LAWRENCE SAMUEL GORDON (‘Flash’), was born February 7,
1923, died November 16, 1998, at age 75.
He was the son of the late Hubert Oliver and Ressie Lee Wilinger
Gordon, one of four children. He is survived by one brother and one
sister, both of Harrisonburg, Virginia. He was preceded in death by
his wife Kathleen Gordon, with whom he had four children and seven
Flash served in the U.S. Army from 1942-December 20, 1945. He
served almost four years dragging Uncle Sam’s artillery all
His first year out of the service was spent working at odd jobs.
He then went to work for Virginia Department of Transportation. He
lived in Stanton for several years, then transferred to Front
Royal. He spent much of his career working on equipment in the
state-owned quarries, which were staffed with prison labor. When
this practice was discontinued, he finished out his employment in
I first came to know Flash in the early 1980s. Les Good was Club
president then, and Flash spent most of his spare time with Les in
the service of Shenandoah Valley Steam & Gas Engine
Association. He was most happy when working behind the scenes.
Thoroughly versed in the workings of old equipment, he would share
his knowledge when asked. He never appeared to be a
‘know-it-all,’ though he usually had the answer.
Flash was the unofficial greeter for the club. Many times I saw
him welcome visitors and engage them in conversation. This would
inevitably lead to an invitation to join us.
He was also in charge of safety breaks! Whenever we were working
on a club project, he would make the call for a break with a
Flash’s time and talents are greatly missed by all who knew
him. His entertaining stories of life will be treasured forever. I
am eternally grateful for the time we shared together.
It was with great satisfaction that we dedicated the addition to
the club building in Flash’s name, while he was still here to
enjoy it. He was moved beyond words. That was the only time I ever
saw him speechless.Submitted by Rick Custer, President of
Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association, 75 Spring
Blossom Ln., Gerrardstown, West Virginia 25420.
EUGENE H. PILLING, 84, passed away at St. Mary’s Medical
Center in Racine, Wisconsin, on August 1, 1999.
He was born in Stockbridge on May 29, 1915, to Eugene and Emma
Nordhaus Pilling and had been a resident of Racine since 1947. In
Chilton on February 14, 1940, he was united in marriage to Lorraine
Gall in 1940.
He was an engineer at Racine Steel Casting, retiring in 1977
after 29 years of service. He previously worked as a farmer in
Stockbridge before coming to Racine.
He was a life member of the Steam and Gas Engine Club. He
attended the Badger Antique Engine Club of Baraboo, Wisconsin, and
other localities in his motor home with his wife and cat and many
of his antiques.
He collected engines, boat motors, tools, etc. He had been a
good machinist in his time, too, a very interesting man to visit.
He had a cat he used to dress up and he carried the cat around with
Surviving are his wife, Lorraine; one daughter, Bonnie Vertz of
Franksville; one son, Leonard (Pat) Pilling of Racine; nine
grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one
Submitted by Syl Henry ,1027 Harding St., Janesville, Wisconsin
CLARENCE JOHNSON, 89, of Twin Valley, formerly Gary, Minnesota,
died August 22, 1999, at the Bridges Medical Service Hospital, Ada,
Clarence Lloyd Johnson was born in a log cabin on April 17,
1910, near Mahnomen, Minnesota, the son of Martin and Louise
Sjolseth Johnson. He attended school in both Twin Valley and Gary,
and as a young man he worked with his father on the family farm
From 1920 until 1941, Clarence worked in road construction.
During World War II, Clarence served in the U.S. Army European
Theater. He served in the 3rd Infantry Division, 756 Tank Battalion
(also known as Audie Murphy’s Company), as a tank driver. The
unit that Clarence served throughout the war had more Congressional
Medals of Honor, a total of 39, awarded than any unit ever.
By the end of the war he had served throughout Europe and was in
several major battles and companies. Clarence had 428 days of
combat time on record and by the war’s end, he had gone 33
continuous months without a roof over his head. Following his
discharge from military service, on September 16, 1945, he returned
to Gary and worked in highway construction.
In 1958, he married Inez Tastad in Faith, Minnesota. They made
their home on a farm near Gary, which he operated until 1990. Mrs.
Johnson died in 1967, and Clarence moved to Twin Valley in 1995,
making his home there since.
Clarence will be remembered for his interest in antique gas
engines, which he restored and collected. He was an active member
of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, in Rollag. He
also loved to travel and was proud to have traveled to 46 states
before his death.
He is survived by a sister, Palma Minteer of Seattle,
Washington, and several nieces and nephews.
