Community Member Memorial Page
A Tribute to Pat Browning
by Dave in Rogue River, Oregon (aka davr101)
Recently I had to do some carburetor work on my 1939 John Deere Model H. I dug out the Restoration Guide and Service Manuals I purchased from Pat Browning a few years ago and set about my business. As I was working on the H and running the carburetor tests listed in Pat's manuals, I couldn't help but think about him. Of course I think about him every time I get around the H, but this time I couldn't stop thinking about him. You see, Pat and I worked on a couple of projects together and I considered him a friend even though I'd never met him. I was deeply saddened to learn of his death and I still miss him.
I guess working on the H brought it all back to me. His advice and willingness to share his vast knowledge and experience with others passed with him. More importantly, a very good man was lost to all of us who knew him either personally, or through the tractor community. I had been away from the tractor hobby for quite some time due to family issues so I decided to look on Yesterday's Tractor Memorial Section to see if something had been written about him. Sadly, there had not been anything written so I asked for permission to do this memorial. Kim from Yesterday's Tractors graciously and enthusiastically gave me the go ahead. Thank you Kim!! I must say that there were a great many comments about Pat (AKA Radiator Bolt Man) on the Discussion Forum, which in itself is a tribute to the kind of man was. For those of you who posted those heartfelt comments and expressions of sympathy for the family, I thank you.
Pat was born on December 12, 1936 on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, about 75 miles from Chicago. It was there that his love for the John Deere tractor took root. He loved to drive the family's John Deere A, and even experienced the transition from steel wheels to rubber tires. Pat left the farm and went into the U.S. Air Force in 1955. He worked for a dozen years as an enlisted electronics technician and then got an officer's commission. He became a Communications Systems Engineer and ended up being an educator. He also wrote texts, workbooks, and examinations. This is undoubtedly where he gained the experience necessary to effectively work on mechanical objects and then write technical manuals about them. He felt it was vitally important to know HOW something worked in order to be able to fix or restore it properly. Pat retired from the Air Force in 1976 and then worked for Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) for a few years. His duties included work on the Apache Helicopter's night vision system and the Hellfire weapons systems. Following his retirement from Martin Marietta, he settled in Florida and became a "gentleman" farmer, raising peas, corn, beans, and sunflowers using a 1941 John Deere A, a 1942 John Deere H, and a 1947 IHC Farmall H. At this time he also began "sprucing up" old tractors. He moved to Texas in 2002 to be closer to family where he began working on John Deere H tractors. That's when he started writing the manuals and articles he was known for. His poor health prompted a move back the Florida where he spent his remaining years.
I wish I could have met Pat in person. If we were neighbors, I'm sure we would have been great friends. He and I did months of research to find how to correctly place the decals on my restored John Deere M. I was amazed by how much time and effort Pat put into that project, looking at old photos, doing research, and contacting people. All this resulted in me having a Model M with every decal placed in exactly the correct position. I may own the only restored Model M in the world with correct decal placement unless someone used the guide he wrote about John Deere M Decal Placement and published on his web site. Unfortunately the web site is no longer up.
I am certain I have not done justice to this wonderful man who took the time to help so many of us struggle through out restoration woes. He was always there for anyone who needed him and he helped without complaint. I researched past posts and found that Pat was answering questions and helping people right up to a week before he passed. He was one of a kind and cannot be replaced. To Pat's family and personal friends, I offer my deepest condolences for your loss. Rest in peace Pat. You will not be forgotten.
Dave in Rogue River, Oregon (aka davr101)
Discussion Forum Link: Pat Browning
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