It Happened in Crawford County: Jim and Sharon Stump share a love for farming and travel

James “Jim” Stump is a son of Howard and Helen Lowmiller Stump, generational farmers in Whetstone Township on Shearer Road. The homestead farm owner was Martin Stump, a pioneer who came from Pennsylvania to Crawford County in 1839.

Ownership of the farm went to the sons, first Daniel, then to Samuel, Howard, Jim and currently his son, Mike. He is the manager of 1,400 acres owned and rented by Jim and Mike. For some years they operated a dairy farm, milking about 45 cows until 2020, and now continue with beef cows and feeder calves. The big silos were used for hay and grain to feed the cows.

Jim graduated from Whetstone school in 1955. He went on to The Ohio State University, majoring in ag education, wanting to learn the skills he needed to be a smart farmer. He graduated in 1959 and returned to the farm because his mom had died. He was the only child and wanted to help his dad, and he just stayed on the rest of his life.

Jim and Sharon Stump have been involved in agriculture their entire lives and love to travel. Their wedding day was almost delayed because of a rare ice storm in Atlanta.
Jim and Sharon Stump have been involved in agriculture their entire lives and love to travel. Their wedding day was almost delayed because of a rare ice storm in Atlanta.

'It's just a wonderful way of life'

OSU Extension and Crawford County Soil and Water, located on Plymouth Street, helped the Stumps set up a program to host fifth grade field days. Schools brought children by bus to the Stump Farm, which had stations set up for wildlife, timber and over-all agriculture education. The kids liked to see the calves, and they enjoyed watching the cows being milked in the milking parlor. The program was a great success.

Jim was a lifelong 4 H adviser with 40 years volunteerism for the Whetstone Go Getters.

Jim said farming has been a wonderful experience, but this is the first time in 77 years he can’t participate in farming because of his eyesight. He is dedicated to farming − it’s good and bad. There’s the constant worry about the weather, but the biggest concern is if the crops aren’t good, how they will get money for that year.

However, he said, “it’s just a wonderful way of life and you have to appreciate what you do.”

Jim and his first wife, Marlene Turney Stump, were married for 36 years before she died in 1993. They had two children − Mike Stump and Debbie Mahon.

Life has its twists and turns. Jim knew Sharon Spore when he went to get information on farm programs at the Farm Service Agency on Plymouth Street. Sharon began working there in 1985, measuring fields for the acreage conservation reserve. The summer job ended, but in the fall they were so busy with farm programs she was hired to work in the office. On one of Jim’s stops to the office, he asked Sharon on a date.

Courting had its ups and downs - dog bite on first date

On the first date, Jim encountered Sharon’s dog. Sharon said to her son, “put the dog away, Jim’s here,” but it was too late,. He already had bitten him and tore his pants. It seems the dog, named Gentle Ben, didn’t like men. Jim asked Sharon for some Scotch tape to fix his pants. She was thankful he didn’t just leave. They went on to the Red Lobster in Mansfield and then to the Renaissance Theatre to see "Annie Get Your Gun."

Things progressed well, and Jim arranged for their marriage to be on a cruise ship in Miami. First it was the glitch with dog and now the flight had a layover at Atlanta in a rare ice storm. Planes were late, and theirs was four hours behind schedule. They were stressed, but when they arrived the "preacher" was waiting. They didn’t want to be on a cruise prior to getting married, but it all came out OK.

“I couldn’t make this stuff up," Sharon said.

Sharon's story

Sharon was married to Ron Spore for 23 years before his heart attack in 1994. He was working at Timken, and Sharon was working at Farm Service Agency. Floyd Reinhart was Sharon’s boss. She recalls how much fun he was to work for.

Sharon is a daughter of Denver Cramer and Grace Osborn. Her dad lived on the farm at Little Sandusky. Sharon grew up in Wyandot County where she went to school and then on to Ridgedale High School where she graduated in 1970.

She worked at Westinghouse in Upper Sandusky after school until she was laid off. She took on several other jobs.

Ron and Sharon had two children, Traci Lepecki and Josh Spore. When her husband dcied, Josh was ready for his senior year and Traci was beginning her sophomore year at the University of Toledo.

Jim and Sharon have done a lot of traveling together − New York, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Alaska, a lot of islands, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Virginia and many places in between. Sharon always wanted to travel; now it was the right time in their lives.

They agreed it’s been a good life, and God has blessed them so much in many different ways.

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This article originally appeared on Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Jim and Sharon Stump share a passion for farming and travel