Full circle

MARSHALL – A tractor passed to one family, then back again, has created a special bond that will “surely endure a lifetime,” said Paul Whingelby of Lynd.

The 1951 John Deere “A” Tractor has quite a history here in southwest Minnesota.

The “Ol’ Whingelby,” as it has come to be known, was sold at auction by Carl Whingelby’s family after he died to Robert Schrunk Sr. Feb. 19, 1966. Schrunk and his hired man drove the tractor home to their farm west of Lynd, said Whingelby, who was only 7 years old when his dad died.

“The Schrunk family farm is still in operation to this day,” Whingelby said. “The Schrunks gave the tractor its nickname. As the years went on, the tractor was used for many jobs on the farm, such as corn shelling and pulling wagons.”

Supposedly, the tractor has been through a fire, was stolen and was run into a creek, but managed to survived it all.

“Robert Sr. passed away in 1988, but Daniel (Schrunk) continued to use the tractor on the farm,” Whingelby said.

It was by chance that when the Schrunks needed auto repair they came to Paul Whingelby, who is an auto mechanic in Marshall.

“Then the question was asked, ‘We have a tractor named ‘Ol Whingelby.’ Are you related?’ ‘Yes’ was the answer. As time went by Daniel and I talked frequently about our fathers, their fathers and the green John Deere tractor,” Whingelby said.

It took until the spring of this year, but Daniel did agree to sell “Ol Whingelby” to Paul and return it to the family farm.

Today, Paul is making the journey with “Ol Whingelby” back to the family farm to surprise his family in Tyler as a tribute to his father and the family’s century farm, he said.

“At first, I was going to get the tractor painted all shiny and nice, but after driving and looking at it again, I just couldn’t paint over the history of the used, weathered look of the original paint of the tractor,” Whingelby said.

“I can absolutely remember sitting on the tractor when I was just 6 years old with my dad,” Whingelby said.

The Whingelby farm was chosen as a 2013 Century Farm by the Minnesota Farm Bureau this year and was recognized Saturday at the Lincoln County Fair.