The National Tractor Parts Dealer Association has a long history of helping our members grow their business. We thought it might be a good idea to "look
back" and profile some of the people who were with us near the beginning. Here is a short story about Herman Rempel, a lifetime member, who along with his wife, Jeannie attended nearly 20 NTPDA Annual Meetings. We reached out to his daughter Rebecca Braun who helped us pen this story:
Herman was fascinated by all things mechanical as a young boy. In his small home town of Niverville, Manitoba, he had the first transistor radio and subscription to Popular Mechanics. Some of his early toys included a horse and saddle, a green CCM bicycle he bought for $59 in 1950 with his paper route earnings, a Hiawatha scooter, a 1946 Chev convertible (the first built after WWII), a new fiberglass red and white Vanguard boat, a 1957 Vauxhall (which had the same Zenith-built carburetor as British Ferguson tractors), and a 1967 Lincoln Continental. Mostly every vehicle he owned he rebuilt, modified, and repainted red.
His first of eight airplanes was a Piper PA11 that he rebuilt from a wind-damaged wreck. It took one year and was finished two weeks before his wedding. He also owned three Cessna 172s, an Alon Aircoupe, a PA12 Piper (750 hours), a Beechcraft Sport, and finally a Cutlass RG Cessna 172 with 180 hp and retractable gear. Herman’s policy was always to be paid by and pay by certified cheque. This lesson was learned as he has numerous stories of how planes and automobiles were damaged on their ways home.
He worked for 11 years with his father, John K. Rempel, at an International Harvester dealership owned by Mr. George Kehler. To feed his growing family, he started rebuilding Ford 8N and 9N tractors in his car garage. He was known for his beautifully painted tractors and implements. Eventually, his hobby-turned-business grew and required him to buy two acres outside of his home tow. The yard had an abattoir which became his first building for repairs and storage. His business kept growing which required to hire more people, buy more land, build more buildings, erect more shelving, hire more people…you get it. He eventually farmed 80 acres with 3,500 tractors – that’s a Herman joke!
Herman was a walking encyclopedia of tractor parts information. He recalled almost every part number by heart and explained how and why and with what
you could interchange it. He also had jobber parts manufactured with modifications made to make them perform better.
Worthington purchased Rempel Tractor Parts in May 1994. Herman very much appreciated the way they treated him and enjoyed the five additional years he stayed in the business, including two winters in Sikeston, Missouri. There was no ownership stress, management and customers valued his knowledge, and he grew his relationships and formed new ones.
Former customers called him for information so he thought it would be good if he had a few replacement parts on-hand. Herman had a giant auction sale of parts and tools in 2017, so you can imagine that those “few” parts expanded out of his garage and basement and into storage trailers.
He is a man of integrity, a wonderful storyteller, and is generous and empathetic. He was bighearted with his time and resources at their churches and in their communities.
He married the love of his life, Jeannie Buhr, in October 1964 and together they had four beautiful children. Now their family has grown to 24 with everyone included! They fully and happily retired when they moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Calgary, Alberta in December 2017 to be close to their daughters.