Community pays respects to Crawford County farmer with tractor tribute

GIRARD, Kan. – Michael E. Viets was a man his daughter describes as kind and fair, a dedicated farmer in Brazilton, Kansas.

One thing he loved was tractors and that’s why dozens of them appeared along the route to his final resting place.

“Seeing all the equipment lined up today, especially the John Deere tractors and combines, that just would’ve made him smile even bigger to know that everybody was there for him,” said Becca Diskin, one of Mike’s daughters.

The combine holds special significance for Mike’s longtime neighbor and friend, Jack Beezley. He bought it from him awhile back, but made sure it was in attendance as the procession moved past.

“He loved green and he loved John Deere. So, it’s just a special thing to do, loved to do it,” said Beezley.

Mike died on December 13th at the age of 67 after a long battle with vascular dementia. His friends, family and neighbors say they’ll always remember him with a smile.

“Just a special guy. You know, we’d visit. I’d be up feeding in the evening and he’d come out and we’d visit for a half our or so about what’s going on, about cattle, farming, that’s what farmers do,” shared Beezley.

Mike loved to go for long drives across the countryside, probably passing by the same spots where pieces of farm equipment proudly stood in his honor. It’s a simple, yet powerful gesture for this tight-knit farming community.

“Neighbors in small town America just love each other,” Beezley said.

“I think we felt like the community really showed us how much of a great man he was even beyond what we already knew,” expressed Diskin.

Mike is survived by his wife, Lora, six children, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandson, his mother, two brother and a sister. The whole family is thankful for the loving display they witnessed in Girard.