Friends take over harvest after Amelia farmer dies cleaning equipment

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AMELIA COUNTY, Va. – A group of Amelia farmers did not hesitate to help the family of a fallen friend during their darkest hours.

Wayne Keener, 86, died Tuesday cleaning equipment on his Amelia farm.

Soon after Mr. Keener’s body was discovered in his combine, fellow farmers Howard Easter, Wallick Harding and Kerry Harding took over harvesting Keener’s barley crop so the Keener family could grieve and make funeral arrangements.

“It’s just something that you do. I know my friends would certainly help my family if they were in need,” farmer Kerry Harding, 51, said. In addition to being friends, Harding and Keener were cousins.

“Wayne and [his wife] Nellie are the nicest couple in Amelia,” Harding said. He added despite his advanced age, Wayne Keener continued to do everything around the farm.

The circumstances surrounding Keener’s death, while not suspicious, remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon, according to Amelia Sheriff Rick Walker.

“They’re going to take care of what needs to get done,” Walker said about farmers’ helping mentality.

Keener’s farming friends took care of about 60 acres of barley crop that needed harvesting, he said. The barley crop must be taken care of before the weather beats it down, Harding added.

Funeral arrangements for Wayne Keener have not yet been made public.


  • Tabbs

    Condolences to the Keener family.

    (Please correct both times where you have used funeral “arraignment” instead of “arrangement; I’m pretty sure he won’t be facing criminal charges for dying.)

  • David Wayne Liverman

    25 years ago I lived around the Easters farm. This doesn’t surprise me a bit. Really just country folk in general. I live in Goochland now and could give you countless examples of similar acts of kindness.

  • Randolph Crowther

    Always great to here the love the community shows during hard times and I’m sure the family feels so blessed, great story!!

  • Martha

    I think it’s wonderful that the community came together to help the family out so they cld grieve and make funeral arrangements without worrying about the crop.

  • Charlotte

    I am so very sorry for the family, and in this economy we lower middle income class does not get a break it seems. We must keep working, but honestly at his age, it would have been better to have those kind neighbor’s helping him with the harvest BEFORE the accident, then maybe his death could have been prevented. That was a very painful and unnecessary death!

  • Wallick Harding

    Mr. Keener had been to our farm the previous Wed., and we helped him fix a part on his combine. He was going to fix his equipment himself, and only if he was unable to, he would ask for help. He was very independent, and was doing what he had always done. His wish was to pass away on the farm while working. And he got his wish.

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