By Gregg Hillyer, Editor-in-Chief, Progressive Farmer
John R. Harvey, past AAEA President (1980) and AAEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (2011), passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 25th, he was 84 years old. He was born in Cosby, Missouri, on April 12, 1935 to Pauline and John William Harvey (both educators), and attended the University of Missouri where he graduated in 1957 with an Agricultural Journalism degree. In 1961, he married Carol Joy Freeman, also a University of Missouri graduate.
John worked at the Savannah Reporter and at several agricultural publications, including Missouri Farmer Magazine, Successful Farming Reiman Publishing and Farm Journal. He joined the DuPont Company’s agrochemicals division in 1976. That same year, he was the managing editor for the Department of Agriculture’s special edition Bicentennial Yearbook of Agriculture. During his tenure as president and board member of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, he met with four U.S. Presidents.
After 16 years with DuPont, John started his own business, Classic Tractor Fever, a company that was a labor of love, celebrating antique tractors and the farmers who drive them. His antique tractor videos, calendars, TV shows, and playing cards were enjoyed by thousands of fellow antique tractor lovers. He wrote three books on tractors and farming, won several awards for his farm-related articles, and became known as “Mr. Tractor” in farming circles.
John was a longtime and active member of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and taught classes at Lifelong Learning. He was an active member of his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, and served on its Board of Directors. He also served eight years in the U.S. National Guard.
John Harvey is survived by his beloved wife, Carol, and their three children: Dave Harvey of Oak Hill, Virginia; Dan Harvey of Elliott City, Maryland; Jen Lee of Greenville, Delaware. He is also survived by his sister, Donna Hillyer of Shenandoah, Iowa.
The memorial service was held on August 31, 2019.