Nothing Runs Like a Deere

George Mixter died in 1977, yet since his passing he has invested more than $3.9 million into the local nonprofit sector, benefiting a broad range of programs, especially those providing services to people suffering from incurable disease.

George Mixter was considered an outstanding engineer, scholar in the science of navigation and a yachtsman. He was the great grandson of John Deere, and a grandson of Christopher Webber, both pioneers in the farm implement field. His father, William, was a professor of Chemistry at Yale.

George was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1876. He graduated from Yale and Johns Hopkins, after which time he took a position within the family's business, Deere & Company. While at the Company, George became a Director and Vice-President, overseeing all fourteen of the Deere plants. He traveled to Europe, Russia and South America on behalf of Deere.

George later became a partner in George W. Goethals & Company Engineers which was named for the U.S. Army engineer and builder of the Panama Canal. While a partner, Mixter also served as President and General Manager of the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company for a short time. Pierce-Arrow supplied cars to the U.S. President and sold cars to the royal families of Japan, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Belgium. George eventually settled as Vice President and a Director at Day & Zimmerman, consulting engineers of Philadelphia.

In 1917, when America entered World War I, George accepted a commission as a major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Rising to the ranks of Colonel, George organized the inspection section and later became chief of aircraft production.

George had a life long passion for boats and sailing which drew him to Bermuda and other ocean races. He is also credited with writing the Primer of Navigation. The book was used to teach navigation to thousands of men in the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines during World War II.

Since inception, the Mixter Fund has distributed more than $3.9 million to organizations such as AIDS Project New Haven (APNH), which in 2010 received a $120,000 multi-year grant to expand its Caring Cuisine program.

Caring Cuisine is Connecticut's oldest, and longest running, meal delivery program, and the only program that provides prepared meals for individuals infected and affected with HIV/AIDS and other critical and chronic illnesses. Medically and culturally appropriate prepared meals are provided at no charge, seven days a week, for both individuals infected and families affected by HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, diabetes, hepatitis, cancer and other diseases.

Other nonprofits who have benefited from Mixter Fund distributions include: Ability Beyond Disability Inc., Leeway Inc., Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic, Saint Raphael Foundation, Harbor Health Services, ALSO-Cornerstone, Leukemia Society of America, and Connecticut Hospice.

Like George Mixter, you or someone you know can create a lasting legacy through a permanent endowment that benefits the community for generations. To learn more, please email Sharon Cappetta or call 203-777-7071.

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