In Memoriam

| March/April 1996

A Brief Word

Within this issue you will find the obituaries for the eight people who perished in a tragic accident on December 9, and which we reported to you briefly in the last issue. These folks were traveling as a group from the Cedar Rapids area to the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Old Threshers Association in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The motor home in which they were riding collided with a semi-trailer which jackknifed directly in front of them.

All of the folks who died that day were among the most active of the volunteers at Midwest Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant. Virgil Coonrod with his wrecker and crane service provided many hours of equipment time over the years. When the Midwest Old Threshers Foundation was organized in 1985, Virgil and his family donated $5,000 to the fund, 'just to get it started,' as Virgil once said.

Many of our readers were acquainted with Jim Patton; his engine restorations were a constant source of amazement, with all of us wishing we could get engines to run half as well. In addition, Jim's 20-40 Case model and the two model Oil Pulls were exhibited at a great many shows, and were always a joyous sight to behold. Beyond this, Jim provided Old Threshers with a great amount of volunteer work in a quiet and inauspicious manner.

The other six folks who perished that tragic day were also very important to Old Threshers, especially since they were always willing and able to take on whatever needed to be done; all of them epitomized the volunteer spirit. May they serve as role models for future volunteers!

Besides being a great tragedy for the family and friends of these folks, this was the worst traffic accident in Iowa in over fifty years. One could go on and on about this tragedy, and for those like myself, who knew all eight of these people as friends, there will always be an emptiness because of their loss. Yet, as their friend, I also know that each and every one of them would want us to accept what has happened, and then move forward with life. Were any of us to do otherwise, we would probably be scolded for our somber attitude. After all, these folks were all doing something they enjoyed tremendously, and we believe they would expect us to move forward with the same goals as always.

Virgil E. Coonrod, 85, of 4000 E Avenue NW, Cedar Rapids, died Saturday, December 9, 1995 of injuries suffered in a traffic accident two miles north of Crawfordsville, Iowa. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; two sons and daughters-in-law, Duane V. and Frieda Coonrod, and Donald and Shirley Coonrod; two daughters, Diane Spicer, and Doreen Delaney, and her husband Tom, along with eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.