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30-year-old business comes to an end

DIXON – About a thousand people packed in like sardines in the lot next to Dixon Welding and Machine on U.S. Highway 200 for a grand auction full of treasures.

Jerry Kohne owned the shop for just about three decades. He died late last year at the age of 82. Many of the people at the event came out to honor Kohne.

“He was one-of-a-kind,” said Roy Tufly. “He was an excellent machinist, one of the best.”

Kohne moved to the area just before he opened the machine shop in one of the older buildings in town.

“He moved here from Wisconsin years ago,” Tufly said. “He came out here on a hunting trip and loved the place.”

Tufly remembers his friend as a quiet man. “He had a real dry sense of humor,” he said. “When people first met him they would think he was tough and gruff, but you had to get to know him. He was a great guy.”

Roy Ardis said he had a lot of good times with Kohne. He also explained how the machinist acquired the hundreds and hundreds of auction items spread out over the lot including a winter sleigh, welders, trip hammers, firearms, milk cans, metal signs, an anvil, chains, wire, motors, a mounted beaver, and more.

“He had loads of stuff,” Ardis said. “He even had stuff still packed from when he moved here. He had guns, tools, everything. He liked to go to auctions. He was always going to auctions.”

Kohne’s, stepson, Joe Moon, is in charge of the estate. Moon said his stepfather grew up during the Depression era, a time when people learned to save things and be frugal.

“He collected all kinds of things, but he really liked antique things,” he said. “He was very much into old hit and miss motors. The kind you can run like a stand-alone power unit.”

Moon isn’t sure what is going to happen with the shop. He said his stepfather was a great welder, so it’s a loss for the community, as well as the family.

“He was a hell of a welder,” he said. “He could make anything. And he loved this place.”

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