RISING SUN — It was cold and windy but the sun was out and so were generations of Benjamin Haines’ family.
Albeck Farms played host Sunday morning to a visitation for the family mourning the loss of Haines, who died Jan. 2 at the age of 80.
The Gorilla tape came out to secure poster boards to easels to fight the breeze that kept toppling the heartfelt displays. On top of the traditional boards of photos, there were messages that the youngest would miss their “Doritos party” with Pop-pop and that Haines was their hero.
Lowell Haines, Ben’s son, said it was a family effort that devised the tractor focused visitation.
“We couldn’t do anything at the funeral home,” Lowell said. “So we felt like it was a good idea to get all of Dad’s tractors out and have them drive by.”
He said his dad would get a kick out of seeing the younger generation seated on his tractors for the event.
“He enjoyed seeing his great grandkids driving the tractors,” Lowell said.
Founded by Al and Becky Haines, Albeck Farms was the first family farm to be incorporated in Maryland. That happened in 1958. Al and Becky were the parents of Ben Haines.
Haines was not only a farmer but also active in the farm community including past president of the Cecil County Farm Museum. He was at the helm in 2014 when an arrangement was made with Cecil County Public Schools to lease the property the Cecil County Farm Museum now calls home off Appleton Road in Elkton.
Haines was also active in the Calvert Grange, the Farm Bureau, the Waterloo Boys (A group promoting agriculture and history through its connection with John Deere) and the 4-H All-Stars.
While he was not a member of the fair board, Don Moore, president of the Cecil County Fair, said Haines was a steady presence.
“He always helped with the tractor pulls, ag showcase, and the tractor driving contest among other things,” Moore said. “He was always a phone call away if you needed something.”
In this age of masks, social distancing and capacity issues, Lowell Haines said this was the best of a bad situation.
“Under the circumstances this was all we could do and be safe,” he said. “Fortunately we had a place we could do something and be safe.”
There was a steady stream of pick-up trucks, cars, motorcycles and more passing the family at the farm off of Telegraph Road.
“He’d probably say it wasn’t necessary,” Haines said as he watched a truck stop and study a photo-laden poster. “But then he’d be proud.”