WILSON – When James Nolte died unexpectedly just as his cotton was ready for harvest this fall, friends and others in the community rallied to pick his final crop.
More than 30 area farmers – along with their own equipment – joined forces twice this fall to harvest the 300-plus acres of cotton on the 62-year-old’s farm in Lynn County.
Terry Thomas, Nolte’s sister, said her brother’s passing initially left her family unsure how to move forward. She did not live in the area or have the knowledge, or the ability harvest the incomplete land herself.
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Nolte had no children, and following the Nov. 1 accident that took his life, Thomas recalled that the first group of volunteers came out the following Friday to strip the cotton that was ready.
But half of the field was not ready in early November, so volunteers returned to the field earlier this month to finish the job, Thomas said.
“These wonderful people from the community are family and friends and it’s just been such a blessing for them to come out and help and gather his crop,” Thomas said.
She said she’s thankful the people around Wilson and Lynn County are so generous, kind and loving.
Thomas said she was moved by display, and lack of hesitation to pitch in as a sign of respect for her brother.
“I cried – it was hard to even breathe, almost, because it was so overwhelming,” Thomas said. “And I know my brother’s smiling down from heaven.”
Craig Wilke, an area farmer who was a friend of Nolte’s, said members of the community knew they had to come together for the cause after Nolte’s death. He recalled that everyone got together and picked a day to finish the harvest, he said.
“He was a good, good man and he’s definitely missed,” Wilke said.
Wilke described Nolte as a “good old guy” who loved fishing, was very quiet but loved his community.
“He was just a very personable person. He really enjoyed being around people and having good conversations and working together with people,” said Warren Moerbe, an area farmer and one of Nolte’s cousins. “Everybody just really felt obliged to help them because of all the friendship he showed over the years.”