Don's Obit (I had a surprisingly hard time finding it) -
Former dealer and author of John Deere history
Don Macmillan receives IAgrE Award 2009
Don Macmillan, former Wiltshire dealer and author of several volumes of John Deere history, died at the age of 93 on 11th September 2013. He was married to Bunny and had three sons, Craig, Bruce and Ian and three grandchildren Nadda, Michael and Laura.
Don was recognised as the world's foremost authority on the history of the John Deere company. Holder of the first dealer franchise in the UK, he was the author of many books on the subject including the definitive “John Deere Tractors and Equipment” volumes.
Born in 1919, Don’s passion for John Deere was kick-started by using a Model AR before the war and he was subsequently invited to visit the factory in America after the war. During the hostilities Don decided to make his contribution by purchasing his own tractor and plough and working for the “war ag” (The Agriculture Executive Committee). Starting with an Oliver 90, a Ransomes 4 furrow Multitrac and a fuel tender with a platform for his motorbike, Don moved around the South West looking for land ready to work eventually coming to Wiltshire where he has been ever since.
Much in demand and with so much work ordered, Don applied for a new John Deere which duly arrived in 1943, the business went from strength to strength and by 1947 Don was running 8 combines, 3 pick up balers and 4 John Deeres. He had also picked up the knack of dealing. 1947 also saw his first visit to the States and the start of the lifelong John Deere relationship, Don was appointed John Deere's first UK dealer in 1958 and the business went from strength to strength in the following years.
Don’s retirement from the trade in 1981 coincided with his authorship of the John Deere Album which was reprinted many times, Don’s name was as a consequence put forward as a candidate for authorship of the official ASAE John Deere history, Volume 1 in 1988 followed by Volume 2 in 1991, the subsequent Worldwide book was ready in 1994. Other titles followed such as The Big Book in 1991, The Little Book and The Field Guide in 2001, The Legacy in 2003 and The Encyclopedia in 2007.
Donald had been a member of IAgrE for 65 years, one of its longest serving members. He joined in 1948 as an Associate, became a Companion in 1974 and a Fellow in 2001. He received a "Contribution to the Landbased Sector" award in 2009 (pictured).
A keen cricket follower, Chris Biddle, Editor of Service Dealer says, "I often used to bump into Don in the Long Room at Lords, sat up in one of the high stools, when we would 'chew-the-cud' about the state of the game, the state of the industry or the state of the country!"
A Thanksgiving service will be held St John’s Church, Devizes on Tuesday 24th September 2013 at 2.00pm. Further details John Stuart Funeral Directors 01380 723883