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Community Member Memorial Page

In Memory Of
Peter Ray Lutzke

Words from Jeff Lutzke

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Jeff Lutzke, and over the past few years I have communicated with some of you regarding help with your Massey Harris tractors. That help, of course, was my father, Peter Ray Lutzke. On Monday, March 17th, shortly before noon, he suffered a massive heart attack, and as tough as he was he did not make it. There isn't enough time or space to say all the words that describe all the great things about him that we will all miss. He had seven grandchildren that will miss him dearly. He loved spoiling them. There are two little guys that are too young for them to remember Grandpa Tractors, but I know the other 5 will tell them all about him when they get older because they loved him so much.

I'm the youngest of his four children. There is Steven, Teresa, Maria, and me. We are all married and have children of our own. And, although we feel cheated that he was taken so soon from us, we need to focus on what good came. His knees and back hurt him so some days he could barely walk. Now, I'm sure his is jumping and dancing like he was 20 years old.

He told us many times that when his time would come he would not regret a thing, and not to be sad because he enjoyed his life and he lived it to the fullest. He was well known for his heavy equipment excavation, he was a logger, he plowed snow for the township, he sold firewood, chain saws, wood stoves, wood splitters, he raised black Clydesdale horses, and over the last 10 years Massey Harris tractors became his obsession. There are so many more things he did, and people that he helped. He never had a lot of money, but he was never afraid to help someone who was worse of than he.

When he got involved with the tractors, he and mom started traveling with his big green Dodge dually. He felt like a king driving that truck, and bringing home those red & yellow treasures. The driveway and yard is scattered with tractors, some complete and some in parts.

One of his biggest pleasures of the tractors was the people that he met on their journeys. No matter how much work there was to be done, he always found time to share a story, or take one in from someone else. He was a person that needed to be around other people. He needed the interaction, if it was just to share a joke or two.

There is so much more that could be said about dad, and I kind of feel like I am not doing justice to him. Maybe in the next few days or weeks I will add more. I will try to stay active on this board to help keep the Massey spirit alive from dad, Mr. Massey.

Words from Teresa (Lutzke) Lett

I'm the 2nd child of 4 in the Peter Lutzke Family. The compassion shown by all of you have made our time of sorrow bearable. I have 5 nephews, 1 niece and my own daughter who dearly miss their Grandpa and are comforting us and reminding us of him everyday. He may have passed by his spirit lives well within them. I you wish to send a note to my Mother and share your stories, please send it to:

Diane Lutzke
W4496 CTH FF
Elkhart Lake WI 53020

I may only have 3 biological siblings but I have have many extended (nonrelated) siblings and we all thank you for all the good thoughts and concern showed by all who knew him.

Words from Maria Splittgerbert

Hi. I am still in shock over the sudden passing of my dad, Pete Lutzke, but I just wanted to say that both of my brothers hit the nail right on the head when describing our dad. He was an honest, hard-working man who never let life pass him by. If there was something he wanted to do, he did it. He would squeeze more in 24 hour days than some people did in weeks. Being his youngest daughter, he really set the bar for anyone that I would marry as it is pretty hard to top a man that can do anything. And, let me tell you, he could. He was so mechanically inclined, I don't think there was a thing out there that he couldn't build or fix. It may sound like I am exaggerating, but I'm not. He was an incredible person who always had time to help his family, friend or even a complete stranger, no matter the cost. Things were pretty tight while we were growing up, but I would never change a thing as I think it made us even closer and stronger as a family. More than once, he would stop to help someone stranded on the side of the road and never ask for a penny. One time, two young people from Kentucky were on their way to upper Michigan and their old truck broke down a few miles from our house. Our dad & his father pulled the truck to our house & replaced the transmission, etc, to get it running by using parts from another truck we had. In the meantime, the two young people lived with us & ate with us for a week as they had no money & had no where else to go. When the truck was done, he sent them on their way & never charged them a thing because that was the type of the person he was. To him, helping someone in need was payment enough and that was a valuable lesson he taught all of us at an early age. As far as the Massey-Harris tractors go, he did teach me how to drive them shortly after he purchased the farm from his parents. The land hadn't been worked for several years and our equipment was slightly outdated. We used 2 trailers, one without sides and one with. My dad would normally drive the tractor and I would pull the bales off of the baler with a hook since it wasn't a kick-baler. My brother Jeff would then stack what I pulled off. One day, my dad stopped & said he had to go to work. He called me up to the tractor & showed me where the clutch was, the power take-off, the brakes and the gas. He must have had a lot of confidence in me as that was my training session. After a shaky start, I did okay and actually enjoyed those days out in the field raking &/or baling. Maybe not always at the time when my friends were going to the beach, but I have never regretted it. Being a girl, I probably got out of doing as much as my brothers as they had to help alot more than I did, but I really enjoyed learning how to do things from our dad. If you were willing to learn, he always had the time to teach you. Later on, he did get newer equipment, including a kick-baler, and I didn't get to help as much as I would have liked to. I always wanted to, but ironically, there just never seemed to be enough time to do it all.

