A true craftsmen, Duane “Schwabie” Schwab is the Grand Marshal for the 40th Ellinwood After Harvest Festival on July 18-20. A native Kansan, Schwabie embodies “Home is Where Our Story Begins.”
Growing up in La Crosse, Schwabie moved to Ellinwood in 1967 after spending time in Casper, Wyo. in the oilfields, which is where he found his profession as a machinist. He repaired oil drilling rigs for 37 years at Schwab’s Tinker Shop. The business expanded his business into Liberal, Texas and Oklahoma City. In addition, international companies ordered parts from him, and employed 14 people in Ellinwood.
Although now retired, the 80 year old remains active and is constantly “tinkering” with his cars and engines. Spare Model T parts line the walls of his garage for repairs. One thing he particularly enjoys is restoring his antique cars to new condition.
“He started a business in Ellinwood with the help of a local banker and provided jobs for our community. He sold his products internationally putting Ellinwood on the map,” said Rosie Joiner, member of the nominating committee.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Schwabie, about his nomination for Grand Marshal. “It’s something I’d never dreamed I’d be.”
Schwabie has always enjoyed showing his vehicles in the After Harvest Festival parade. “I like to see people and joke with them and they joke with me. I like it. ” However, this year his son John will be driving.
In addition to Model Ts, Schwabie also owns a Thunderbird, a Studebaker, a Galaxie, Model As and more, all perfectly restored, of course. His hobbies include fishing at Kanopolis Lake where he owns, with his wife Kathy, a couple of cabins and several boats.
Schwabie and Kathy have travelled to the mountains and been to Canada in their Model T with friends with similar interests. “We always travel in a group,” said Schwabie.
Schwabie has five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.