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Farmer has tractor funeral

Friday, February 11, 2005

VOLANT, Pa. (AP) -- Archie Glenn's family made sure he was Deere-ly departed.
The 99-year-old dairy farmer had a passion for John Deere tractors. So at his Feb. 4 funeral, his family had his coffin pulled to the North Plain Grove Cemetery using one of Glenn's favorite vehicles: his 1950s vintage John Deere tractor.
"He loved those machines," said Glenn's daughter, Ruth Wigton, of Volant. "They never let him down."
Glenn was an electrician who worked for years in the Slippery Rock University maintenance department. But his first love was the dairy farm that he worked with his father and, later, his children. Glenn owned several John Deere tractors, buying his first in 1935. When he retired in 1977 at age 72, he continued to mow 20 of his acres and land owned by five neighbors with a tractor.
Glenn's entire funeral was tractor themed. His deep green coffin had a liner embroidered with a yellow-and-green tractor image. Flower arrangements were yellow and green.
And even the music had a John Deere ring to it.
The family opted not to have organ music playing softly in the background at the funeral home. Instead, they downloaded music featuring the sounds of a running, idling and stalled tractor engine from the John Deere Web site.
"Dad's funeral was not a mournful occasion, but a celebration of his life and what he loved -- from the people to the tractors," Wigton said.