Edward Brubaker

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Graduation Year




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D. Murray Brown

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RE1 UOG A1340129


Edward Brubaker interview


D. Murray Brown (00:00:01):
This is an interview with Ed Brubaker on December the sixth, the year 2000, and the interview is being conducted by Murray Brown, OAC 51. Ed is a classmate of the year '49 members. And Ed, I would like to start out by asking you where you were born and raised.

Edward Brubaker (00:00:32):
Well, Murray, I called Grimsby, Ontario home, and I lived there until I just turned 16. That spring my dad bought a farm about five miles southwest of Grimsby. It was a dairy farm. I think we were milking nine cows in total by hand and had a few pigs and no tractor that time. But a little later on that spring, dad installed a milking machine, which we thought was a real asset, and also bought a tractor. And we were the second farm within I think a three mile radius around us to have a tractor. So as kids, we enjoyed running that tractor. I was there until I was 18 in the fall of 1943, and I went into the RCAF intending of course, to be a spit fire pilot, but I got in too late, I never got pilot training and up as a flight engineer on heavy bombers. So that was a little bit of my background history and took me up to the time when I started university.

D. Murray Brown (00:01:59):
Ed, you mentioned university. What prompted you to come to the Ontario Cultural College? I guess that would be in the fall of 1945 or perhaps you'd let me know when that was.

Edward Brubaker (00:02:13):
Yes, Murray, the war against Japan ended rather suddenly in August of 1945. And we were told that we were going to be discharged and given leave with pay, fortunately, and I wondered what to do, but certainly one of the very attractive alternatives was to attend university someplace, and because I was very much interested in this farm that we had and dad had expanded in the two years that I was away and now had a purebred Holstein herd, and I think we're milking about 16 cows, and I went home and late August for a week or 10 days and decided, yes, I liked farming and I should go to the OAC to take animal husbandry. So I hitchhiked, I think, to Guelph here and wondering what it would take to get into the OAC.

Edward Brubaker (00:03:26):
I finally found that I had to go see the registrar who happened to be Archie Porter, and so I went in unannounced to his office and he asked me one question. He said, how much schooling do you have? And I said, well, I have a grade 13 education. And he said, okay, come back on such and such a day in September and register. I don't think he ever recorded that I had been there, although he may have done that after I left, but he said, here's a calendar, that's all you need. And pushed me out the door. So instead of getting a warm reception, I thought I was rather coldly received, but that didn't bother me too much. I decided I wanted to come.

D. Murray Brown (00:04:18):
Well, so you were one of the veterans that registered in September of 1945. I understand that there were young veterans like yourself and a lot of senior veterans, and no doubt there were a few who were just out of high school in the fall of 1945. Would you like to comment on the proportions, Ed?

Edward Brubaker (00:04:44):
Well, Murray, I don't have exact numbers, but I would take a guess that about 75% of our year were ex service, had come out of one of the three services, the Air Force, the Army, or the Navy, and the balance were made up of mostly younger men and a few women who had come out of high school and come to the OAC at the same time that we did in September of 1945. It was a good mix. We had quite a few members who were over 30 years of age, who had spent a lot of time in the services.

Edward Brubaker (00:05:31):
And one man I remember talking to one day, I met in Crozier, told me that in the twenties, when he finished high school, there was no money to go to university. And so he got a job as a public school teacher and he worked as a public school teacher up until about 1940 and then went in the Army, spent about five years there. And when he came out of the Army, he had money to go to university. And he said, this was the first chance that he ever had to go to university and he wanted to take advantage of it.

Edward Brubaker (00:06:13):
I guess I should talk a bit about this money. It was called the DVA or Department of Veterans Allowances, and allowance I think is the correct term, not allowances. And we were given an allowance of $60 a month to live on, and that paid our room and board and left us with a bit of money for books and so on. When we came here that first fall room and board was $7 a week, which amounted to about $30 a month. And so that gave us the rest of the money for her various activities. It was wonderful to have that. It gave us a bit of money to spend.

Edward Brubaker (00:07:03):
We weren't constantly broke. And in addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid our tuition fee, which at that time was a hundred dollars for a full year, that is for the two semesters. So those things helped us very much and it made it very, very possible for many, many people and many of us to come to university and live a good life without having to struggle and constantly watch fighting for every penny that we might have. And we ended up university free of debt, which would be a real asset for a lot of young people today.

