Eulogy for Joe Hannibal Utsler

Eulogy for Joe Hannibal Utsler – 05/01/1911 – 09/10/2000
We all have our memories of Joe Hannibal Utsler of Peru Iowa. For some, he was the young farm hand who took “gazing breaks” to watch the pretty young schoolteacher across the road. For others, he was the father who cried because he had to leave his only daughter in the city with nothing but ten dollars in her pocket. I didn’t know him as the farmer, the traveller, or the friend. To me, he was ‘Grandpa.’
My brother and I used to spend a part of every summer on the farm, and what I looked forward to most (other than Grandma’s cooking) were the tractor rides. Grandpa Joe would pull up near the farmhouse on his big yellow Case, I’d climb up into his lap, and we’d take off across the farm. While we were out, I’d help steer and he’d tell me grandpa stuff. …at least I think it was grandpa stuff. The tractor was pretty loud, and I suppose he could have been telling me to watch out for the gully. It seemed like the tractor rides were always over way too soon, the summer was over way too soon, and I’d be headed back to Denver. I don’t remember when I stopped getting tractor rides, I know I never stopped wanting them. I remember a lot about my grandpa. Sitting with him in his chair, kissing his stubbly cheek… but my best memories will always be my “Grandpa” time on the tractor.
Grandpa is all dressed up for his final trip now, with a brand new pair of bib overalls and a fresh cigar. I know he’d want Grandma to take a few more trips of her own so she would have some new stories when she finally goes to meet him. We love you Grandpa Joe.
    — Winterset Iowa, 09/12/2000

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