Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Senior Farmer Jack Fry and his wife Elsie, seated center, gather with family for a photo.
Family and friends gathered last Thursday evening to celebrate Senior Farmer of the year John “Jack” Fry and his wife the former Elsie Haight. The dinner, hosted by Madera District Chamber of Commerce, took place in the St. Andrew’s Ballroom at the Madera Municipal Golf Course.
The 92-year-old Fry and his family are five generations of growers, all in Chowchilla. The 250- acre property is presently operated by son Thomas and his son Thomas Fry, Jr. Through the years, the Fry family has grown chickens, turkeys, almonds, corn, wheat and cotton. On their property are a 65-year-old grapevine and avocado, fig and citrus trees.
Married for 70 years, Jack and Elsie Fry reared three children: Stephen Fry, Penny Robinson and Thomas Fry. They lost their son Stephen to a stroke 21 years ago.
Fellow chicken farmer and 2016 Senior Farmer John Yakligian introduced Fry and spoke fondly of their years of friendship.
At the dinner, they were feted by their hometown Mayor John Chavez, Madera County Supervisors Robert Poythress and David Rogers, along with members of the Chowchilla District Chamber of Commerce, where he has been a member for more than 50 years.
An active member of the Chowchilla Lions Club for 60 years he has also served on the board of the California Fish and Game for 42 years.
“We are stewards of the land,” Fry said. “Conservation and efficient farming methods must be employed to protect the land for future generations.”
The Madera Chamber expressed its appreciation for its sponsors including Cedar Creek Senior Living, Citizens Business Bank, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Jay Chapel, North Fork Rancheria, Franklin and Elaine Secara Memorial and The Madera Tribune.
The evening ended with Fry leading the assembled in the uplifting congregational singing of “God Bless America.”