D. Murray Brown (00:07:48):
Ed, you mentioned that when you started, you were paying $7 per week for room and board. I can recall that two years later when I started in the fall of 1947, we were paying $9 per week. And when I graduated, it was $10 per week, that following year. So those were some of the, I guess it was going up approximately a dollar, 50 cents per year, per week at that time. Ed, I would like to ask you, what were your first impressions of when you arrived on campus?

Edward Brubaker (00:08:24):
Well, maybe the biggest gain compared to Air Force days was that I lived in a room with only two other men. There were three of us in a room in what is now Johnson Hall, and we had a fairly large room, it was purely by chance and we got that and it was very comfortable in that room. By comparison in the Air Force days, we lived in barracks and they consisted of a room. Each barrack block consisted a room with probably a hundred different men in it and it was always noisy. Here it was quiet. So that was the first impression and it was a wonderful one.

Edward Brubaker (00:09:11):
The next one was the attempt at initiation. The students council suggested, I guess ordered all of us to come to a meeting in War Mem Hall, about the third day we were here and they said they were going to initiate us. And we had to do certain things such as wear a silly hat and they would find various jobs for us to do and so on. Well that started quite a riot in Mem Hall. And I can remember a number of fellas, Lloyd Crucin, who later became a year president, for one, standing up and saying that he had had all the initiation he wanted. He had been overseas in the Air Force for so many years and fighting, and so on that he was not going to go through this initiation because all of these other guys that wanted to initiate us had not been in the service and they were here at Guelph, and I think he implied that some of them should have been.

Edward Brubaker (00:10:29):
Well, that was probably true, but it wasn't a very good conclusion because some of them were certainly here because they were too young to get in the service. Others because they were not medically fit, not all were here just to escape military service. But the net result was that we very quickly determined we outnumbered the other three years by about three to one and if they wanted to initiate us, good luck. We weren't going to stand it. We felt we could out fight them if we had to, and we would not put up with that sort of thing. So that was the end of all thoughts of initiation.

D. Murray Brown (00:11:17):
Ed, you mentioned that you were three to room in Johnson Hall. When we started in the fall of 1947, there were four of us in a room with two double bunk beds. Any other comments you have in connection with accommodation?

Edward Brubaker (00:11:36):
Murray, an advantage we had is that we were able to live in residence for the four years of our program here at Guelph. And after our first year in Johnson Hall, we lived in Watson Hall for a year. Again, there were three of us in a room, but we were on the Northeast corner of Watson Hall and looked out over the cutting golf course and over the city of Guelph, and we thought we had a very attractive room. It was a nice residence. I think there were fewer than a hundred of us in the residence. We were isolated a bit from the rest of the campus. We got to know each other very well during that year and had a good time there. There were lots of pranks pulled, lots of activities went on in that residence and so on.

Edward Brubaker (00:12:34):
And then the next two years we lived in Mills Hall and of course there were vet students there and students from other years there also. So it was a little broader mix than we had in Watson Hall where we were strictly '49ers living together. But living in residence is a good experience. It's a great evener. It teaches us how to get along with other people. And if we found that someone who was shy or hesitant about taking part, the others would work with him and draw him out and soon make him part of a group. Likewise, someone who was overly brash or noisy or loud would tend to be toned down a bit. And lots of things were used such as giving a shave of the hair of his head and painting certain parts of his anatomy with shoe polish and other things like that. And it was a great time when we learned to live with other people and realized that we were part of a group.

D. Murray Brown (00:13:56):
Ed, no doubt there were some interesting professors back in those times. I know in my case, there certainly were. And I know that you had specialized in agricultural mechanics, it was called at that time, now engineering. Perhaps you'd like to comment on those professors that you had at that time.

