Edwin Fry

Edwin Fry

Edwin C. "Pop" Fry, a longtime Kent County farmer who was active in agricultural affairs, died June 1 of pulmonary disease at Washington Hospital Center in Washington. He was 88.

The son of farmers, Mr. Fry was born in Washington and raised in Laytonsville. After graduating from Gaithersburg High School in 1942, he worked with his father on the family farm.

In 1945, he married the former Lorraine Miller, and in 1960, the couple moved to Fair Hill Farm in Chestertown.

"The farm is 2,000 acres and he always had registered Holstein and Brown Swiss cattle," said a son, Edwin R. Fry of Chestertown, who now operates Fair Hill Farm. "We also grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa."

Long active with Future Farmers of America where he mentored young farmers, Mr. Fry was also recognized as an American Star Farmer and helped to establish the Montgomery County Agricultural Center.

He had also been a director of the National Holstein Association, and had pioneered new technologies in partnership with the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, and promoted agriculture internationally with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.

Mr. Fry quickly embraced new farming technology and in a 1958 news story was lauded for using University of Maryland Extension Service production records to evaluate dairy herd performance.

During the 1960s, he worked with the Maryland Game and Inland Fish Commission to fence cattle out of the farm pond to protect water quality, and in the 1970s, was one of the first in Kent County to clear seed alfalfa and to use no-till farming.

His innovative farming methods earned him a 1976 Certificate of Merit Award in Agriculture that was presented by the University of Maryland Board of Regents. In 1984, he was inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine because of his influence on the dairy industry both in the state and across the nation.

Mr. Fry was also a longtime board member of the Maryland State Fair and Chestertown Bank of Maryland, and was an active member of the Rotary in Chestertown.

Even though he had retired to the Heron Point Retirement Community in Chestertown about seven years ago, he was the only resident of the retirement community who was still going to "work," at his Fair Hill Farm office every day, family members said.

"He'd be the first one there every morning. He'd arrive at 5:45 a.m. carrying three cups of coffee. One for himself, me and my son," said Mr. Fry. "He was the only person at the retirement community who wasn't retired."

In his younger years, he enjoyed hunting.

Mr. Fry was an active member of the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown, 905 Gateway Drive, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. June 30.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Fry is survived by two other sons, Dr. Robert Fry and Kenneth Fry, both of Chestertown; a daughter, Joan Cummings of Bay City, Mich.; a brother, Frederick Fry of Sudlersville; a sister, Margery F. Grace of Trumansburg, N.Y.; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com