Old Engine Memorials


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Old Engine Memorials We each know a collector who has passed that meant something to us and this is a place for our final salute, a place of memories for all to share.

Old Engine Memorials

Ralph Myrkle


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  #1  
Old 06-05-2017, 10:00:39 AM
BMyrkle BMyrkle is offline
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Default Ralph Myrkle

Ralph Myrkle – February 8, 1932 – May 23, 2017

For the past 18 months, or so, we knew this was coming. Dad’s time was getting short.

He had Leukemia and was 85-years-old – too old for a bone marrow transplant, and too old for aggressive chemotherapy. And, this spring, the cancer really sped-up and he really wore down.

During the late winter, he took his last trips out to his barn and shop. He couldn’t really do any work, but he sat on a stool and gave some advice as I worked on this or that. He and mom hadn’t gone to Florida this winter. That’s how we all knew to take what was happening very seriously.

Dad had never spent a night in the hospital before he was 80; he kept active and ate better than most. He didn’t smoke or drink. He seemed like the kind of character where 85-years-old would be just another milepost—not the end of the line.

In any event, he died on May 23, at home with his family. A few days before that, not sure he would make it home from the hospital to see it, we got out one of his favorite tractors, a ‘G’ OilPull and parked it outside his window. I know he appreciated this, because he did make it home and he told us how much it meant to see it again.

Dad was a social guy with a lot of interests, and he loved auctions and steam shows. You may not have known him, but in the past 15 -20 years, he was a regular at the Michigan Flywheelers in South Haven, MI (running the sawmill with his John Deere 820); the Boot Hill Ranch show in Jones, MI; Northeast Indiana Steam Show in LaGrange, IN; the Florida Flywheelers in Fort Meade and Pioneer Park Days in Zolfo Springs, FL.

When dad bought something at an auction, he used to tell mom that ‘he only paid a couple bucks more than the other guy;’ and joked that ‘he wanted to make sure I had stuff to sell at the auction when he died.’ I always told him that I liked the stuff he bought and that it was going to be a pretty small auction.

The truth is, Dad didn’t like going to auctions where the family was selling-out so soon after someone passed-away. You never know anyone’s circumstances, so it’s no good to judge. But, we had always made this old tractor hobby a family affair, and I know it pained him to see families in such a hurry to break with the past.

I always knew these old tractors were dad’s, but he never treated them that way. They were for everyone. He had a sign painted for the barn when I was not more than 10 years old that said, “Ralph & Bryan’s Toy Box.” When he exhibited tractors, he’d put all our names on them.

In the two weeks since he died, a lot of people have asked me ‘what are you guys going to do with all that stuff?’ The only answer I have is that we are going to continue loving it just like he did.

Dad bought his first antique engine in 1950 when he was only 18 years old – an old Ideal Power Lawn Mower and he gave $15 for it. This was followed by an old Hart-Parr in the 1960s and then a more-or-less steady stream of old tractors and implements. In the 1970s and 1980s, he spent some time showing tractors for Earl Marhanka, a friend who lived just a couple miles down the road from our family farm between Decatur and Dowagiac, MI. He bought an ‘S’ OilPull at Marhanka’s sale, and boy do we all love that tractor. Our toy box today is a lot bigger than we had when that old sign was painted, but the ‘S’ is still the biggest toy in there.

By profession, dad was a high school teacher, a part-time farmer, and a truck and bus driver. He had a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State and a Master’s from Central Michigan. He taught drafting and industrial arts at Central High School in Flint, MI for nearly 30 years – going home to Southwest Michigan to farm in the summertime.

He was in the United States Navy in the 1950s, and he was proud of his service. But, he was always careful to point out to people that while served ‘during’ the war, he didn’t serve ‘in’ the war, lest people give any accolades he didn’t feel he deserved.

Dad was a talented mechanic and he loved to work on other folks’ projects even more than his own. He often gave up his personal time and garage space to help friends and neighbors get their vehicle back on the road. He was easy-going and patient and he helped a lot of young people build their confidence around machines and engines.

I know most of you didn’t know him, and he didn’t post to SmokStak, but he liked reading the good threads when I’d send him a link. I can’t think of a more appropriate place to post a note about his death – he was a kindred spirit.
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Last edited by BMyrkle; 06-05-2017 at 11:11:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2017, 10:53:03 AM
Dean Lemer Dean Lemer is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

May he Rest In Peace, beautiful write up of his memory.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:42:31 AM
FWurth FWurth is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Beautiful obituary for super person. Deepest condolences.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:41:03 PM
mschreiber mschreiber is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

I knew of ur dad and looked forward to seeing him at s-haven and jones. thanks 4 the story. RIP Ralph, we'll all meet again.
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:04:17 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Reading the bio, I'd say the world has lost a first class man.
Best wishes to the Myrkle family at this time.
RM
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:10:15 PM
Oilpulled Oilpulled is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Nice history. He lives on in your and in others memory.
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:51:13 PM
OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Sorry for your loss.

Sounds like a Humble Man with Great Character.

I especially enjoyed reading his views on Estate Sales and Military Service as I am of the same opinion on both.

Glad to hear he made collecting and displaying a Family Affair, getting everyone involved.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:19:06 PM
NDmeterman NDmeterman is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

My condolences on your loss - it's not easy losing a parent.

Nice tribute.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:43:59 PM
Roger Wagner Roger Wagner is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Bryan that was an awesome Tribute to your Father.

First met him years ago when he was helping with Earls collection. Then I would look forward to seeing what he was going to bring to the Jones Show. It was always a pleasure to see him and always had a smile on his face. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. He will definitely be missed. RIP Ralph

Roger
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:34:49 AM
George White George White is offline
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Default Re: Ralph Myrkle

Sounds like an outstanding man that is now laid to rest. God bless his soul and comfort the family.
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