On Sunday, a procession of tractors rumbled down the rural roads of Central Saanich as a fitting tribute to Silver Rill Corn farmer Ken Fox. He died on August 18 at the age of 65.
Farmer Terry Michell expected about 20 to 25 tractors from Saanich Peninsula farms, but on Sunday, 48 tractors ended up in the procession. Michell, who organized the event, said all it took was a few phone calls.
“They all very much wanted to contribute to it, to remember Ken by. It went together quickly and easily. It didn’t take much effort, I can tell you that,” Michell said.
He noted many people came out to watch the tractors go by, either at the end of the Silver Rill Farm driveway, by the side of the road, or at Cenntennial Park where the vantage point was good.
Ken’s youngest sister Pamela said it was wonderful to see family, friends, relatives, customers and community members at the event.
Ken was an avid softball player, and his teammates spoke at the memorial along with other community members. Pamela noted many mentioned his physical strength, with “arms like logs and hands as big as his softball gloves.”
She recalled a time in their childhood when a cow had calved in the family’s field, 30 acres away from the barn. She followed her brother into the field to take them back.
“He just picked up that calf like it was nothing, no weight at all,” she said. The cow followed Pamela and Ken, with her calf in his arms, walking across 30 acres back to the barn.
Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said the outpouring of support was “incredibly moving.”
Windsor and Michell said a crowd of about 500 showed up to pay their respects at the Saanich Fairground, which Windsor said was a testament to the Fox family’s long history in the area. They watched a video depicting Ken’s life and shared favourite stories and memories.
“It demonstrates the strength of farming in our community, to see tractors of varying ages and sizes normally out in the field, by themselves and doing their thing, come together to honour an individual and a family with a long farming history,” Windsor said.