A Massive Stroke Almost Ends Plans of Retirement Farming

After the stroke in October of 2008, Gary was not expected to ever walk, talk, use his right arm, swallow or eat without a feeding tube again. Gayle was encouraged to place him in a nursing home, but with typical farm-wife feistiness, she insisted that her husband be reevaluated and placed into physical therapy.  Gayle’s persistence won and Gary eventually returned home.

But there was more bad news! In 2010, Gary had another stroke and a serious seizure in 2011. Despite the setbacks, he has persisted in following the dream and has returned to tending the livestock on their rural estate. 

The Glownia Farm

The farm is pasture based supporting 27 Shetland sheep, 20 Pygora-type goats, and 40 laying hens.  Income is derived from the sale of sheep and goat fiber and young stock and the sale of eggs to local customers.

Impact of the Disability

The strokes have left Gary with impaired speech and hearing and a paralyzed right arm and  hand which has severely limited his ability to do the necessary work of the farm.  Gary also has trouble kneeling and crawling.

Gayle has been unable to retire because of the need to hire additional help for farm maintenance tasks that Gary is unable to perform. Adaptations were needed to permit Gary to do more of the work.


Because Gary has virtually no use of his right hand and arm, using hand tools is extremely difficult.  AgrAbility recommended a one-hand tool grip that attaches to existing tool handles and allows the worker to grip the handle without twisting the wrist and provides maximum grip strength.

One-hand clamping tools provide a grip mechanism so they do not require two hands to operate. 


An automatic gate latch will catch a gate as it is slammed shut and latch it securely.  This eliminates the need the more standard chains and hooks that require two hands to properly secure.


AgrAbility also helped the Glownia’s identify new ways to do old jobs. One example is switching to new feeders which makes the chore easier for Gary. “He still struggles, but he struggles less,” Gayle added.

“Ned is just real encouraging and we have really appreciated how he has encouraged us. He doesn’t have to come over on AgrAbility business. He can come over and visit whenever he wants.”

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017