Elon Jack "E.J." Potter
April 24, 1941-April 30, 2012
Elon Jack "E.J." Potter, age 71, of Ithaca, MI, passed away Monday, April 30, 2012, at Rosewood Adult Foster Care, Gratiot County, MI.
A Memorial Service will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes Ithaca Chapel Ithaca, MI on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 3 p.m., with Pastor Tom Huff officiating. Visitation will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday, May 6, 2012 from 2 p.m. until the time of service, at the funeral home.
Elon was born in Alma, Michigan on April 24, 1941, the son of Howard and Sheila (Huxley) Potter. E.J. graduated from Ithaca High School with the class of 1959.
With his extremely vast knowledge and love of machinery, E.J. could be described as a self-made mechanical engineer. A true machine innovator, inventor, and racing legend, E.J. was probably best known, across this country and abroad, for his series of home made Chevy V-8 drag bikes. As an exhibitionist drag strip performer, he was commonly known as the "MICHIGAN MADMAN", during the rise of his career in the 1960's and into the early 1970's. It was at that time, he made several historic runs on his bikes, which he called "Widowmaker" and "Bloody Mary". E.J. became a record setter with his machines, including a 1973 entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Following his drag racing adventures, he then became involved in the tractor pulling arena. Here, he soon became a leader in the sport, with his talents and abilities and love for the Allison aircraft engine. Many others came to him for advice, maintenance, repairs and sales of their aircraft tractor engines and jet engines. He won countless awards for his successful runs, including "World Champion" title two years in a row. E.J. was self taught in all areas of interest, with a constant desire to learn more. His favorite way to learn was usually trial and error. In later years, he further developed and marketed his earlier creation, the snow melter machine, which he named "Michigan Melters". E.J. was inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, for holding his many racing and tractor pulling records.
He is survived by son, Jack and Deborah Potter of Howell, MI; daughter, Alison (Potter) and David Tiihonen of Howell, MI; grandchildren, William, Jennifer, Jacob, and Emily; and three sisters.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Rosewood Adult Foster Care. Online condolences can be sent to www.smithfamilyfuneralhomes.com
The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes Ithaca Chapel Ithaca, Michigan.
Published by The Morning Sun from May 2 to May 3, 2012.