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Long live Dale Peters, the Flying Farmer

05 Jan
Dale Peters accepts congratulations from promoter Ernie Cook for his 1973 Novice Division championship in Maquoketa, Iowa. Announcer Tom Feller and a trophy girl look on. Photo from Phil Roberts collection.

Dale Peters accepts congratulations from promoter Ernie Cook for his 1973 Novice Division championship in Maquoketa, Iowa. Announcer Tom Feller and others look on. Photo from the Phil Roberts collection.

Dale Peters at speed in 1978.  Photo from the Phil Roberts collection.

Dale Peters at speed in 1978. Photo from the Phil Roberts collection.

A wave from the Flying Farmer in 1979.  Photo from Phil Roberts collection.

A wave from the Flying Farmer in 1979. Photo from Phil Roberts collection.

I raced Dale's truck on Aug. 4, 1979.  Photo from Phil Roberts collection.

I raced Dale’s truck on Aug. 4, 1979. Photo from Phil Roberts collection.

The photo from Dale's obituary.

The photo from Dale’s obituary.

One of the downsides of aging is opening the paper to the obituaries and reading that someone who made a positive difference in your life has died. For me, that happens more and more all the time.

I learned yesterday (Jan. 3, 2013) that Dale Peters of Maquoketa, formerly of Grand Mound, had died. (His obituary follows this.)

I knew Dale as the Flying Farmer, the driver of a racing pickup truck. I had the pleasure of announcing Dale’s races at the tracks in Tipton and Maquoketa for many years, starting in 1978. I even had the honor once of driving his truck in an officials’ race. (No, I didn’t wreck it. But I spun out in front of everyone while running up front and scared myself.)

Most important, I had the pleasure of knowing Dale and his family personally. And I can say without hesitation that he was one of the nicest guys I have ever met on or off the track. I used to call him Mr. Congeniality.

I’ll never forget Dale’s broad smile, his kind words, the spring in his step and, while racing, his wave to the fans every single time he sailed down the straightaway past the grandstand — no matter how busy he was behind the wheel.

I have always enjoyed racing, but it became a little less fun when Dale hung up his helmet and the yellow and white pickup truck quit coming through the pit gate.

+++++++++++++
GRAND MOUND, Iowa — Dale Henry Peters, 76, of Maquoketa, Iowa, formerly of Grand Mound, Iowa, died Tuesday morning, January 1, 2013, at his home.

Dale was born September 16, 1936, in Clinton, to Lester George Fredrick and Mildred Fern (Bird) Peters. He was a graduate of Welton High School. On September 13, 1959, Dale was united in marriage to Judith Joy Petersen in the Low Moor United Methodist Church. Dale served in the Army in Stuttgart, Germany, for several years, where his oldest daughter was born. Dale farmed for many years at rural Grand Mound, and was self-employed as a mechanic. He also had been employed by Eller Construction at Eldridge and Liqui Grow in DeWitt.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church of DeWitt and a former member of the school board for Central Community Schools. Dale raced stock cars in Maquoketa and Tipton for 14 years and was known as the “flying farmer.” He was an avid collector and restorer of antique tractors. Dale and Judy also enjoyed riding in tractorcades and traveling to many foreign countries together.

Surviving is the love of his life Judy of 53 years; daughters and sons-in-law, Jill and Randy Franzen of Maquoketa, and Jayne and John Watters of Andrew, Iowa; grandchildren, Jarett (fiancee, Riley Diercks), Nathan Watters and Kyle Watters; sisters and brothers-in-law, Millicent and Donald Hunsaker of Casstown, Ohio, Madelyn and Steven Olsen of Marion, Iowa, Nancy and Lonnie Blackwell of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Nadine and Dick Sojka of Solon, Iowa; and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Preceding Dale in death were his parents.

The family will greet relatives and friends at the United Methodist Church of DeWitt, from 2 to 7 p.m. today. A Service of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Friday, January 4, 2013, in the United Methodist Church, DeWitt. The Reverend Chuck Kelsey will officiate. Military rites and burial will be at Clinton Lawn Cemetery. Schultz Funeral Home of DeWitt is caring for the arrangements.
Pallbearers will be Alfred Casad, Tom Casad, Donnie Haack, Rick Ryan, Russell Rock, Doug Toenjes, Ray Flammang, and Alan Stampe.

Condolences may be expressed and a photo tribute viewed at http://www.schultzfuneralhomes.com.

Copyright 2013 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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1 Comment

Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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One response to “Long live Dale Peters, the Flying Farmer

  1. R.B.

    August 3, 2016 at 5:07 am

    The Flying Farmer

    Round and round across the straightaways,
    He mans the lever and the pedal as he waves.
    The race is just a pickup game,
    His life is lived as though it were the same.
    His bellows billow chuckles out in teams,
    This man who ran on antique tractor steam.

    A weathered helmet now a decoration,
    Beside his medals and his dedication.
    The first time he’s lied, this charmer,
    So still, so strange to see him in this state.
    The Flying Farmer in shining armor,
    Briskly whistles toward his final gate.

     

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