In closing, I never would have thought our dad would leave us when he was only 65. The selfish part of me wanted him here for at least another 20 years, if not more. He has left some pretty big shoes to fill and if I can be even half of the person he was, I would be extremely happy with myself. He never gave up, even over the past 5-10 years when the excrutiating pain in his back and legs made getting up & down from a chair extremely painful. He just kept moving and refused to give up the fight. We tried to do him right and displayed his most prized possessions at his funeral including several of his scale model tractors, his scale model Studebaker Golden Hawk, numerous pictures from over the years and the M-H pedal tractors he would get in IA on his way to North Dakota for the grandkids. (We are in WI, and IA is NOT on the way to ND. Just gives you a little insight how important it was to him for the grandkids to have them.) We also had one of his M-H 333s on his big goose-neck trailer behind his Dodge 3500 in front of the funeral home both days. On the day of the funeral, our brother Steve drove our dad's truck with the trailer and tractor behind it to the cemetary as our mom rode in the passenger side. That is were she rode all these years on their various tractor trips all over the midwest & it made her feel a little better to be in the truck again. Let me tell you, I had tears in my eyes when I heard that diesel engine running again last Wednesday night as they worked on getting it ready for the funeral. I know alot of things are going to do that over the years as there are so many things that will make me think of our dad. But, we can't bring him back and I know in my heart he is in a better place. My husband and I have 2 little boys, ages 2 & 4, and they loved going to see "Grandpa Tractor". So did we and we all are going to miss him terribly. Rest in peace, dad.

Words from Steve Lutzke

Let me introduce myself, my name is Steven Peter Lutzke. My brother Jeff posted this notice and I think he captured our Dad to a tee. I am Peter's oldest son and to say it has been a challenge trying to live up to his expectaions of how a person should live their life is an understatement.

One of the first tractors my dad had purchased was a MH 333. He used it for pulling out logs many years ago and then it worked on our Grandpa's farm for farm work in the Summer. 31 years ago I was 9 years old and couldn't reach the clutch. My Dad and Grandpa mounted a 4x4 wood block to the pedal and then added a metal iron so that my foot wouldn't slide off when i pushed it in. My son turned 12 this year and 2-3 years ago he started to learn how to drive the same tractor. The same 4x4 wood block is still on the clutch and serves the same purpose. I'm proud that my son is continuing the facination with these great tractors.

In 1997 Dad purchased a model 97 MF and restored it prior to the big Massey show near Racine Wi. We hauled 3-truck loads of Tractors down and back up. All but two of the loads were with my Dad and my son. He was so proud of that tractor (97) and that we were there at the show with him. To this day my son still talks about that show. My son and I drove the 97 through one of the parade's with Jeff on another and my Dad at the end. When we drove by everyone stood up and applauded. I looked back at my Dad and I could see the smile from ear to ear.

To say that we will miss him is an understatement, he was the rock for our family. If I end up being half the man that he was I will feel that my life was worth while. I told my mother that it was hard growing up with a legend for a father and I truly meant it. I am very proud to say that he was my father. The world would be a better place if it had a few more Peter Lutzke's in it. The ethics and morals for which he stood for and engraved into our family makes me feel very fortunate to have had him as a father.

If you knew him at all you knew about the pain he has had to cope with the past few years with his back and knee's. Yet he never gave up or quit. I truly hope his pain is now gone. To those of you who have posted a response to Jeff's message I would like to Thank You on behalf of our family. All of your comments will be shared with everyone in our family.

If God exist and I think he does, he just found himself one heck of a man, father and a great source for MH tractor information. For me he was Dad and for alot of people they just called him the Massey Man. We miss you Dad!

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