Elida brothers will be missed

One minute two brothers are on a community mission, the next a whole community is wondering how they'll get by without them.

The hurting was focused on the community of Elida recently as Ronald and Fred Anthony died in a truck accident while fetching a load of sand for a new playground at their church. The shock went well beyond the village of Elida, though.

Farming and ranching was in their blood but the extended Anthony families also made a living operating the school bus contract for Elida Schools.

Those bus rides put them in touch daily with the children of almost every family in that end of the county. It's no wonder then that Fred and Ronald were like grandpas to the entire Elida community.

With these two, service to their fellow man started when they got up each morning and didn't end until the phone quit ringing at night.

I didn't grow up in Elida, or even make it over there that often, but it seems like my path was always crossing with the two Anthony brothers somewhere.

I once interviewed Fred for the newspaper about the old International school bus the two had restored. Molly and Fred invited me into their comfortable home and we talked about school buses and antique cars over coffee that morning.

Ronald called at least once and stopped in while we were visiting. He cracked that Fred really liked to talk about the bus and he'd really like to hear it, but he was going to go work cattle instead. The two made plans to pitch together later that day in their chores. I've come to learn that's the way they were, a team on nearly everything they did. You rarely saw one without the other.

I also ran into the Anthonys a lot at basketball games. They rarely missed one if Elida was playing, whether they had kids or grandkids participating or not.

Fred was also a member of the Roosevelt General Hospital Board, which I covered pretty frequently when at the PNT. Fred impressed me for his common sense approach to getting what was best for everyone. He also impressed for his light touch as peacemaker when things weren't as smooth as they should have been.

The Anthonys were both in the local car club with my father and mother and they logged a few miles together in vehicles that could be temperamental at best. They were never deterred no matter what the job, whose car it was or where it had to be done.

Ronald and Fred crossed my path at Ag Expo and Heritage Days as they brought antique tractors out to the Expo and cars to Heritage Days. We made jokes with each other and talked about the weather and basketball.

At Heritage Days this year in my capacity as ramrod of the event I stopped by the car show to check on things and see if they had some bottled water to spare for the stage performers. While I was doing this Ronald rolled up on his golf cart and gave me at least the fourth greeting of the day with that big grin on his face.

"Had I seen all the cars yet," he wanted to know. I confessed I hadn't had the time. He told me to hop aboard and he'd take me around the show. I could tell there wouldn't be any arguing the matter I was going to slow down long enough to see the show from Ronald's golf cart. I convinced him to take the water over to the other volunteers first and then we went on a ride. He knew everybody and everything about all the cars and when we were done he dropped me where I needed to go next.

Both brothers went out of their way to speak to me and every time they did at one of these events they always told me how much they missed my dad. Hearing that from those two always made me feel good.

I'm really going to miss those guys but I'm reassured in knowing that in some corner of heaven the Anthony brothers and my dad are all busy tinkering with an old tractor and having a little discussion about the merits of Farmall versus John Deere.

Karl Terry, a former publisher of the Quay County Sun, writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

karlterry@yucca.net

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