Editor’s Note: For the obituary, click here.
SPENCER TWP., Ohio — Friends and family have fond memories of a Medina County dairy farmer who died Sept. 9 from injuries he sustained in a crash last Wednesday night along Bursley Road, west of Firestone Road.
Keith Wetmore, 54, of Spencer Township, was struck by a car driven by Alli Divincenzo, 18, of Brunswick, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Medina County.
Wetmore was struck late at night, after the motorist tried to avoid his International tractor, which was stopped in the middle of Bursley Road. According to the patrol, Wetmore apparently had stopped to retrieve a calf along the south side of the roadway.
Wetmore leaves behind a brother, Kenneth, and sister, Karen Bihn, who are both helping with the farm chores in his absence. Wetmore was preceded in death by a brother, Kevin, in 1997. Both of his parents are deceased.
Karen and Kenneth said their brother had trained his cows so well they often didn’t need to be tied when milked. They knew their own slots, and would often walk to the milkers on their own.
“He hardly ever even had to lock them in,” she said. “They’d just walk on in.”
She spent many years showing cattle with her brother at county fairs in Ohio, and at the Ohio State Fair. Keith had an All American Ayrshire in 1985.
Kenneth said one of his fondest memories was of the oil paintings Keith produced. When Keith was still in FFA, he exhibited a painting of Ayrshire cattle at the Medina County Fair. The auctioneer liked it so much he asked him to produce a painting of Holstein cattle, to promote an upcoming sale.
Directors of the Ohio Ayrshire Association — where Keith served as northeast president — remembered him as a dedicated breeder.
Board member Duane Rader said Wetmore was a quiet man who mostly kept to himself, but made a name for his farm and his breed. Last year, the Association recognized Wetmore’s father, Glen, as a Distinguished Ayrshire Breeder in Ohio.
“He was a good fellow,” Rader said. “He probably would do anything for you, if you needed it.”
Like a lot of people, Rader couldn’t understand how it happened, or why.
“The way I picture it, it was a terrible catastrophe, but God chooses us at the time he needs us,” Rader said.
John Howman, the association’s at-large director, spoke about Keith from this year’s Wayne County Fair, which took place the week after Keith’s death.
Howman recalled buying cattle from Keith, and showing against him.
“He’s always been a great Ayrshire breeder,” said Howman, who has known Keith for more than 30 years. “We couldn’t believe it happened.”
While Keith will be missed, Rader also empathizes with the driver of the car, who may not have seen the tractor or the operator, until it was too late.
The roadway was dark, according to the patrol, and no lights were on the tractor. The driver was treated and released from Medina General Hospital and has not been cited.
“(There was) nothing she could do,” Rader said. “She’ll have to carry that the rest of her life.”