Former tractor driver now loves to walk in Newberry neighborhood

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Kate Weaver saw a man operating a John Deere farm tractor near West Fourth and Diamond streets in the city’s Newberry neighborhood.

Childhood memories suddenly came to her mind as she recalled fun times of being on a tractor decades ago in the farm country of Jackson Township.

“I learned to drive on a John Deere tractor when I was 9 years old. My grandfather had a little farm, and we lived next door to him,” said Weaver, a native of Buttonwood.

Her teacher?

Her 8-year-old brother, Royce, of course, Weaver said.

“We did some farming. We had a neighbor that called police whenever they saw me driving the tractor,” she said. She never got caught.

“My dad was a mechanic and sold John Deere tractors. That’s how I came to learn to drive on one,” she said.

For more than 50 years, Weaver, who retired from the city’s former Sylvania plant on Third Street in the 1970s after 20 years of service, has lived in Newberry.

“There are good, nice people here. There are a few crackpots, but you don’t really think of them. They didn’t wind their brains up before they started talking,” she said.

An active athlete in high school, Weaver takes daily, 30-minute walks.

“I need to walk. Since I can’t drive, I’m about nuts. I couldn’t handle it. I think I would lose my mind if I couldn’t get out and walk every day. I sure can’t sit in my house all day,” Weaver said.

“This summer has been real nice walking weather,” she added.

“Since I can’t drive, I have to walk if I want to get to any place,” said Weaver, who gets a lot of invaluable help from her neighbors.

“My neighbors are very good. They look out for me,” she said.

When asked what was the best thing to happen to her this summer, her answer is quick and direct.

“I get up every morning at 7, have my breakfast and go for my walk,” she said.

“God loves me,” she said, adding that she has had a strong faith in God all her life.