Spotlight: 97-Year Old John Deere Dealer

February 23, 2011

I have a new goal.

To be like Joe. Joe who? Joe Colgan of Wyoming, IL. Last week on my way down to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY I stopped in Wyoming, IL for a kitchen table video interview with 97-year old Joe Colgan and his son Tim Colgan. Tim just retired after a long successful career with John Deere.

Joe? He went to work for Deere in 1933. From 1937-1947 he was a traveling territory man for Deere in central Illinois. In 1947 he bought into the local Deere dealership in Wyoming, IL. Sharp as a tac at 97, it was a pleasure to sit and visit with Joe and Tim about how the farm equipment business has changed over the years and decades.

Joe talks about taking used horses in on trade in the 1930’s. He talks about the change from corn pickers to combines. He talks about the days when dealers had no money and special order parts were delivered COD to the local post office. He shares with us the year his total Deere sales were $100,000…and how that was plenty to make a living and raise their 12 kids.

I posted the video interview in (3) parts. In part 3, Joe’s wife of 70 years (70!), Majella Colgan, joins us at the kitchen table and talks about what it was like to raise 12 kids. Yep, 12, an even dozen little Colgans. Now the Colgans number 85 kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

So much to learn I think from those who have gone ahead of us and blazed the trail. Folks like 97-year old Deere dealer Joe Colgan of Wyoming, IL.

Here’s part (3) of the video interview:

About Machinery Pete: Greg “Machinery Pete” Peterson has been working in the agricultural industry for 21 years and details agricultural equipment prices and trends at his website, Greg also writes columns for Successful Farming magazine, Implement & Tractor magazine, web site and also appears on the Machinery Show on RFD-TV.