Longtime ditch inspector dies

Published 9:54am Monday, August 5, 2013

Tractor incident takes life of Phil Tennis

HAWYARD — A longtime Freeborn County ditch inspector died Saturday after he was reportedly ran over by a tractor near his home.

Phil Tennis, 86, had worked for the county for 18 1/2 years before retiring in January.

Tennis’ John Deere tractor appeared to have mechanical problems and there was no indication of wrongdoing, said Freeborn County Sheriff’s detective Chuck Malepsy.

The incident took place at 22569 820th Ave., north of Hayward, at about 3:30 p.m., according to reports.

There were no witnesses.

Gold Cross ambulance crews and North Air Helicopter crews provided medical care at the scene.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said Tennis worked for the county from July of 1994 to January of 2013.

“Over the 18 years spent with Freeborn County Phil developed a unique relationship with all of us at Freeborn County,” Kluever said. “Everyone at Freeborn County would like to extend our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the entire Tennis family.”