RANTOUL — Mary Mullins said it was her husband’s love of tractors that led him to help start the engine of the Power of the Past club.

Richard Mullins, 74, Rantoul, was the president of Power of the Past, a group of tractor and engine enthusiasts who play host to an annual tractor show, as well as a cross-county ride, Mary Mullins said. Richard Mullins died Tuesday.

“He was one of the original founders of the Power of the Past, and that was back quite a ways,” Mullins said of her husband. “He was the president for about 16 years, and before that he was a member.”

Mullins said her husband had loved tractors even before they met and were married. But her husband’s love of tractors really blossomed after attending a tractor show when they were newlyweds in 1985.

“He started out by being at a tractor show in town, and it just continued from there,” she said. “It’s been a busy job — like a 24-hour-a-day job.”

Not only did her husband love tractors, Mullins said, he loved restoring them.

“For about the last 28 years he’d been collecting them. He started when we were married,” she said. “He helped people restore them. After he restored them, he kept some and sold some.”

His love of people and tractors helped fuel the organization as it prepared for the annual tractor and antique engine show, Mullins said.

“He always liked tractors and people. He was very sociable and helpful,” she said. “He loved [the show] and the people and those involved. He had a lot of good helpers who tried very hard to make a good show, and they did a good job of making a good show.”

This year’s tractor and engine show is an international show, Mullins said. It is planned for Sept. 13-15 at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa, featuring IHC International tractors and engines, according to the Power of the Past’s website.

“[Richard’s] favorite thing about the show was talking with people from other states and countries. We’ve had people from other countries show [tractors and engines],” she said. “[Richard] loved just seeing people work together and enjoy the same things.”

Memorial contributions can be made to Power of the Past, Mullins said.

For a full obituary, See Page 2 of today’s Herald.