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Deere "productive" pioneer dies at age 96

Monday, January 3, 2011

A pioneer in John Deere tractor design died Sunday at age 96.
A pioneer in John Deere tractor design died Sunday at age 96.

The first global director of tractor engineering for John Deere died last weekend, according a published report.

Considered a pioneer, Harold Brock, 96, of Waterloo also worked for Ford and was instrumental in starting an institute that provided direction and guidance for teenagers. He was an integral member of the design team for two classic tractors, the Ford 9N and the John Deere 4020, both of which are renowned as classics.

"My life's been one of production, productive activities," Brock told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier last spring.

At the age of 15 in 1929, Brock matriculated at the Ford Trade an Apprentice School where he gleaned helpful skills for use on factory floors, designing and manufacturing. After graduating, he then began what turned out to be a 20-year professional stint for Henry Ford.

John Deere Waterloo Works hired him in 1959 as the worldwide director of tractor engineering where he spearheaded the effort to design a new generation of tractors.

In 1965 he helped found the Hawkeye Institute of Technology, which now is Hawkeye Community College.

"I can tell you, without his vision and dedication, Hawkeye would not be what it is today," Kathy Flynn, the school's vice president of advancement, told the publication during an earlier interview.

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