'Tickled Pink' Couple use tractor to cultivate cancer awareness

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Wilbur Lee Hoevener of Tampico says every time he pulls his pink 1949 Farmall Super M tractor out for other people to see, he knows his daughter, Lisa, is watching.

“She’s up there looking down, smiling, and I bet she’s tickled pink about it,” Hoevener said, glancing upward with tears in his eyes.

Lisa Hoevener died of cancer in 1997. She was 25 — young, beautiful, ambitious, sweet and loving, her mother said.

Although it was a rare type of liver cancer, not breast cancer, that took their daughter, the Hoeveners chose to paint the tractor pink in her honor because the color is the most widely recognized color associated with cancer awareness.

“The color for liver cancer is yellow, but no one would have really got it had we painted the tractor yellow,” Ann Hoevener said.

“It was a wise decision,” Wilbur Hoevener said.

They purchased the tractor in 2008 from Leo VonDielingen and recruited their nephew, Brad, to restore and paint it pink, but not just any shade of pink.

“We went to a tractor show out West where we got the idea from a lady who had painted her tractor pink,” Ann Hoevener said. “But that one was more like Pepto-Bismol.”

She thought that, with the right shade of pink, the tractor would gain a lot of attention. But her husband didn’t take to the idea at first.

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