As chairperson for the Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association Hall of Fame I am proud to announce Robert Messick from Fremont, California for Hall Of Fame 2002. Robert was selected from an extensive list of nominees and selected for his contributions to our hobby. His wife Jean and his daughters Judy Turner and Marian Lee accepted Robert’s award.
Jerry Mac Martin
Bob, a long time resident of Fremont California, passed away at his home on the first of July 2001 at 70 years, nine months.
Bob enjoyed purchasing and restoring antique engines and was known as the “Tinkering Fremont Man.” From 1976 to 1983, Bob with his wife Jean, took trips lasting from four to six weeks each year. They displayed and demonstrated 21 County Fairs including the California State Fair. Along the way, they stopped at libraries and cemeteries to further Jean’s research of their family histories.
Bob, with his background as a farmer and knowledge of machinery, was hired to help open the East Bay Regional Park’s “Ardenwood Historic Farm.” From 1984 to 1989, he was a supervisor and known as “Farmer Bob.” He was involved in the purchasing and training of the Belgian draft horses, sibling Charlie and Charlotte. The horses pulled the farming implements used to plow and plant the farm’s crops. These beautiful draft horses also gave public wagon rides around the historic farm.
Bob’s collection of antique engines dates from 1913 to 1933. He is a pioneer in restoring machinery and displaying their unique actions. Bob’s first engine was a McCormick-Deering water pump similar to the one he had on the farm as a boy. This ” Red Water Pump” was used in a performance of the play The Miracle Worker at Castro Valley High School in 1983.
From 1990 to 2001, the patrons of the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton benefited from the displays of Bob’s collection. Bob, as the curator, increased the size and interest in the exhibit, while Jean was the coordinator of Early American Life Antique Crafts and Museum. The exhibit includes restored machinery and demonstrations of crafts. Inside the building were displays of antique collections. The most popular spot among children, young and old, during the Fair was the wonderful ” Water Show and Display” that Bob developed.
Bob and Jean traveled across the United States from coast to coast focusing on museums, antique machinery shows, historic farms and fairs.
Some of the most valued times in his life were working with his daughters, Judy with dancing and talent shows and Marian with ice skating and amateur ice shows. And later with grandchildren Bobby and Chris with science and building projects, and Courtney with her doll house. Two of the projects were a tree house and a skate board ramp. The most outstanding was the red and green antique gas engine converted to a vehicle to pull grandchildren and loads in local parades.
Bob was a member of the Early Day Gas Engine & amp; Tractor Association Branch # 3 of San Jose, California and the American Association of Historic Farms and Museums.
Bob has restored a horse drawn fire pump. He also has restored around 50 engines and many tractors, steam rollers, and Windmills.