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West Lincoln tractor repairman uses a lifetime of knowledge

For much of his adult life, 86-year old, Everette Wise has made tractors, engines and mechanical dilemmas his life and he doesn’t have any plans of stopping soon.
“I rebuild, restore and tune them up,” Wise said. “I do anything that needs to be done. I’ve been on my own here since 1965.”
Mechanical knowledge is what Wise knows best and he never gives up until the job is done.
“I enjoy getting ahold of an old tractor like this and getting it to run like it should,” Wise said.
Most of Wise’s customers tow their tractors to his shop, but he’s been known to make house calls.
“I’ve had tractors here from as far as York, South Carolina and I worked on a hydraulic lift in Sanford,” he said.
Wise ranges from working on a dozen tractors a week to just one.
“I have never advertised,” he said. “Right now I am about four or five months behind already.”
Customers always come by to get advice from him before working on their own tractors.
“I’d rather them fix their own when we’re way behind like we are now,” Wise said.
Although he began this job in 1965, he gets help from time to time.
Walter “Shorty” Gantt lives down the road and began working with Wise in 1996.
“I’ve learned just by watching and helping,” Gantt said.
Wise, born and raised in Lincoln County, experienced farm life first-hand.
“I was born in that house,” Wise said pointing to his home behind his shop. “As a kid growing up here, we had cotton, corn and raised grain for livestock.”
Wise’s mechanical skills have been with him his entire life.
“I’ve always been mechanically inclined, and I just picked it up,” he said.
The passion for mechanics also seems to run in the family.
“My brother owned Wise Lawn Mower Shop,” he said. “He worked on lawn mowers and chainsaws.”
At age 24, he entered a military academy at Fort Knox, Kentucky after some on-the-job training.
“They taught us nine months of courses in eight weeks,” he said. “They really showed it to us.”
So, where did this talented mechanic learn the rest of the skills necessary for his job and hobby?
“Robert Wise at Wise Implement, was a good mechanic,” he said. “I learned mostly from him and then went to school.” Everette and Robert were cousins.
After military school, Wise traveled the United States and Europe in the military.
“I had experience before I was drafted, so I became a mechanic in the military,” Wise said. “I spent 15 months in California and 12 months deep in the heart of Texas.”
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.
“We followed the convoy and if a vehicle stopped, we towed it and carried the men,” 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.
“I was in south Germany when the war ended,” he said. “We were on a mountain side one morning and we and could see the smoke where they had bombed Hitler’s hideout.”
After the war, Wise worked at Wise Implement as an International Harvest dealer.
“I worked mostly in the wintertime and the summertime when I had time,” he said.
Today he works on what he knows best and enjoys the farm life.
“Gardening is all I have time for,” he said.
Wise turns 87 in November and has no plans on quitting his passion.
“I won’t retire as long as I am able to work,” he said. “I enjoy hearing a tractor run like it’s supposed to after I’ve worked on it.”
by Maribeth Kiser

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