Edward Brubaker (00:14:17):
Murray, I came to the OAC specifically to take animal husbandry, but I found what they were teaching at that time was a type of animal husbandry of managing and looking after and caring for animals on the farm, not the science of the animal industry, such as the breeding and milk production records and so on. And they placed great emphasis on the confirmation of the animals. And I found I really didn't enjoy that, looking at a class of animals and trying to place one animal over another. And for example, I guess the silliest thing that I found was in air shares, that they had to have horns that had three turns in them. I forget they came out and then up and then forward or something like that. And it seems to me that the air share, that had the classiest horns was placed at the top of the class. Other things were tail heads, and various shapes of legs and feet and so on.

Edward Brubaker (00:15:40):
And no emphasis at all was put on production and whether all of these things helped production or not. Now the same thing happened to swine and to sheep and probably horses too. And I was not in the least interested in horses. We had a tractor on the farm and to me that was far superior than walking behind a team of horses. And so by the end of two years of this stuff, I had made up in my mind and determined that no, I was not going to be taking animal husbandry. I didn't like it that well, and it was not going the way I thought I would like to see it go where animals would be rated on their production and ability, ease of breeding, ease of calving and so on. Not on just the shape of them and the length of their tail and the color and so on.

Edward Brubaker (00:16:45):
So the next thing then was this ag mechanics option, and this was not available when we came in the fall of '45. About February of 1946, a fellow came out of the Army, a Saskatoon graduate by the name of Glen Downing who had graduated in agricultural engineering early in the war from Saskatoon, and he was brought here specifically to start the agricultural engineering program here. It started off as mechanics because he first of all, didn't have the professors to teach the engineering and it took time to set up the program and get it going so that we went in third year, which was the time we had to choose our option. We went into the ag mechanics course, and we were the second class into it. The first class started in the fall of '47, a year ahead of us, no, I'm sorry. It's the fall of '46, a year ahead of us. We started in the fall of '47 and graduated in '49.

Edward Brubaker (00:18:08):
As far as I was concerned, it was a good choice. I liked it. I liked the mechanics and we took some engineering design, particularly buildings and structures and foundations, walls, overhead beams, rafters, load carrying walls, and all of those things that go with that, as well as a lot of design of drainage and farm ponds, and it led into a career that I enjoyed very, very much. I found the program itself interesting and challenging and was interested enough in it that I worked hard at it. And at the end of my third year was given a Massey Harris at that time, now later Massey Ferguson scholarship, an award of $125. And that was a lot of money at that time. And I really appreciated that. So all in all, I'm glad I made that change and that switch and enjoyed it very much.

D. Murray Brown (00:19:25):
Ed, I remember two or three very interesting profs in agricultural engineering at that time. Care to comment on any of those interesting individuals?

Edward Brubaker (00:19:40):
Yes, Murray, Glen Downing was the chairman of the department and he taught us a lot of the engineering courses that we actually took. Now, he was not the best professor in the world, but he was vitally interested in us as students. He knew every one of us by name and remembered us for many years afterwards. And he established a good basis for what later became the engineering program at the OAC and the engineering degrees that were given there. I enjoyed knowing him and working with him and got to know him much better after I came back here for a master's degree and also came back to the college in 1963 to work here. So he was a very, very fine man and very, very interested in the students so that we all benefited very much from his leadership and guidance of the department.

Edward Brubaker (00:20:59):
Now, after the war, he hired some other people, one of whom was Jim Scott, who actually had been a Hort graduate before the war and spent about five years in the Army going through north Africa and so on. And Jim taught a lot of courses such as welding and working with sheet metal and other skills of that type. One of the favorite courses that we as students enjoyed was that Jim taught us how to use dynamite. We thought that was pretty exciting, and he showed us how to split rocks using dynamite, how to blow dumps and how to blow ditches, drainage ditches to drain water out of low lying areas. And so I can remember one little prank we pulled on Jim one day where as a class we were taken out to the fields behind college buildings to blow out a willow tree that the college wanted to get rid of. And this willow tree was maybe three or four feet in diameter. And I don't know why they didn't just cut it down, but it was a good experience for us.

Edward Brubaker (00:22:25):
And so a few of us got Jim distracted away from what was going on there, and a few others started to pump dynamite down into this little cavity that we made under the tree, and we put a whole case of dynamite down there and before Jim realized what was going on, well he was quite upset and think that we had put that much down there and he said, no, you don't need that, you need about 20% of that amount, but there were no way we could get it out. It was in there and tapped in so nothing to do but blow it. And of course we had a great blast and we were left with almost match sticks of the trunk of this willow tree and a great big cavity there in the ground and so on. But we thought that was great fun.

