29 Apr Frederick Fry
- Fair Pioneer
On the evening of Friday July 18, Fred Fry of Dudley Corners/Sudlersville died peacefully at the Wilmington VA hospital, where he was recuperating from a fall suffered while getting into his truck. He was at the hospital rehabilitating his knee and preparing to be discharged when he developed unexpected cardiac complications.
Frederick A. Fry lived his life engaged in agriculture and professional driving. He was born on May 7, 1929 in Rockville, MD, the third of Edwin D. and Susan C. (Ransome) Fry’s five children. His family ran an active, progressive dairy farm in Laytonsville, MD, where Fred learned to value hard work, participated in 4-H and FFA, and became a founding member of the Montgomery County Fair. In 1947 Fred served as the Maryland State FFA President and attended the 4-H National Convention in Chicago as a state representative.
In order to take advantage of its agricultural curriculum, Fred attended Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring (Class of ’48). At Sherwood, he played on Montgomery County’s first high school football team. During each of his 4 years, Fred earned all-star honors as a tackle. The football programs at the Universities of Maryland, Missouri, and Oklahoma all recruited him, but by the time he graduated, Fred was making enough money in trucking and agriculture that he jumped into his career instead. One of Fred’s first trucking jobs involved hauling the stones used to build the WWII memorial that still stands outside the entrance to Sherwood High School.
After high school, Fred farmed in Mt. Airy, Maryland, as well as the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, while continuing to work as a truck driver. Between 1947 and 1967, he raised dairy cows, hogs, sheep and crops.
Fred’s professional driving career spanned from 1945 until 1989. He was very proud of his safety record (48 years of safe driving), as well as his tremendous list of material qualifications. Between 1968 and 1989, Fred drove for Matlack, a trucking company then known as the “pipeline on wheels.” He logged over 3.25 million miles without an accident. At Matlack, he specialized in hazardous chemicals and could haul anything the company carried. Fred was one of only two drivers in the United States who was licensed to haul igniter fuel, and he carried all the fuel used by NASA’s lunar landers.
Fred belonged to the Order of Freemasons, Ruritan, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. From 1996 to 2000, he served as Ruritan’s zone 6 governor (Delmarva-New Jersey). In the late 1980s, he served as Quartermaster for VFW Post 652 (Millington). In 1996, he served as Commander of American Legion Post 36 (Chestertown). He remained proud of his service in the US Army during the Korean War.
Fred’s passions for driving and meeting people lasted throughout his life. In retirement, he stayed on the move– mowing for the Queen Anne’s County parks system and serving as a driver for St Brigid’s Farm, where he delivered grass-fed beef to regional restaurants until the week before his death.
Fred is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lois Whitmore Fry, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.