Andy Detwiler Death, Obituary – On July 18, 1972, Bick Detwiler, an Ohio farmer, was operating a grain auger, a metal drill with a spiral pattern that pushes produce from a truck into a holding bin. He would frequently grab a handful of his wheat from the auger to check the moisture level. He briefly turned away. Andy, the 2-year-old grandson of Mr. Detwiler, was playing nearby. Unaware of the danger posed by the equipment, he went up to the auger and tried to imitate his grandfather.
Andy had entered the auger when Mr. Detwiler turned around to see it. When Andy was freed, he discovered that his arms had been amputated. Despite spending five weeks in the hospital, Andy made it out alive. One night, as Andy’s mother Patricia Detwiler attempted to cover Andy with a blanket, a sign of his future appeared. She was about to do it when she noticed her son grip the blanket’s binding with two toes and throw it into the air.
“It landed perfectly on him,” Ms. Detwiler recalled in 2019. “From that moment on, I knew he’d be OK.” As an adult, Andy Detwiler ran his own 300-acre section of his family’s corn and soybean farm. Using his toes, teeth, chin, and a single remaining shoulder, he learned how to drive a tractor, feed horses and goats, shoot a handgun, loosen screws with a screw gun, paint antique farm equipment, custom-build his own farm equipment, operate a snow plow — and film himself all the while, becoming one of YouTube’s most popular and beloved farming personalities.
Sept. 21 marked his passing in Urbana, Ohio. He was 52. He experienced pneumonia and an aneurysm while receiving treatment for esophageal cancer, according to his daughter and frequent co-star Kylie Detwiler. According to many rankings, Mr. Detwiler’s “Harmless Farmer” YouTube channel, which has about 130,000 members, is among the top farming channels on YouTube in the English-speaking world. Mr. Detwiler shows off his impressive inventiveness and skill while performing farm chores in his movies.
In one, he approaches a stack of feed bags and says, “I don’t advise this to anybody,” before biting one of the bags, lifting it upright, snatching the string tied around the top with his teeth, spitting it out, craning his neck so that his chin and shoulder surround the bag, and then grabbing it while describing his technique. He carries the bag to the barrel, places it inside, drops it inside again, picks it up with his teeth, and then carefully empties the contents within. He then stands on one foot while scooping up some feed with his right foot, providing a close-up for the camera, and lecturing about the feed (“there’s oats in there, and cracked corn”).
Mr. Detwiler became an expert in devising workarounds for basic tasks. He worked outdoors in the winter barefoot. While driving his tractor, he filmed himself by attaching his camera to magnets. To film himself while moving about, he built a custom wooden mount for his GoPro camera that allowed the device to fit snugly and stably in his breast pocket. He discussed his accident with relatives while cracking jokes, and he felt at ease with grain augers, showing in one video how he retrofitted parts from two different augers to create one extra-long tool.
Because of his disabilities, Mr. Detwiler gained a set of skills that other farmers generally lacked. In several videos, he uses his legs while lying on his back to lift and maneuver a PTO shaft, a notoriously heavy and unwieldy piece of farming equipment. “Hooking up a PTO and hoses is always a challenge with two hands,” one viewer commented. “You are so good, I am dumbfounded.” “Andy, I’ve had my daughter watch your videos,” wrote another viewer. “She’s been fighting cancer and has many struggles. I’ve told her she can overcome anything if she puts her mind to it. I use you as an example because we farm and know how hard these jobs are.”
The family of Mr. Detwiler showcased his agricultural machinery at his funeral. The PTO shaft had to be connected to a tractor by four guys. On November 24, 1969, Thomas Andrew Detwiler was born in Urbana. He was raised in West Liberty, Ohio, a small rural town. The farm, which has been in the Detwiler family since 1904 and currently spans 1,300 acres, was where his father Thomas worked. Patricia (Simpson) Detwiler, his mother, instructed eighth-grade American history.
In his boyhood, Andy was a figure in the local press. When he was 9, The Dayton Daily News described him in school holding a clipboard with his left foot while filling out a test sheet with his right foot. To answer a question posed by his teacher, he raised his leg. “The blue-eyed youngster with the mischievous grin leads an active, happy life with the support of understanding parents who refuse to coddle him,” The Springfield News-Sun wrote in a profile when he was 7. While in a sandbox, he played with toy farm equipment using his feet. “Growing up, there wasn’t anybody that could teach me anything because nobody knew anybody that was like me,” Mr. Detwiler said in one of his videos. “I pretty much taught myself everything.”
1988 saw his graduation from West Liberty-Salem High School. In 1992, he arrived at Corkey Wallace’s home around 2 a.m. with a group of buddies. and shouted that he wanted to take her out on a date from the porch of her family’s home. In 1996, they got hitched. At the request of his wife and daughter, Mr. Detwiler made his first YouTube post in 2018 with the primary intention of earning some extra cash. As the popularity of his channel increased, he began to post videos twice a week. Every remark left on his videos was read by him.
In addition, Mr. Detwiler established a reputation as a talented cook by creating a chili recipe that was popular among West Liberty families. He started disclosing his cancer diagnosis in the public in 2020. Just four days before his passing, on September 17, his final video was posted online. In addition to his siblings Kathy Jo Detwiler and Matthew, he is also survived by his parents, wife, and daughter. Mr. Detwiler spent a lifetime perfecting his skill to farm without using any tools, but it was also proof of the adaptability of people. At age 2, a deep part of him underwent a rewiring.
He found the same trait in his daughter. When Kylie was old enough to stand up in her crib, Mr. Detwiler would lean down, and Kylie somehow knew to put her arm around her father’s neck, between his shoulder and his chin, so he could swing her across his body and carry her.