The North Bend Eagle


Tractor back home
Joel and Waldo Janssen stand in front of a John Deere 520 tractor that Waldo bought new in 1956 and Joel bought in 2014.

Janssen's tractor takes long road hom

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/17/14

Waldo Janssen was pretty proud of the John Deere 520 he bought new in 1956. When he retired from farming in the late 1980s Jansen sold the tractor to Frank Pollard, who was going to farm Janssen’s ground.

As Pollard was driving off with the tractor, Joel Janssen came to visit his parents and saw the tractor leaving.

“I always liked that tractor,” Joel Janssen said.

Pollard said the tin work was in excellent shape so he repainted the tractor and used it for mowing, moving augers and other jobs around the farm.

“It was used a lot,” Pollard said.

When Pollard quit farming in 1992 an auction was held and the 520 tractor was purchased by a man from Valley.

In 2002 Joel Janssen and his wife were eating at a restaurant in Valley when the owner, a friend of Janssen’s, told him he knew who had purchased the tractor: Richard Allen of Valley.

Janssen, a dentist in Papillion, has a collection of ‘57 Chevys and old John Deere tractors. When he heard about the tractor, Janssen called the Allens and went to visit.

“They were a lovely couple,” Janssen said. “We had a good ‘farm’ visit sitting around the country kitchen table and eating cookies made by the wife.”

Allen did not want to sell the tractor but did quote Janssen a price. Jansen wrote them a thank you and said if he ever did want to sell the tractor to let him know.

Now move forward another 12 years. Janssen, 66, received a letter from Richard Allen’s wife.

“(Richard) had passed away and in looking through his papers she found a piece of paper stating that when he died to call Dr. Joel Janssen and offer him the tractor at the same price.”

Janssen knew it was the same tractor his dad had owned.

“I had put some of the first dings in it and they were still there in the right places,” Janssen said.

Pollard was happy to see the tractor with its original owner.

“I’m glad it found it’s way home,” Pollard said.

On Oct. 17 Janssen went to pick up the tractor. The first place he took the tractor was to show his 96-year-old dad.

“Dad was really surprised,” Janssen said. “We were both beaming and more than pleased. Dad bought this tractor, along with a John Deere 30 combine and a 227 mounted corn picker for $6,000. A cousin bought a pink Cadillac the same year for $6,000.””

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