Andy Gortsema EDGETA Branch 54

Andy-Gortsema

The Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club, Branch 54 of Lewiston, ID is honored and proud to submit the name of Mr. ANDY GORTSEMA as a member of the EDGETA Hall of Fame.

Andy is 80+ years young and has been a member of our club, even back when it was first started as Branch 7 in the early 1980’s.  In recognition of his many years of service to our club, Andy was recently given a prestigious Life Membership award by our club in October 2008.

Andy was born in the Grangeville, ID area, one of 9 children.    His farm background started his love of engines, and the need to get and keep them running to make the farm work more efficient and easier at an early age; and mechanics and engines have been the foundation for his life long profession.  Andy worked many years for an IHC dealer in Fairfield, WA and retired from that profession to spend full time with his family and his love of giving new life to many pieces of “Old Iron”, not only for himself but also for his many friends.

Andy is a quite man, but very full of knowledge—both from book learning and what he gained from the “school of hard knocks”!  Andy is always ready to share this vast knowledge with any who seek it, whether young or old.  Yes, you do need to ask for that information, as Andy doesn’t force his knowledge on others.  If he doesn’t know, he will tell you so, but within a short time, he will have the answer you need.  This knowledge ranges all the way from a 50+ HP Fairbanks-Morse YV to a single cylinder ½ HP Plunket Junior—not to mention tractors.  Andy has had the opportunity during his life to collect and restore some extremely rare engines and tractors.

This man is known by many collectors here in the Pacific Northwest, and is loved and respected by all.  He has a unique knowledge of the many makes of engines, but he also knows by looking at a picture, not only which engine it is, but most likely who owns it!

His homemade aluminum can crusher utilizing a 1 cylinder make & brake engine and complicated mechanism has kept many 1000’s of fairgoers entertained for many years at the Spokane Interstate and other fairs where he has been a exhibitor for many years.  In addition, Andy has caused many a head to be scratched, and to this date, they still have not figured out his “weeping willow faucet” that has no source of water—and he isn’t about to tell you his secret!

One of the highlights of any gathering is getting Andy to relate some of his life long stories, of which he has many—-some of which are even told with a “twinkle in his eye”!

While Andy has never opted to be a line officer in the club, he has served as a director–first being elected in 1981—and he was also instrumental in guiding the club back to life as branch 54.  He has faithfully attended the meetings and supported the club in many ways, including hosting club gatherings—no easy task—as most of you know!  Andy is also a long time member of the Spokane, WA area club, originally the Inland Empire Steam and Gas Buffs and has served as a director in that club also.  (This above Spokane club just recently joined EDGE&TA as Branch number 197.)

Andy and his family have recently completed and opened the family’s “Last Dutchman Gortsema Museum” located by his house and shop.  Visitors are utterly amazed at the total collection of memorabilia and artifacts of early history that Andy has amassed (in addition to his engines, tractors and vehicles) and the attractive manner in which they are displayed in the 30’ x 36’ building.

In summary, whereas Andy may not be the best known individual in the “Old Iron” world, his vast knowledge, friendly manner and contributions to the hobby and our club,  certainly make him a candidate worthy of your consideration for the EDGE&TA Hall of Fame.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
David Ruark