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Family, friends remember ‘good ol’ country boy’ Nevin Tasto

Dixie Tasto said her late husband of nearly 47 years, Nevin Tasto, the man she compared cattle with as kids, was one in a million. She said their relationship was also a friendship over the past 66 years and they would work together all the time.

“So it’s like half of me is gone,” she said.

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Nevin Tasto, a prominent participant in Carroll County’s agricultural community and well known county auctioneer and 4-H member died May 7 at the age of 74.

Auctioneer Nevin Tasto takes bids on a chipper during the consignment auction to open the Mason-Dixon Historical Society's Steam and Gas Round-Up at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The show, which is free and open to the public, features all manner of antique farm machinery and runs Friday through Sunday.
Auctioneer Nevin Tasto takes bids on a chipper during the consignment auction to open the Mason-Dixon Historical Society's Steam and Gas Round-Up at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The show, which is free and open to the public, features all manner of antique farm machinery and runs Friday through Sunday. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

He was born April 4, 1947 in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He graduated from North Carroll High School in 1965. Prior to that, he started auctioneering in 1961 at the North Carroll High School Council Student Fundraiser where he was the president of the student council and Future Farmers of America (FFA). He was the state secretary for Maryland’s FFA program, led the Manchester boys 4-H club, became the superintendent of the Carroll County tractor driving program in 1972 and helped start the tractor pulling contest at the Agricultural Center in 1969.

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His family and friends said he was heavily involved in the community because it’s what he loved. And although he kept busy, he was never too busy for his family.

Dixie, his wife, said the two met when she was 8 and he was 10 at the state fair. It was not only a friendship, but a rivalry based on cattle breeds. Dixie said jerseys were better but Nevin said ayrshires. They were just picking on each other, and Nevin would eventually let Dixie win, she said.

“I know he’s my husband and the father of my three kids, but I can truly say he was one in a million,” Dixie said.

Dixie added that their 47-year anniversary is May 18. A tradition they had was waking up the morning of, looking at each other and say “yup, I’ll do it all over again.”

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Debbie Free, one of Tasto’s three daughters, said her dad was kind to everyone and she doesn’t think he knew how to say no.

“He was just so helpful and he loved the community and Carroll and the people,” she said.

Free added he loved everything about agriculture, knew everything about tractors and cared deeply about his family. She recalled when he came to Manchester Elementary when she was a student and he auctioned off school supplies for the class.

“I just remember it was so much fun,” she said. “I remember the class loved it too.”

Free said none of his three daughters picked up his auctioneering talent, unfortunately, but they helped as kids by running papers back and forth from their mom to their dad after a sale. The kids and grandkids are still involved, she said.

Free said Nevin Tasto was the best dad ever.

“We’re glad we had the time we had with him but forever wouldn’t have been long enough,” she said.

Nevin Tasto and car enthusiast Carl Owings talk cars beside Owings' red 1967 Ford Fairlane XL.
Nevin Tasto and car enthusiast Carl Owings talk cars beside Owings' red 1967 Ford Fairlane XL. (photos Phil Grout for Carroll Co/Carroll County Times)

“I don’t think he really knew the impact he made on other people,” her sister, Daisie Carroll, said, adding that he was humble. “I don’t think he realized how many people respect and care about him and admired him as a man.”

She mentioned the responses people on Facebook made after Tasto’s death was announced. She noticed some of his catchphrases like “you betcha” and “lookie here” were quoted in the comments.

Carroll said 4-H was kind of like a family business. She personally was a fan of auctioneering and took up the craft at a young age as she sold the family’s rabbits, duck, horses, dogs and cats to her sisters.

Although her dad seemed to speak in slow motion, once he started auctioning he spoke at 300 miles per hour, Carroll said. She would even call and have him sell something over the phone so her friends could hear how fast he could talk. She added later that one of the many volunteer activities he did was auction off seniors to do things like carry someone’s books.

Carroll said he couldn’t go anywhere without being noticed since he was so involved. He always stepped in when asked but always made time for his family.

“He treated everyone like they were family and everyone that met him, loved him,” Dollie Tasto-Green, one of Tasto daughters, said.

She said one of her greatest memories of him lately was when her kids were selling cakes and steers at the fair and if Tasto wasn’t the auctioneer at the time, he would still get on the mic and help his grandchildren make a sale.

Tasto-Green said when she would go places and said who her dad was, people would say “oh, I know him.”

“It’s like he’s a pillar of the community,” she added.

Veteran Westminster auctioneer Nevin Tasto points out some of features of this 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe owned by R.J. Wetzel of Union Bridge.
Veteran Westminster auctioneer Nevin Tasto points out some of features of this 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe owned by R.J. Wetzel of Union Bridge. (photos Phil Grout for Carroll Co/Carroll County Times)

Del. Haven Shoemaker, who represents Carroll County, also called Tasto a pillar of the community.

“He donated countless hours to the advancement of the [agricultural] fair that we have here in Carroll County every year,” he said. “And to the cause of agriculture generally.”

Shoemaker said he was a kind soul, a gentlemen “in the truest sense of the word” and someone who will be “terribly” missed. He said it’ hard to put into words how good of a man he was but said it’s a loss for Carroll County.

Dave Brauning, former Farm Bureau president, said he’s known Tasto for 70 years. They were in 4-H together when Brauning was a teenager. He said he remembers Tasto showing ayshire cattle at the county fair.

“But Nevin was always in farm equipment, specifically tractors and so forth,” he said.

Brauning recalled Tasto’s involvement in tractors and engine repairs. He also mentioned that it was Tasto who started the cake auction for the 4-H fair decades ago. He said he also supported the livestock auction and called him an honest auctioneer who never promoted himself and always stayed in the background.

“He’s going to be missed because he’s just a good ol’ country boy,” he said.

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