Harold Sterling Fry
Age 98, of East Sparta, passed away Tuesday evening in his home. He was born in Canton on Sept. 13, 1915, a son of the late Sterling S. Fry and Eva (Carnes) Fry, and his stepmother, Ruth (Fisher) Fry. A native of East Sparta, he was a 1933 graduate of East Sparta High School. He was a graduate of Culver Summer Naval School at Culver Military Academy in 1932. Mr. Fry was a 1938 graduate of The Ohio State University where he received a BSBA Degree and a 2nd Lieutenants Commission in the U.S. Army. He was called to active duty in the U.S. Army Infantry on Jan. 29, 1941, approximately one year prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. During his tour of duty, he served over three years with the 158th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, better known as the "Bushmasters" in Panama and the Southwest Pacific, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, during which time he was promoted to the rank of Major. The Bushmasters were named after the most deadly snake in the tropical jungles of Panama. General MacArthur said, "No greater fighting combat team has ever deployed for battle." The Japanese were not quite so complimentary, calling them "The Butchers of the Pacific." Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Fry established the Harold S. Fry Agency, Inc. Mr. Fry operated under that name until Jan. 1, 1964 at which time the corporate name was amended to Insurance Services, Inc., and then merged with the Leonard Agency on Jan. 1, 1984. Mr. Fry served as President of both the Harold S. Fry Agency and Insurance Services until his retirement from the insurance business in 1977. He also was President of Fry Realty, Inc., which was formed to build the Fry Building on North Market Ave., in which his insurance offices were located until the building was sold and his offices were moved to Belden Village in 1975. Mr. Fry's father, Sterling S. Fry, was a founder and co-owner of The Sparta Ceramic Company in East Sparta, which later merged with the U.S. Ceramic Tile Co. to form Spartek Inc., making it one of the largest wall and floor tile manufacturers in the United States. Mr. Fry was appointed to the Board of Directors of Spartek Inc. in 1967, which he served until the company was sold in 1979. His other memberships included the East Sparta United Methodist Church, Isaac L. Kinney American Legion Post #244 in East Sparta, the 158th Infantry Bushmasters Association, Caldwell Lodge #330 F. & A.M. in Bolivar, the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Canton, Culver Alumni Association, and the Ohio Oil & Gas Association.
He was preceded in death by his wives, Vera L. (Bockus) Fry, on Nov. 7, 1963, and Melka "Billie" (Anderson) Fry, on Sept. 6, 1999, his brother, Capt. Richard E. Fry, a B-24 pilot, who was killed in action over Vienna Austria on Feb. 14, 1945, two sons, Richard H. Fry, former Director of Stark Parks, on Aug. 30, 1994, and Terry K. Fry, on Aug. 2, 2001, and his beloved dogs, Cheri, Buttons and Boze. Survived by two daughters, Kathryn A. McBride, of Navarre, and Marianne P. Hoover, of North Canton; nine grandchildren, Brian K. Fry, of Jacksonville, FL, Susan L. McBride, of Navarre, Kristen S. Swiger, of Kent, Ohio, Rebecca H. Thomas-Blair, of Dover, H. Aaron Fry, of Massillon, Melissa K. Edler, of Stow, Ohio, Chaundra L. Hoover, of Norwalk, Conn., Tracy K. Fry, of North Canton, and Richard H. Fry, of Canton; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. in the Finefrock-Gordon Funeral Home in Magnolia with Pastor Jeffrey L. Shultz officiating. Interment in East Sparta Cemetery with full Military Honors by Isaac L. Kinney American Legion Post #244. Friends may call Sun. 2-4 p.m. and Mon. 10-11 a.m. before the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Fry's memory may be made to East Sparta United Methodist Church, PO Box 445, East Sparta, OH 44626. Following the service at the cemetery, the family wishes to invite everyone to a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall of East Sparta United Methodist Church. Condolences may be made to:www.gordonfuneralhomes
Finefrock-Gordon Funeral Home, Inc.
266 North Main Street Magnolia, OH 44643
Published in The Times Reporter on Feb. 21, 2014