Edward Brubaker (00:23:15):
But other times we would go out with him and give demonstrations on blowing ditches for farmers, where we would lay a series of sticks of dynamite along a low lying area and set them all once. And we used a type of forcite dynamite, F-O-R-C-I-T-E, that would self propagate. So we only had to fuse one stick and that stick would go off and propagate the other sticks and the ditch would blow up and so on. Again, I can remember one very good time where we were doing this and we had an old Army truck that we used to use to go out on these field jobs. And this dynamite blew off and of course it went way up in the air and we suddenly realized that we were in the range where this stuff was going to come down on top of us. So here we're about seven or eight of us diving frantically to get under this army truck. So this mud and so on wouldn't land on top of us.

Edward Brubaker (00:24:26):
But it was all part of good times that we had at college. There was a fellow name of Ed Webb, better known by the initials, HC Web who taught farm machinery. A bit bombastic and loud mouth and so on and not one of the more popular professors, but he was there. Another one was Harold Kitching, K-I-T-C-H-I-N-G, who taught us a lot about motors and design of various components and engines and operation of engines, maintenance and so on. And then we had a few others, again, it was an ag mechanics program, Joe Gulliver, who taught us something about carpentry work and John Keunzick, K-E-U-N-Z-I-C-K, I think, who taught us drafting and drafting skills and so on. So we were in a program that was a lot of hands on work. We did not graduate as engineers by any sense of the imagination, but we had a good idea of a lot of the mechanical activities and skills that went on on farms.

D. Murray Brown (00:25:56):
Ed, another area of interest to those who have graduated were the extracurricular activities that we participated. You mentioned some of the extracurricular activities in your academic program, were there any other extracurricular activities that you were involved with or that were of interest to you?

Edward Brubaker (00:26:18):
Murray, in our year, the veterans, our ex service personnel, took a very active part in the extracurricular activities. They had a chance to come to college and they wanted to get as much out of it as they could, I feel. And yes, I got involved in quite a number of things too, such as the ag engineering club and the, oh, several ones. They escape me, but I think at one time I was involved with the local Legion, probably was a secretary of the Legion, which was established on the campus at that time. And several other organizations that I took part in that I enjoyed very much. I played football for our year. And so that we tended to try to keep involved in these things.

Edward Brubaker (00:27:28):
And it was good training. It gave me good training in being treasurer. I was treasurer of our year, one year, and there was fellow by the name of Ron Fowke, F-O-W-K-E, who taught all treasurers how to keep books, keep records, how to support his work with receipts and so on, and in the spring of the year, our books had to balance, or we were really not allowed to go home. I suppose couldn't have stopped us, but it was with pride I think after Ron had worked with us, that we were able to balance the books and do a good job. And that skill never left me, I have been treasurer of a number of organizations over the years, and I still remember that type of training that we got.

Edward Brubaker (00:28:25):
Possibly as veterans, we were a little older and because there had been a lot of booze in the service, some of us used to occasionally go down to the Legion and have a beer or two there. That was a pastime for us. And we thought we were rather privileged to get in there. We didn't have to go to the normal pubs in the town downtown. We thought the Legion was a nicer place, better atmosphere, and so on. Now some of course carried it too far and it would get quite inebriated. And I can remember my roommate one night coming into our room when this would be about April of 1949 and said, "Ed, wake up." It's after midnight, you've got to help us. So of us have been downtown drinking in the Legion and a fellow that had the car drive home said, let's go and drive out on the cutting golf course and see what it's like. And so they drove out onto the golf course and got stuck there on the golf course with his car. And so they came back to the campus and roused up about 10 or 12 of us and we all went out there in the mud and so on to help push this car out and get it out of there. I often wondered what the green keepers and so on thought when they saw the ruts there that spring.

Edward Brubaker (00:30:11):
Fortunately, that sort of behavior didn't happen very often. We thought it was a big joke, these guys getting stuck, and we it out in good spirits and help them get out because we didn't want to see them get in trouble with the golf course or the city police, so on. They shouldn't have been there and probably we all learned from that experience to take responsibility for our actions and the things that we do that maybe seem hilarious when we're doing them, but have the unhappy results or causing damage to somebody else.

