Joe Barshinger loved a good tractor ride.
For years, Joe Barshinger joined his farm buddies on organized tractor rides with caravans of the vintage machines trekking through country roads and small towns. Travelling at the slow tractor speeds, he enjoyed the countryside and comradery with other tractor drivers at the rest stops.
He drove his 1950 John Deere A which he and his father, Clarence, restored. Or he might have driven his 1958 JD 820 or the 1963 JD 1010 tractor. In later years he powered his 1963 JD 4010 Standard tractor which provided more comfort for some of the longer rides.
The JD A, 4010, and 820, followed by Joe’s last restoration 550 Oliver, led over a 30 tractor procession during the Waterman Summerfest Tractor Parade held July 20 to pay tribute to Joe who passed away earlier this year.
The next day some of the same tractors and a few more participated in the Joe Barshinger Memorial Tractor Drive, a 20-mile ride from Waterman Lions Park to Shabbona County Park.
“It was bittersweet seeing everyone honoring Joe,” said Phyllis Barshinger, his widow. “Everyone seemed to remember his smile, good humor, and great knowledge of the old times and agriculture changes through the years.”
Kevin Hickey, a good friend of Joe’s, organized the tractor ride to memorialize him and to generate donations for a new Joe Barshinger Memorial Scholarship. Tractor riders gave generously by paying an entry fee and provided additional donations for scholarships.
The Barshinger family from rural Shabbona and Waterman was grateful to everyone involved with the tractor ride held July 21. “Joe would have loved every minute of it,” said Phyllis.
Joe was a former DeKalb County Farm Bureau Director who died unexpectedly in a farm accident in April at the age of 72. He was a lifelong farmer who enjoyed the land and the generations of family members who worked the land. One of his favorite hobbies was restoring old family tractors and participating in tractor drives.