| March/April 1994

FRED WRAIGHT was born and raised in Veteran, Alberta, and farmed there most of his life. Up until the time of his death, he had collected and restored over 100 tractors, over 100 pump engines, and numerous other antiques, mostly farm related. This obituary says little of Fred's ambition or abilities. He was Mr. Fix Anything in our community. Many nights he could be found in his shop at 11:00 or 12:00 fixing a starter or generator to get some neighbor combining or seeding again in the morning. Since moving to the Watson farm 17 years ago I've probably said to my wife at least 10,000 times, 'I'm running over to Fred's to get something fixed.'

His abilities to restore his beloved pump engines or old tractors were amazing. I remember one time a man dropped off a piece of cast iron he had found in the dump. It was an old seized air cooled engine with no magneto. Fred had it running in two days.

He was happiest when a vehicle would pull into the yard with a load of retirees wanting to see his old tractors. In about 10 minutes you would hear the inevitable line, 'Look at that! My Dad had one of those. Will that one run?' Without saying a word Fred would grab his old squirt can of gas, prime the engine, and in one or two flips of the crank the old engine would cough and come to life. Sometimes the familiar sound would bring a tear to an old timer's eye as he listened to the engine that he had run for so many hours, a long time ago. Many an interested spectator ended up staying hours longer than he had intended.

Fred was never idle; he got up every morning to go to work. Thousands of hours of hard work went into his collection. It was completed without a big budget, it was an ambitious labor of love.

Fred's younger brother Tom and Fred McDiarmid came up with this little yarn to share with you:

A Visit to Wraight's Tractor Museum

As we look down these rows we see Minnies, an Allis, a John Deere or two,
We've got Masseys, Twin Citys and is that a Waterloo?
Hart Parr, Rumely and there's an old Cat,
Case, I.H. and Rock Island, never heard of that.
Where did they come from, all these tractors in a row?
From Drumheller, to Battleford, to Moose jaw and Elbow.
Some in fence corners, some in the trees,
Some in the buckbrush, there's Fred digging on his knees.
We've got wheels, blocks, clutches and a rad,
A gear is missing, 'I'll make that, it won't be bad.'