A Touching Tractor Tribute for Iowa Man Who Lost Battle with Cancer

USFR-FTF 5.16.20
With COVID-19 restrictions, the community knew a traditional funeral service wasn’t possible. So, they orchestrated a special tribute. ( Caleb Hamer )

David Beenken was a staple in his community. A proud farmer since 1976, his farming career was full of challenges, including the crisis in the 1980s and producing pigs in the 1990s. While he had a love for farming, he also had a love for tractors and went to school to be a diesel mechanic.

“He was the neighborhood mechanic,” says Caleb Hamer, a farmer in Hudson, Iowa. “Anything of his genre. he'd be willing to work on.”

People who knew David Beenken say he was a man with a generous soul, always eager and willing to help.

“He was so outgoing,” says Scott Beenken, a farmer in Hudson, Iowa and David’s son. “He was a social animal, really. He thrived with people.”

David had a memorable smile rooted in compassion, and a farmer who will now be missed.

“Dad passed away really suddenly after being diagnosed with lung cancer,” says Beenken.

With COVID-19 restrictions, the community knew a traditional service wasn’t possible. So, they orchestrated a special tribute.  

 

“The entire route between the town and the cemetery, farmers had lined up their equipment,” says Beenken.

A 12 mile stretch from the church to the cemetery lined with tractors, some equipment even featured signs and banners.

“It was a really, really touching tribute,” says Beenken. "It just goes to show you how much the closeness of the farming community really means to everybody."

The final farewell to a friend, also serving as a reminder even in the midst of social separation, bonds and friendships can’t be broken

“He will be missed just because of that smile on his face,” says Hamer. “It was always good to see David walk in the shop or walk in the house.”

As David passed on his passion for farming to his son, he also showed a love for his family; a love that will never be forgotten.

“The level of commitment that he has to us as a family that we never went without; even if he did, we never did.”

 

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