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| June/July 2000

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.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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