Rural Missouri - May 2021 - 13

John Murphy recalls the day in 1950 that the lights came on at his family's farm near Maysville. The farm, still owned by youngest brother Paul, is served
by United Electric Cooperative. John shares his memories of life in rural Dekalb County as a newspaper columnist and writer of local history.
Despite all these improvements, John recalls his parents were conscious of their energy use.
" They had just survived the Depression, so when they
turned a light on they turned it off when they walked out
of the room, " John says. " They didn't waste anything. "
When John bought his own farm in 1966,
located a half-mile northeast of where he
grew up, he found himself literally at the end
Maysville
of United Electric Cooperative's line. He and
Sharon still live there today and couldn't be
happier as members of the co-op and customers
of United Fiber's internet, television and phone
services.
" I'm a strong believer in cooperatives, " says
John, a lifelong farmer and retired insurance agent and director for Midwest Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. " They're
interested in the members more, because they have no
outside owners to show a profit to. I equate United Fiber
almost with the coming of electricity, because it's made
such a change. "
John started taking stock of his life's blessings in a
book aptly titled " Old Farmer Memories " which recounted
his life growing up on the farm. He helped others do the

same, sharing the stories of 175 friends, family members,
neighbors and local World War II veterans in the eightvolume " Building Memories " series, which he co-authored
with assistance from the Dekalb County Historical Society.
At the urging of a friend, he continued his recollections as
a monthly newspaper columnist - first in the " Young at
Heart " section of the St. Joseph News Press and more
recently in the Dekalb County Record-Herald. Most of
these articles incorporate what has become The Old
Farmer's signature phrase: " Life is good in Dekalb
County " - though some months they could do
with a little rain.
John feels he was paid the ultimate compliment when an old classmate, inspired by his
columns, wrote her own life stories for her children
and grandchildren as Christmas presents. It's a simple act
that anyone can do, and it preserves a bit of local history
that would otherwise be lost to the ages.
" I'm not unique, " John says. " Everyone has a story, and
I would encourage everyone to tell it. "
You may contact John Murphy by email at
farmerjohn39@yahoo.com.
MAY 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

13


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - May 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - May 2021 - Contents
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Rural Missouri - May 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - May 2021 - Cover4
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