Easterday enjoying slower pace of farm after years in office

John Easterday, of Huntington, stands with a tractor on his property.
Photo by Steve Clark.

John Easterday, of Huntington, worked as both a farmer and a banker, and those two professions often conflicted.

"Especially in the farming side, when I was working at the bank, and in the spring and the fall, you'd never know whether to take a day off or not, whether it was going to rain or not," says Easterday.

But, he adds, "Now I don't have to worry about any of that."

Last year, on his 66th birthday, Easterday retired from banking, calling it a career after 43 years.

A farmer of corn, beans and grain since, Easterday guesses, the late seventies or early eighties, retirement has given him more time to work his land, which comes from his wife's side of the family, and covers 110 acres, 72 of which are tillable. Easterday also helps farm a friend's land south of Huntington.

It's a slower pace of life, says Easterday, and it's one that he feels he's earned after working full time, non-stop, since he was a teenager.

"I started working at Kroger's in Columbia City end of my sophomore year of high school and I worked there 15, 18 weeks, whatever it was, and then I became a full-time employee," he says. "I was a full-time employee and going to high school my junior and senior year and it kind of gets to a place where I get to have an opportunity to be the kid that I didn't get to be back then."

One of Easterday's friends, dating back to his days at Kroger, also retired recently.

"He stayed with Kroger and went all the way up to be the senior vice president of the Kroger Company, in charge of all the retail stores," Easterday says. "He retired two years ago, mainly for the same reasons. He'd worked for them for 42 years and it was time to just relax and have fun.

"We both got kind of the same philosophy. It was time for us to relax a little bit."

Easterday has done plenty of farming, but it's not the only way he's spent his free time.

"I got other things to do, remodeling work, stuff at home," he says. "I want to build some cupboards and stuff for myself."

Spending time with grandkids has also been on the agenda.
"My wife takes care of them during the day when my oldest daughter teaches," Easterday says. "So, we have them around quite a bit and it is kind of fun just to do things with them."

Whether he's farming or playing with grandkids, Easterday has enjoyed his life in Huntington.

"Huntington has really become my hometown," he says. "I've really appreciated working and being involved in Huntington County.

"It's just a great place to live. I appreciate all the support this community has given me throughout my years."

Complete caption: John Easterday, of Huntington, stands with a tractor on his property. A farmer for most of his 43 years as a banker in Huntington, Easterday retired from banking last year, which has given him more time to work on his land and “be the kid I didn’t get to be back then.”