Clarence was laid to rest with three things of life dearest to
him. A picture of his wife Inez, whom he loved dearly. The sound of
his favorite gas engine, a Fairbanks-Morse type ‘N’ running
in the background during his funeral service, and the military
presentation by the Gary, Minnesota, American Legion Post 505,
during which the engine was shut down. The Fairbanks-Morse type
‘N’ was brought back from the West Coast by his two
nephews, Jim and Jerry Johnson in his honor.
A great engine-man lost, but remembered by many and a friend to
many at the WMSTR at Rollag, Minnesota, and an extremely proud
member of the Rollag 200 Club
Submitted by his nephew, James L. Johnson, 4115 S. 298th Court.
Auburn, Washington 98001-2237.
HARRY E. McCOSH, 86, of Peoria, Illinois, died September 23,
1999, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Born April 8, 1913, in Adeline Village, Ogle County, to Benjamin
and Irene Shibley McCosh, he married Marian Day in 1937, in Crown
Point, Indiana. She preceded him in death.
He also was preceded in death by one son, Joe L. McCosh.
Surviving are one grandson, Philip McCosh of rural Princeville;
daughter-in-law, Judy McCosh; one granddaughter, Terri McCosh of
Chilicothe; and one great-grandson, David.
He worked at Caterpillar Inc. for many years.
He was a member of the Atkinson Antique Engine and Tractor
Submitted by John W. Boyens, Bettendorf, Iowa.
PAUL W. HUDSON, one of the founding fathers of the Tri-County
Old Time Power Association, passed away September 2, 1999.
He was also a charter member of the Hudson Mohawk Pioneer Gas
Paul was also helpful in the development of the heritage part of
the Fonda Fair and the antique engine display area, where we have
been able to showcase our engines for the last thirty years.
Paul was enthusiastic about his hobby. You would see him
grinding and selling his cornmeal at all the shows, including Fort
Klock. He loved to talk about old times to anyone who would listen,
from the smallest youngster to the old timers.
He also belonged to the Hudson Valley Old Time Power
Association, Coon Hollow Engine Club, Inc. He was the last
surviving member of the Old Dan Tucker and His Money Muskers group.
He played harmonica and guitar with the Barn Warmers group.
Paul worked for the H. P. Snyder Manufacturing Company in Little
Falls for fifty years.
He married Florentine Dineen in 1933. Besides his wife,
Florentine he is survived by two sons, Robert Hudson of Fort Plain,
and Ronald Hudson of St. Johnsville; four grandchildren; seven
great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.
Paul will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to have
Submitted fry Norma Norton, Sec, Tri-County Old Time Power
Association, in upstate New York.
AMOS EDWARD RIXMANN, died June 4, 1999, at the age of 74.
When my dear husband, Amos Rixmann died so suddenly in June this
year, everyone who knew him was deeply shocked. He was so vibrant
and full of life with so many interests and such a lively mind.
Most of the people who knew him had a special story to tell.
Companions from the one room school house who remembered
building a raft to float on the creek, until this activity was
discovered by the teacher and stopped, probably saving their young
In high school he played trombone, and thanks to an excellent
teacher he enjoyed playing it for the rest of his life. His
interest in music was always expanding. He loved to sing in
men’s groups, and no Christmas was complete without friends
singing carols around the piano.
In WWII he became a Navy pilot and loved to fly. After the war,
he bought several retired planes and kept them at the family farm
in Illinois, where he gave joy rides to the neighbors, who, when
they landed, weren’t too sure about the ‘joy.’
There are many stories about his exploits at the university,
especially flying, serenading, and socializing. His friends of that
time tell me he ‘lived on the edge,’ but enjoyed life
For many years Amos worked for Caterpillar, then for
International Harvester. But he left them to develop and build the
agricultural crawler tractor with Lyman Knapp. One of these
tractors is at the Major County Historical Society Museum. I
understand that these tractors were the only ones to be built in
All Amos’s life he loved steam power. When he was very young
his grandfather made him a model ‘Jumbo’ out of scraps of
wood and metal. It was his favorite toy for many years, and the
envy of his friends. We still have it. From the time he was old
enough, he always helped with the thrashing and the sound of a
steam engine was music to him. He had a passion for locomotives and
his technical knowledge was vast.
It was this same knowledge that made his Prony brake
demonstrating so interesting. He felt that steam engines were built
to work, and he loved to put them through their paces, knowing how
they should sound under any given load.
He will be sadly missed at steam shows up and down the country
as well as his articles in Engineers and Engines and the Iron
But no one will miss him as much as we will, his own family.
Submitted by his wife.
1893 Jigger Details
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