along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
checking for enemy submarines.
In about 1944, Oscar moved to Chillicothe, Missouri and started
his own business there named Cooke Sales and Service Company. He
also set up branches in St. Joseph and Sedalia, Missouri. During
these years he was also mayor of Chillicothe, Missouri. While he
was mayor he worked to get a new airport built. Oscar even dabbled
in the banking business by buying three banks in Kansas and
Missouri. He built them up and sold them back to the local people.
Oscar also had a Cadillac/Oldsmobile franchise and a Piper Aircraft
Oscar married his wife, Marcella Reilly, in 1952. By 1958 they
had purchased die CX Ranch at Decker, Montana, and moved to
‘Big Sky Country.’ He began collecting old engines about
this time. He saw a steam engine at Big Horn, Wyoming, that he
decided he wanted, so he bought and restored it. He had picked up
antiques from all over the United States and Canada. Oscar received
die Blue Ribbon Award for his display of antique farm implements at
the 1968 Yellowstone County Fair. Oscar was honored by the Northern
International Stock Show and Rodeo Association as Agri-Businessman
of die Year in 1977.
Oscar put his collection together in what is known as
Oscar’s Dreamland, Yesteryear Museum in Billings, Montana. It
had been Oscar s dream to preserve a slice of America’s
agricultural past for many future generations to enjoy and learn
from. Oscar was recently selected as the first inductee into the
‘National Gas and Steam Hall of Fame,’ an award he was
chosen to receive because of his many years of hard work and
dedication in preserving our early American heritage.
Oscar was an avid story teller and could lighten up the most
boring dinner party or the dullest business meeting with any one of
his hundreds of stories. Oscar always loved people and was an
active joiner. He belonged to Quiet Birdman and OX5 (two flying
clubs). He was a Mason, Scottish Rite, Shriner, Rotarian, Elk, and
active member of the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation, the Early Day
Gas Engine and Tractor Association and many other groups.
Oscar was preceded in death by one daughter, Irene Cooper. Oscar
is survived by his wife, Marcella Cooke; five children: Marie
Windle of Independence, Missouri, Oscar M. Cooke of Chillicothe,
Missouri, Bette Cooke of Monett, Missouri, Riley Cooke of Laurel,
Montana, and Marcie Limpp of Roberts, Montana; one brother. Earnest
Cooke of Boulder City, Nevada; two sisters, Elma Findley of Soquel,
California, and Aileen Haislup of Houston, Texas; one grandson, six
granddaughters; three great-grandsons, and seven
Oscar was a dreamer whose dreams will never die! Oscar’s
Dreamland will open again May 1, 1996, for what Oscar’s family
hopes to be one of the best seasons yet. Submitted by Marcella
Cooke, 3100 Harrow Drive, Billings, Montana 59102.