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October 24, 2013

A farmer dies, and an Indiana community comes together

GALVESTON, Ind. — Gerald Sullivan died in early September, but thanks to a close-knit army of fellow farmers, his last crop came in Wednesday.

About 100 farmers helped Sullivan's family harvest his corn and soybeans, despite light showers and overcast skies. The farmers took to different parts of Sullivan's 600 acres, where they drove a fleet of combines and trucks to bring his crops to grain elevators nearby.

Sullivan, 76, died in early September as a result of a non-farming accident. As the community learned of his passing, farmers immediately began volunteering to help his family.

Emotion obvious in her voice, Sullivan's daughter, Julie Rybolt, told the assembled farmers Wednesday they were in the hearts of her family.

“Dad was so blessed and honored to have all of you here today,” she said. Sullivan had planned to retire from farming after this year, she said, and this would have been his last harvest.

Sullivan's son, Dean, and other farmers remembered him as a jolly personality who knew many people but never had an enemy.

Another daughter, Tammy Radez, said her father always said his first love was the Lord, his second was family and his third was farming.

“I love a community where everyone comes together," she said. "Dad would love this. I told the guys when they were out harvesting to think of Dad sitting beside you.”

Ken de la Balestide writes for the Kokomo, Ind., Tribune.

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