Edwards’ voice will never be forgotten

Duane "Lum" Edwards found some rest at the gazebo one day last year at the Great Darke County Fair. He is shown with his friend, Vickie Gossard. (Linda Moody photo)

GREENVILLE—In addition to those who are connected with the Darke County Tractor Pullers Association (DCTPA) and mourning the loss of Duane “Lum” Edwards, so are others in the area who knew this Darke County native son.

The DCTPA spent much of its banquet Saturday night focusing on this loss to the organization, and rightfully so. Edwards, owner/operator of Black Sheep Announcing, traveled through Ohio and Indiana for more than 34 years announcing the tractor and truck pulls, not to mention demolition derbies and kiddie tractor pulls.

“Let our celebration of Lum’s life not stop tomorrow or any day soon, let us remember each day, at each pulling event, the love and passion Lum had not just for pulling but for life and for each life he touched,” it was stated.

Edwards died at Wayne HealthCare on Jan. 23 at the age of 75.

Craig Schlechty, who presented the tribute at the banquet, remarked, “Yesterday evening, many of us stood in line to honor Duane ‘Lum’ Edwards to pay a much too small tribute to a man that was a large part of not just this organization but of every life he touched.”

One of the founding members of the DCTPA, Edwards was also a past president and was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame.

It was reported that at the start of the DCTPA, Tim Palmer suggested it be Edwards, who someone described as shy and quiet, to become the announcer “because he had the voice for it.” And, like they say, the rest is story.

As noted at the banquet, Edwards advocated not just for the sport but its members as well, whether it was just a kind word, fundraising 4-H projects or raising funds for families in need.

“When he announced, you could hear the passion for the sport and for the families in his voice,” the DCTPA tribute stated. “Sometimes, you could almost get someone life’s story as they were going down the track or their updates if you attended enough pulls. He didn’t just know the puller, he knew their grandparents, parents and kids, because he cared. At times it was hard to figure out who was more excited about someone’s first hook going smoothly, or a first full pull…the puller or Lum.”

As noted before Edwards knew a lot of people with his work in the Cancer Association of Darke County, Board of Elections, Darke County Fair elections, Darke County Solid Waste District, Keep Darke County Beautiful Group, National Hot Rod Association, Greenville Power of the Past, Greenville Lodge No. 329 Loyal Order of Moose, Union City Heritage Days Committee, Greenville FFA Alumni and Greenville High School Alumni Association as well as the DCTPA, NTPA and the HSTPA.

A 1965 graduate of Greenville High School, he worked as an assembly technician for the Union City Body Company for 47 years, until his retirement.

Others who shared their thoughts on Edwards are as follows:

“I will miss him at the fair, especially election day at the fair,” said Cindy Lovejoy. “Wow, not long ago we lost Dave Niley, head of the Demolition Derby…now, Duane head of the tractor pull. That’s two BIG losses. Prayers to both families. They will be missed.Susi Thompson had this to say, “Lum was a good friend and we shared some fun times. As you know, we did a lot of front-porch sitting. Oh the silly stories we shared. And some tears too.”

“My heart can’t wrap my head around this. My second dad through childhood — and we got even closer as we aged,” said Darla Miller of Greenville. “I remember the first time we talked after Ben (her first husband) passed and how you cried the tears for me and my soldier. And less than two months later, you lost Cassie and I was crying for you and Toni for your girl, and then not too long later, Toni joined Cassie and I was crying again. The talks, dinners and visits we shared since then have been so emotionally healing for both of us. I just always knew I had you in my corner. Today, my tears of sadness and grief are for me and this world that just got a little darker…for Dawn, Vickie and everyone who loved you and in return, were loved by you. For your UCBC and NTPA families. For Darke County and for the amazing man you were.”

She went on, “The tears for you today are happy tears. I know you are walking the streets of gold (more like dirt for the tractors) with Toni, Cassie, your parents, and your beloved four-legged child. I can’t wish to take that away from you. I know your heart is fully restored. It’s ours that now has an extra hole that you always filled. Rest easy, Dad #2 – you will never be forgotten. I love you always.”

Brittany Anderson remarked, “It absolutely breaks my heart to see that our announcer Duane Edwards passed away. Truck pulling will not be the same without you! We would always talk before the pull and before heading home after every pull. You were more than just an announcer, you were family!”

Mark Bixler remarked. “My heart just broke when I saw this. What an amazing man. He will be greatly missed by the community. My prayers go out to his family. RIP, my friend.”
J.r. Rouse commented, “Rest in peace, buddy. The perfect tractor pull announcer because he had a story for every puller. He knew how to fill down time. He was one heck of a pig wrestling announcer too.”

“The world definitely lost a good one today,” said Miles Rosenberger. “Duane Edwards was one of a kind. The man had probably forgotten more pulling stories than most have ever had to tell. He was a true pulling legend for someone who had put in as much time announcing and being involved with truck and tractor pulling. Throughout my years of pulling, I was always excited to hopefully someday listen out the window at the end of the run and hear him shout out over the intercom ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new leader’. I’m not sure if it was me or him that was more excited the first time he got to say that for me, but I would say it was probably him. He was a true friend who thought a lot of my girls and I will always appreciate him for that. Rest in peace, Lum, it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.”

“Duane was such a wonderful person. He wore his heart on his sleeve,” said his girlfriend, Vickie Gossard. “He was a great listener, and would help anyone he could. Duane had many passions in life. He loved his motor sports. Most of all was being the announcer for the tractor pulls. He announced for 34 years. He was hoping to make it 35 this year. He also was very passionate about the Cancer Association of Darke County. He was a member on the board and a past president. He had lost a daughter, Cassie and his wife Toni to the disease.”

Gossard said she met Edwards in August 2021 at the Celina Eagles.

“He loved music and went different places when he wasn’t at a pull,” she recalled. “He loved coming up to the lake. Always said it was so peaceful looking out over the lake. The night I met him there was a new band on the deck, 127 North…a great group of guys and he fell in love with their music. We followed them as much as possible. His favorite place to listen to them was Duckfoot. It really gets crazy there.” She continued, “Once we were at a pull in Idaville, Ind., It is a good three-hour drive from here. The band was playing at Duckfoot at 2 p.m. the next day. After a long night of pulling and what seemed like a short night of sleep, we spent the night at Logansport, Ind. We headed to Celina around 11. We had to get gas, go around a detour and drop the golf cart and trailer off at a friend’s house. Needless to say, we made it to Duckfoot at 1:55, just in time to see the band. It’s a wonder he didn’t get picked up or bounce the golf cart off of the trailer. There are a lot of stories out there. I’m sure gonna miss him. But I plan on going to the tractor pulls and back to the lake for the music and to listen to everyone’s stories. They are fascinating.”

Grandson Lucas Campbell had this to say, “He took a lot of pride in the accomplishments of both my brother and me. My brother and I may have annoyed the hell out of him when we were kids by messing around and getting into trouble, but he was always happy to hear about how we were doing. He was a great motivator to keep going when my schoolwork got tough as I didn’t want to let him down. Even if I did fail, I’m sure that he would have been right there to encourage me to pick myself up and keep going. He would have done anything he could for us.”