Like father, like son -
Jonathan Jenness, age 2, sits on the seat of the 1938 John Deere A tractor his father Marty (right) rebuilt and re-painted. Photo by Dan Whitney
Marty Jenness of Cherokee has been a tractor collector/rebuilder/displayer ever since he was 12 years old. Jenness, a 1988 Washington High grad, bought a 1938 John Deere A tractor when he was just 14 years old and, with the help of his dad Tom, rebuilt the engine. Dad painted the tractor pink as a joke on Marty, and when they sold it in the mid-1980s, it was still that color. Marty bought it back in the 1990s, repainted it in the original John Deere green and yellow colors and rebuilt the motor again, and continues to show the 70-year-old tractor at antique tractor shows, drive it in some parades, and sometimes compete in - and occasionally win - antique tractor pulls.
Jenness, 39, has been a Cherokee County employee for ten years, including the last three as an Assistant to the County Engineer. He has three more "big" tractors, another John Deere, an International and a Ford, and also several David Bradley garden tractors for which he has rebuilt the engines. He has sold a few of the lawn tractors -"sell a few to buy a few," he says.
Marty has always loved building, espousing Tim "the Toolman" Taylor's credo -
" You can't say you own anything unless you built it." Another of his creations is the log cabin - style playhouse he built in his backyard for his children Jenna, 4 and Jonathan, 2.
Marty married the former Dawn Meyer, who teaches at both Roosevelt Elementary and the Cherokee Middle School, in 1995, and the family of four live on an acreage near Koser Spring Lake Park in Cherokee. Marty also serves as a volunteer fireman for the Cherokee Fire Department and recently participated in the 4th of July Fireworks at Spring Lake, shooting off several purple-colored fireworks for his daughter and green ones for his son.
Little House on the Prairie -
Marty Jenness also built this log cabin-style playhouse for his two children. Photo by Dan Whitney