Archive for Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tractors provide a fitting send-off

Procession of antique farm vehicles escorts ‘The Case Man’ to the cemetery

A procession of antique tractors makes a run through east Lawrence on Tuesday for the funeral of Elmer Johanning, a longtime Case farm implement dealer in Lawrence. Johanning’s grandson Curtis Wakeman drove a 1954 Case D tractor that pulled a wagon carrying the casket. His brother Stuart Wakeman followed behind.

A procession of antique tractors makes a run through east Lawrence on Tuesday for the funeral of Elmer Johanning, a longtime Case farm implement dealer in Lawrence. Johanning’s grandson Curtis Wakeman drove a 1954 Case D tractor that pulled a wagon carrying the casket. His brother Stuart Wakeman followed behind.

September 2, 2009

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Gayle Bickel, of Grantville, drives a 1938 Case tractor in the funeral procession for Elmer Johanning.

Gayle Bickel, of Grantville, drives a 1938 Case tractor in the funeral procession for Elmer Johanning.

Man's life honored with tractor funeral procession

The death of 91-year-old Elmer Johanning was honored Tuesday with a tractor funeral procession. Johanning ran his business out of Lawrence. Enlarge video

Funeral processions to Lawrence’s Memorial Park Cemetery rarely arrive in the style that brought Elmer Johanning to his final resting place.

Ten Case tractors led the procession for the long-time Douglas County farmer and former Case tractor dealer, who died Saturday at the age of 91.

Before he died, Johanning spoke with his family about his wishes for the funeral. Fittingly, one of his own Case tractors carried him to the cemetery.

Johanning’s daughter, Mary Wakeman, helped make the arrangements with her father.

“I said, ‘The two D tractors that you sold new, we have them and we’d like to carry you to the cemetery with them,’” she said. “He said, ‘That would be great, that sounds like a good celebration.’”

When Wakeman told her father that several of his former customers would like to participate, Johanning was glad to hear that tractors would play such a large role in the funeral plans. “The more the merrier, let’s have a tractor show,” Johanning said as he lay ill at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka

Friends and family said the funeral was fitting for a man who spent 35 years selling tractors to local farmers. Many in attendance at services at Warren-McElwain Mortuary wore their Case tractor apparel.

“He told me this is what he wanted, and he got his wish,” said Stuart Wakeman, one of Johanning’s grandchildren.

Before beginning the career in which he became known as “The Case Man,” Johanning served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was buried with military honors.

Comments

puddleglum 5 years, 8 months ago

way to go. what a great life celebration. I love old tractors.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

I am so glad that he told his family his wishes and they honored them. We all need to do that. No reason to have a stuffy funeral that I can think of. He can still see and hear all those that loved him. They will just have to wait to see him again.

ferrislives 5 years, 8 months ago

Very good, and very fitting for a good man. God bless.

ksdivakat 5 years, 8 months ago

What an incredible way to celebrate the life of someone! Classy indeed!

labmonkey 5 years, 8 months ago

Personally, I want a zero turn mower procession.

domino 5 years, 8 months ago

My mother-in-law died of cancer on April 5, 2008 - the day of the KU-North Carolina ball game. She was a HUGE KU fan and always looked forward to a possible match up between "her boys" and North Carolina. We had the card service on Monday evening - had to schedule it early enough to get it done, then go to the house, eat pizza & watch the National Championship game. She was burried the next day wearing her favorite KU sweatshirt and beside her was a minature basketball with the scores of theose 2 games written on it. All of the family, the minister and as many people as we could get the word out to came to her service wearing whatever KU apparel they had. We celebrated her life and a National Championship at the same time. It was a very special day and one that will not be forgotten. It is really cool to be able to do something "special" to remember and honour our loved ones in a way that would mean so much to them.

ferrislives 5 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for your story domino. Family means everything when all is said and done. Thanks for honoring your mother-in-law; we need more people like that.

Practicality 5 years, 8 months ago

Rest In Peace Mr. Johanning. Sounds like you lived a wonderful life.

ylime3499 5 years, 8 months ago

This story was very touching along with Domino. When my father died I was 14. We are a big family and he was the backbone. When everyone was together we joked that we were a "mob" family. The last part of his life he worked in law enforcement and had this intimidating outfit that we called his "mob garb". When he died of his final heart attack (first one at the age of 20, last one at 52) we buried him in his "mob garb" and bought the casket to fit. Celebrating is the only way it should be done... "No one gets out alive!"

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