For much of his adult life, 86-year old, Everette Wise has made tractors, engines and mechanical dilemmas his life and he doesnâ€™t have any plans of stopping soon.
â€œI rebuild, restore and tune them up,â€ Wise said. â€œI do anything that needs to be done. Iâ€™ve been on my own here since 1965.â€
Mechanical knowledge is what Wise knows best and he never gives up until the job is done.
â€œI enjoy getting ahold of an old tractor like this and getting it to run like it should,â€ Wise said.
Most of Wiseâ€™s customers tow their tractors to his shop, but heâ€™s been known to make house calls.
â€œIâ€™ve had tractors here from as far as York, South Carolina and I worked on a hydraulic lift in Sanford,â€ he said.
Wise ranges from working on a dozen tractors a week to just one.
â€œI have never advertised,â€ he said. â€œRight now I am about four or five months behind already.â€
Customers always come by to get advice from him before working on their own tractors.
â€œIâ€™d rather them fix their own when weâ€™re way behind like we are now,â€ Wise said.
Although he began this job in 1965, he gets help from time to time.
Walter â€œShortyâ€ Gantt lives down the road and began working with Wise in 1996.
â€œIâ€™ve learned just by watching and helping,â€ Gantt said.
Wise, born and raised in Lincoln County, experienced farm life first-hand.
â€œI was born in that house,â€ Wise said pointing to his home behind his shop. â€œAs a kid growing up here, we had cotton, corn and raised grain for livestock.â€
Wiseâ€™s mechanical skills have been with him his entire life.
â€œIâ€™ve always been mechanically inclined, and I just picked it up,â€ he said.
The passion for mechanics also seems to run in the family.
â€œMy brother owned Wise Lawn Mower Shop,â€ he said. â€œHe worked on lawn mowers and chainsaws.â€
At age 24, he entered a military academy at Fort Knox, Kentucky after some on-the-job training.
â€œThey taught us nine months of courses in eight weeks,â€ he said. â€œThey really showed it to us.â€
So, where did this talented mechanic learn the rest of the skills necessary for his job and hobby?
â€œRobert Wise at Wise Implement, was a good mechanic,â€ he said. â€œI learned mostly from him and then went to school.â€ Everette and Robert were cousins.
After military school, Wise traveled the United States and Europe in the military.
â€œI had experience before I was drafted, so I became a mechanic in the military,â€ Wise said. â€œI spent 15 months in California and 12 months deep in the heart of Texas.â€
Afterwards, he was assigned to the European theater during WWII, where he was with a tank recovery unit. He still vividlr remembers driving the vehicle he was responsible for, a 36 ton wrecker, across the Rhine River.
â€œWe followed the convoy and if a vehicle stopped, we towed it and carried the men,â€ he said.
Wise maintained 22 vehicles for the military, changing oil and repairing brakes.
Spending six months in Germany, Wise experienced the end of the war.
â€œI was in south Germany when the war ended,â€ he said. â€œWe were on a mountain side one morning and we and could see the smoke where they had bombed Hitlerâ€™s hideout.â€
After the war, Wise worked at Wise Implement as an International Harvest dealer.
â€œI worked mostly in the wintertime and the summertime when I had time,â€ he said.
Today he works on what he knows best and enjoys the farm life.
â€œGardening is all I have time for,â€ he said.
Wise turns 87 in November and has no plans on quitting his passion.
â€œI wonâ€™t retire as long as I am able to work,â€ he said. â€œI enjoy hearing a tractor run like itâ€™s supposed to after Iâ€™ve worked on it.â€
by Maribeth Kiser