Remembering Dale Fulton - 96 Year Old Lifelong Bachelor Farmer From Illinois

It's been my honor for nearly 28 years to cover so many farm retirement auctions and get to know so many amazing farm folks all over North America. Lots of great memories.

Always for me one of the most special days will be August 11, 2016...Dale Fulton's farm retirement auction in Arthur, IL. Dale was a 95 year old lifelong bachelor, former World War II aviator, champion airplane racer after the war, commercial pilot for TWA, started farming in 1970 after his folks died, amazing line up of the cleanest CaseIH and IHC tractors I've ever seen.

Dale passed away yesterday at the age of 96.


Here's a link to the original blog post I wrote about Dale just prior to his farm auction last year:

Dale's auction day was hot. Very hot. 99 or 100 degrees if I remember right. This Minnesota boy was melting. But such a fun day. When we film auctions for our TV show ( when possible we like to do video interview with the owners. With it being 100 degrees we didn't know if 95 year old Dale would be up for an interview. We shouldn't have doubted. Dale was ready for whatever life threw at him.

So we sat on the tailgate of his pickup, in the shade of a beautiful tree just behind the line of equipment that was about to sell. The years had bent Dale over a bit, but his eyes were sharp, his voice quiet but clear. We talked about flying. How did an Illinois farm boy develop the urge to fly I asked Dale.

"Pete, I always like to go fast," Dale told me.

He explained how as a 12 or 13 year old kid on the farm he drove motorcylcles. Drove them very fast. "There were no speed limits in those days," Dale said with a twinkle in his eye.

Earlier in the morning, when our film crew first arrived at Dale's farm to film the auction, we witnessed something truly moving I thought. Dale had ALWAYS kept his tractors shedded. Always. We watched and filmed Dale driving his 4 red tractors out of the shed to the auction line up. 

95 year old bachelor farmer driving his tractors for the last time.

Standing there watching Dale, hunched over by the years, slowly climb the steps up into his huge Case IH STX450 tractor with 712 hours...made you stop and think of the changes this man had seen in his lifetime. Born May 9, 1921 in Pierson Station, IL. Dale steadily drove the huge modern tractor out of the shed to the front of the auction line.


Then he came back for the last tractor. His favorite. The IHC 856 with just 3,172 hours. It was a privilege to be there watching Dale start up the 856 for the last time and roll it out the shed. Hard not get misty standing there watching.


The 856 sold for a then record high auction sale price of $18,000. Here's Youtube video I posted of the 856, the STX450 and the CaseIH Steiger 335 HD 4WD tractor selling: 


It was an honor to be there at Dale's retirement auction in Arthur, IL on August 11, 2016. A day I won't forget. Rest in peace Dale.


1 Like