A service of thanksgiving will be held at 2.30pm on Thursday 28 August to celebrate the life of Alan Ernest Doe at Ernest Doe & Sons, Ulting, Maldon, Essex CM9 6QH. All are welcome.

Mr Doe, who was chairman of the Maldon-based agricultural machinery dealership, died suddenly on Saturday 26 July at the age of 85. He was the grandson of the company’s founder, Ernest Doe, and still attended the company’s offices five days a week.

He took a prominent role with his father in the late 1950s and 1960s in the development and production of the Doe Dual Drive (Triple D) tractor which brought a high-horsepower four-wheel drive tractor to East Anglian customers and to farmers worldwide.

In 1957, when Mr Doe was 28 years old, he and his father had to decide whether to either sell Massey Harris and Ferguson products or those of Ford. The decision was made to align the company solely with Ford, a relationship which continues through the New Holland and Case IH products of CNH.

See also: Classic tractors at Blue Force demo

In February 1960, the first Doe Show was held with Alan Doe putting in place all the foundations of the show which is now a well attended annual event and the most important three days in the company’s trading year.

Under Mr Doe’s leadership, Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd diversified in the 1950s and 60s into supplying construction and groundcare equipment, and later, with his son Colin, further increased the company’s branch network.

The company now employs over 500 people, trades from 19 locations across the whole of East Anglia, Kent, Surrey and Sussex and has a turnover of £115m.

Mr Doe is survived by his wife Jill, children Diana, Colin and Marian, and seven grandchildren.