D. Murray Brown (00:30:52):
Ed, you've mentioned your activities during your undergraduate days, I'm sure the students of today would be interested in hearing something about your career. Would you like to comment on that?

Edward Brubaker (00:31:06):
When I graduated, Murray, there were no problem getting jobs in those days. And I went to work with the Oxford Farmers Cooperative Broad Use Company Limited in Woodstock, and this co-op had an international farm equipment dealership, and I was put in charge of this dealership and was supposed to do a lot of selling of farm machinery and so on. The first year, farm machinery was scarce and there was no trouble selling everything that we could get. That was in '49. But in 1950, there was more machinery being made and coming on the market and a lot more competition to sell. I guess learned from it. I enjoyed working there and I met my wife while I was working in Woodstock and we got married in '51, but I guess the big thing that I learned there was that I was not really a salesman and did not enjoy that type of work.

Edward Brubaker (00:32:22):
So in '51, when I wanted to get married, my dad made a proposition to me that I should come home and take over the family farm and operate it and run it. And he would live there in another house that we had and help when he could. So that sounded like a good idea. And in April of 1951, I started in that career and farmed for seven years. The Holstein cattle were long gone and we bought a few sows and started breeding them and selling the weaners. We bought some beef cattle and fattened them off. And we had 10 acres of grapes on the farm that we used to harvest about 40 to 45 tons of grapes almost every year. But after seven years, we decided that really it wasn't the best farm in the world, drainage was not particularly good on it. Sometimes we were delayed in the spring, getting crops in, parts of the farm, had problems with stones, and that's not a very productive form of employment, picking stones off the fields.

Edward Brubaker (00:33:48):
And generally I could not make enough money at it, and so I decided to leave the farm and get a job, and I was offered a job with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture as an agricultural engineer in their advising farmers on such things as farm buildings, farm drainage, farm water supply, pollution abatement, and so on things that related to engineering. So in the fall of 1957, my wife and I, and our two children that we had moved to Ridgetown, Ontario, to the Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology there. And I taught some classes there and was put in charge of the engineering extension work for Lampton County. There was a lot of drainage going on in Lampton County at that time, and I spent a lot of time surveying fields for farmers and the complete farms and designing drainage systems so they could go to a contractor and say, here's what I want to install in the form of drainage, how much will it cost?

Edward Brubaker (00:35:13):
So it was very interesting and I trapped over a lot of land in the county during the two years that I was there. In the fall of 1959 then, two years later, I was moved to St. Thomas, Ontario to be engineer for Elgin County and Middlesex County. And I enjoyed that because work was more varied. There was a lot more livestock in those two counties than there was in Lampton, and we did a lot of work designing barns for housing livestock, for remodeling barns for dairy cattle, for new pig barns and so on. So that was very interesting years. Middlesex County particularly had a lot of very progressive farmers who were on the cutting edge of new technology and wanting to go ahead, and there were some very challenging ones.

Edward Brubaker (00:36:24):
For example, I remember a farmer coming into my office one day and saying that he wanted to put some slats into over a pit and run pigs in the pens over these slats. Well, I knew nothing about it. So he told me what he wanted to do. And he thought the pigs would drag the manure through the slats and he would get away from a lot of work of a cleaning pens all the time. Wouldn't be any straw involved, and he was growing mostly corn and didn't have straw anyway. So he wanted me to then to design the slats. Well, we had nothing, no background in that, or know what loads to put on these slats. So he and I decided how much load there might be on the slats, and if I remember the slats were about four feet long and probably about two and a half or three inches wide in the top. And so I designed a reinforced concrete slat for it and sent him the design and how to build it and so on, the strength of concrete and mix to use and so on.

