Home News Announcement of the Passing of Past FCFB President Norman Fries

Announcement of the Passing of Past FCFB President Norman Fries

Norman Fries

Fresno, Calif., (February 7, 2018) – On Wednesday, January 24, FCFB lost one of its past leaders and advocates, Norman Fries, at the age of 99. Fries served as FCFB president from 1963-1968 and was an active member on both the Raisin City School Board and the Mid Valley Fire Protection District Board.

Born on August 30, 1918, Norman was a second-generation farmer in the Raisin City area whose passion for agriculture went far beyond his own farming operation. During Fries’ tenure, he witnessed several movements that would shape the future of agriculture. From the Williamson Act and San Luis Reservoir construction, to the start of farmworker unionization and President Johnson’s war on poverty, Fries witnessed and participated in the evolution of agriculture.

In an excerpt from a past interview with former FCFB Director of Public Relations Liz Hudson, Norman recalled the progress of agriculture:

“We moved from horses to a two-row cultivator, then to a four-row and eventually a six-row. In 1949, I bought my first cotton picker – a one-row version. Now they have six-row pickers,” recalls Fries. “We also used to level land with stakes; now they use lasers,” he said, adding the advancements made in irrigation and computers. Jackrabbit drives were commonplace in years past, and much of the land west of Raisin City was “prairie land” back then,” said Fries.

“With what I’ve seen in the last 70 years, I don’t see how much more can change. But, it will,” said Fries.

Norman was married to his wife, Alice, for 56 years; and to his second wife, Ellenore, for six. Both of them preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his son-in-law, Hans Smith. Norman is survived by his daughter, Janet Smith; son, Ralph Fries and his wife, Narda; grandsons, Chris Smith and his wife, Courtney; and Esben Smith and his wife, Susanna; and granddaughter, Yvette Helberg and her husband, Phillip. He also leaves behind five great-grandchildren: Jared, Jacob, Esben, Nolan, and Isla.

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