Morton S. Fry, 87, USAF vet, founded Frysville Farms, author, active at Bethany UCC

By on June 5, 2019

Morton S. Fry, 87, of Ephrata, passed away on Saturday June 1, 2019 after a lengthy illness.

Born in Ephrata on Oct. 17, 1931 he was the son of the late Miles W. and Babette (Ruppin) Fry. Mort was the loving husband of Rebecca ‘Beckie’ (Gill) Fry, with whom he celebrated 64 years of marriage.

He was a graduate of Ephrata High School, 1949 and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in agriculture. He served as an officer in the United States Air Force.

After service, Mort came home to farm dairy until 1970. He was the founder and president of Miles W. Fry and Son, Inc., a.k.a. Frysville Farms, where he operated a nursery and greenhouse until his passing. He pioneered the development and marketing of Hybrid Poplar trees, and wrote numerous articles and gave talks promoting energy independence using biomass.

He was president of the Association for the Support of Poplar for Energy and Nutrition, Member of the board of directors for the National Wood Energy Association, Pennsylvania Farmers Association, Pennsylvania Grange, International Society of Arboriculture, American Nurserymen Association, Pennsylvania Nurserymen Association, American Clean Water Association, North American Poplar Council, and Pennsylvania Flower Growers Association.

Mort was an active member of Bethany United Church of Christ where he served terms as a deacon, lead elder, consistory president and Bible school teacher. He served as chairman of the Church and Ministry Committee of the Lancaster Association of the United Church of Christ and as president of the Association of United Church of Christ. He was instrumental in Bethany UCC’s purchase of the property on which the Ephrata Manor was built.

Mort enjoyed antiques and was a member of the National Graniteware Society. He also enjoyed deep sea fishing, baking, and his family history about which he wrote a book, “The Ruppins of Rawitsch”

Mort is survived by his wife: Beckie; four children: Vincent V. (Caroline) Fry, Victoria L. Fry, Anthony D. (Denise) Fry, and M. Simon (Karen) Fry; a sister: Charlotte Poor of Peoria, Ill.; 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a brother: Jacob D. Fry; and a sister: Ida Ann Fish.

A viewing will be held Wednesday, June 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gravenor Home for Funerals, 100 W. Main St., Ephrata. Another viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 6, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m., at Bethany United Church of Christ, 140 E. Main St., Ephrata. Interment will be private at Bergstrasse Lutheran Cemetery, Ephrata.

Those who desire may make donations in Mort’s memory to Bethany United Church of Christ, 140 E. Main St., Ephrata, PA 17522.

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