Edward Brubaker (00:37:45):
So a couple days later he was back in my office and said, I don't think that's strong enough. It doesn't look right to me. And so I said, okay, I'll go through my calculations again. And I did. And so he said, okay. And he went home and built them, built about four of these slats and set them aside a cure for a week or so. And then he said, I wanted to make sure they were strong enough. So I said, one of these slats on two concrete blocks spanning the distance I want it and I got up on it and stood in the center of the slat. Well, the slat held up, he said, and so he said, I called somebody over, another man, and the two of us got on this slat, and then we jumped a little bit on the slat and the slat didn't break. So we decided that was strong enough. But he then went ahead and built what I think was the first slatted floor pig pen in Ontario.

Edward Brubaker (00:38:50):
And from there, he had to follow through and get some method of pumping this manure, and eventually together, we kind of came up with a design for a four foot by four foot by eight foot tank and built it plywood and mounted on a trailer and used just a grain auger to pump the manure out of these pits, into this tank. And from that, he just opened the valve at the back and allowed the manure to run out as he spread across the field. So it was interesting work because we were kind of at the leading edge of new technology. And of course today farmers, I think without exception use slatted floors in pig pens, because it reduces the labor so much and we have much better ways of handling manure now. So it was very interesting work in that regard.

Edward Brubaker (00:39:50):
From the work in St. Thomas, where I was located for four years, I was moved to Guelph in December of 1963, or really became involved here in Guelph in the beginning of 1964. First of all as engineer for Waterloo County, and then a year later as supervisor of the agricultural engineering program in Ontario. And this of course changed my type of work from doing it all, I started then to supervise and direct other people to do the work and got into hiring people and so on, and the engineering service expanded. I think we got up to the point where we reached 29 or maybe, yeah, I think 29 engineers working in the field across the province, right from one end to the other, each with his own responsibility, we helped them develop specialties so that each engineer was encouraged. And I guess pushed to develop a super specialty in one area such as dairy cattle housing, swine housing, drainage, pollution abatement, farm pond design, and other things of that type. So that if an engineer had a problem someplace, he could know who to call who had a specialty in this area to get some additional help.

Edward Brubaker (00:41:31):
Part of my job also was to liaise with the agricultural engineering department at this time that had developed here at Guelph and had a lot of good engineering professors in it. And if someone had a problem in the field, I could often go to one of the engineers here in the university and get some help. We sometimes used to feed problems in that developed into research problems and often had conferences here at Guelph in which we'd have the profs talk to us and tell us the work they were doing and so on and often try to learn of problems that we were having. So it became a very interesting career in that way. I stayed in that role until the fall of 1981, when I was appointed as manager of the agricultural energy center here in Ontario, this was a newly formed group designed to try to work with farmers and advise farmers on ways and means for reducing energy costs and the price of gasoline and oil, natural gas had risen exponentially during the late seventies and farmers were very concerned about these things.

Edward Brubaker (00:43:02):
So I stayed in that position from there until I retired in 1986. And in this role in the energy center, we would work with farmers and mostly with farmer ideas on how to do things. And this involved everything from designing and teaching farmers how to operate stills, to produce ethyl alcohol from corn. And the thought was that this ethyl alcohol could be used as a fuel in farm tractors in the spark ignition type of engines. And it did work. We could get alcohol out of the corn and we could use the corn mash that was left behind for feed, because basically all we took out of the corn to make this alcohol was the carbon and the hydrogen and the oxygen. That's what ethyl alcohol consists of. And all the nutrients and mineral were left in the mash, which became then a livestock feed.

Edward Brubaker (00:44:22):
Technically we could make it work. Practically we could not compete with the price of gasoline so that it became cheaper, of course, for farmers to buy gasoline and not do this work. It took a lot of energy because the corn had to be cooked and then allowed to ferment, and then the alcohol distilled off, but there was a profit to be made if you looked only at the input of the heat for cooking and distilling, we got more energy out of the alcohol that we produced, but not more energy out that we put in if you consider all of the energy inputs that went into the corn, such as the nitrogenous fertilizers, which amount to about 50% of the energy inputs in the corn, the herbicides, as well as the fuel for operating machinery and drying.

Edward Brubaker (00:45:30):
So that while it was an interesting experiment. It didn't really work out profitably. One of the more interesting ones that we worked on though was a greenhouse operator in the Holland Marsh, just maybe 10 or 15 kilometers west of Newmarket. And he was growing the English cucumbers, had a few acres of cucumbers growing there, was heating the greenhouses with oil and propane and finding it more and more expensive. So working with him, we set up a system whereby he would buy sawdust all summer long from some furniture manufacturers in Toronto, store it in the shed that he built, and this sawdust then would be transferred into a harvestore type of silo, that's a H-A-R-V-E-S-T-O-R-E, type of silo and the whole system completely mechanized and automated so that when the thermostat in the greenhouse called for heat, certain blowers started and auger started and the sawdust was blown into the furnace and immediately ignited by the heat in the furnace, and that would heat the steam and which would then be sent through the greenhouses for heat.

Edward Brubaker (00:47:09):
It worked out extremely well, and he reduced his fuel costs by 90%. He is still operating that same system today, and his son now is running the show and they've expanded their greenhouses, but the same storage systems and mechanical operating systems are still there and he still finds it very profitable. Other fellas tried corn cobs to do the same thing and generally wood shavings, but none worked quite as well as sawdust. Other things that we got into was energy recovery from dryers. So recover part of the heat that was normally exhausted to the atmosphere and recycle it through the dryers. We worked a lot with the tobacco farmers to gain energy efficiency in the kilns that they were operating so that we could again, recover some heat from those kilns.

Edward Brubaker (00:48:22):
Again, it was an interesting career and very challenging. And I guess one of the things that really benefited me most of all, was that I was able while I was here at Guelph to make contact with the international community, and I was given the opportunity to apply for and get certain short term jobs that took me to different countries in the world. And I enjoyed that and I still enjoy going to another country to work because of the intimate contact with the people. And through this, I've been able to work in about 18 countries, I think, in the world, including India, Malaysia, Pakistan, three or four countries in Africa, some countries in South America and so on. And this has been a very interesting part of my life and my working career. One that I've enjoyed very much and have many, many fond memories of

D. Murray Brown (00:49:42):
Ed, I remember you saying earlier that you wanted to become a pilot during the Second World War, and I know you had at your own airplane until recently. And so you did become a pilot, and I understand you went to one of the African countries or maybe more as a pilot for a good year, in recent years. Would you like to comment on that part of your international activities?

Edward Brubaker (00:50:10):
Yes, Murray, I was always disappointed that I never got my pilot training during the war. And so in the early 1970s, I began making noises that I thought I would like to take a pilot training. My wife had objections, first of all, she said, well, it's dangerous and you can't do it, and besides we can't afford it. So I spent a year or so with many arguments and persuasions trying to convince her that it didn't have to be dangerous, could be very safe. And then I got a small consulting job, which was outside of my regular form of employment that paid me a thousand dollars. I took that thousand dollars and put it aside strictly for pilot training so that it didn't come out of our regular budget, and that convinced my wife that I could afford it.

Edward Brubaker (00:51:17):
So I took the pilot training starting in September of '73 and graduated as with a private pilots license in early '74. And I enjoyed flying, and in total flew about just over 1500 hours as a pilot, finally ending it in August of this year of 2000, for several reasons, one being a bit of a problem with my lungs, which meant I wasn't getting enough oxygen at higher altitudes. And secondly, I was at age 75 and I thought it was time to wind it up. But I had a total of over 1500 hours. I had flown a small plane and mostly a four seater Cessna 172 from coast to coast in Canada and in the states to California, to Florida, to Jamaica, and had many trips. At times during the late seventies and early eighties, I used the plane for transportation around Ontario, primarily, but sometimes to go to conferences in the states, sometimes out to Western Canada, too.

Edward Brubaker (00:52:41):
So it was a good hobby and I enjoyed it very much. In 1995, my wife and I were all offered a chance to go to Namibia, a country on the west coast of Africa, just north of the Republic of South Africa and south of Angola to do some administrative work for mission aviation fellowship. And so we lived there for a year and found that very interesting. Namibia was first of all, south of the equator. So the seasons were reversed and secondly, it was a desert country. So it's quite different than anything we experienced here. And we really enjoyed our activities there.

D. Murray Brown (00:53:32):
Ed, I know you have a master's degree and having had that farm experience after you graduated, I expect you took your master's after you were married and had a family. Would you like to comment on that one or two years you took to take your masters?

Edward Brubaker (00:53:48):
Murray, I started my master's degree in January of 1961. We had four children by that time and we were living in St. Thomas. So it meant I had to leave my family there and come to Guelph and live here while I was doing that. It was a degree designed to upgrade my engineering courses so that I could register as a professional engineer, and then I had to complete a thesis, which was related to friction of grains on various structural materials, and in order to complete the master's degree. I attended university for about four months in the spring of '61, then went home for four months in the summer and worked as an engineer in the county of Elgin and Middlesex there. And then came back in the fall again to complete some more coursework and really get experimentation going for my thesis.

Edward Brubaker (00:55:06):
During the following winter term, I worked part-time at home, worked, part-time here at the university and finally completed my research work that spring and that summer, while I was working, I wrote the thesis. So I was about a matter of about the 20 months in total, from the time I started till I finished, but of that quite a lot of the time was spent working at home. It was a tough program. I struggled with it. I had to work hard and I'm sure if there'd been an honorable way out, I would've taken it. But first of all, I didn't want to let my kids know that I couldn't do it. And secondly, I didn't want to let the boss know that I had started something that I couldn't complete. And so that gave me incentive to keep going and certainly it was a wise decision to take it, to start and then to keep going and completed, because it was very easy to carry around once I had it.

D. Murray Brown (00:56:14):
So you received your master's degree sometime in late '62, Ed, I expect there were other honors that you achieved during your career. Would you like to comment on anything in that regard?

Edward Brubaker (00:56:32):
Yes, Murray, there were several things that stand out in my mind. Beginning in the late sixties, I became actively involved with the Agricultural Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineers. And both of those organizations honored me with a fellowship. And so I am a fellow at the Agricultural Institute of Canada, or I was, I'm no longer a member of that organization, and a fellow of the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering, which I still take part in. And so those are two honors that I treasure very highly. In addition, the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering gave me the maple leaf award in the early 1980s. And that award is given to one outstanding agricultural engineer in Canada each year. I treasure these awards and I feel very honored to have received them.

D. Murray Brown (00:57:48):
Ed, you mentioned that you had four children when you were taking your masters, enjoyed the comment on that family and perhaps their achievements?

Edward Brubaker (00:58:03):
Yes, Murray, we're very fond of our children. And after I completed my masters, I must have found new life and energy because we had two more children after that. So in total we had six children and are very proud of them. The six children were spread over 15 years. So we can remember one year in our life when we had two children in university, two children in high school and two children in public school. And five of the children have university degrees, two of them from Guelph here, and the sixth one decided, no, she didn't want to go to university, she wanted to be a nurse and has a good career in that field. So they've done well and are mostly living in Ontario now, although the year we were in Africa, we found that as a family, we were living on four different continents.

Edward Brubaker (00:59:16):
Eleanor, my second wife and I were in Africa, one daughter was in London studying to be an actress, and one daughter and her husband were in Columbia working for the Mennonite church there in South America. So that was interesting, but mostly we've come back to Ontario now with only two of them still in the USA. I mentioned my second wife, in 1986, my first wife died from cancer and that was a real shock, far greater than anything that I could ever anticipate. I lived by myself for two years, and then married a girl that I had gone to school with, right from kindergarten through grade 13 in Grimsby. After the high school I had gotten in the Air Force and she went on to the University of Toronto, married and had two children, but was living by herself. And so we found that we had a lot in common, and so we married in July of 1988 and she has been a real blessing to me. I really didn't thrive on living by myself and so on. She brought two more children into the family. So now in total we say together, we have eight children and 15 grandchildren and now have one great grandchild. So truly our quiver is full.

D. Murray Brown (01:01:06):
Ed, you mentioned one of your children was a Mennonite missionary. Would you like to comment on your own activities in church life?

Edward Brubaker (01:01:17):
Murray, my mom and dad were born and raised in Waterloo County, and although I never lived there myself and were actually Mennonites themselves. I was raised as a Mennonite until about age 18 and then kind of left the church and so on and came back to it, but when we moved to Guelph in 1964, there were no Mennonite church here in Guelph. So we started worshiping at a Baptist church here in Guelph and are still very active in that same church. We have a lot of faith in God and rely on him a great deal in our day to day life and with our families.

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