One of NCTA's Past Presidents, Fred R. Strathmeyer, passed away on September 3, 2008 in his hometown of York, PA. Fred was one of the founding fathers of the National Christmas Tree Association along with other members from Pennsylvania. He was elected as Director of Pennsylvania to NCTA, served as Vice President and then as President of NCTA. His family assisted in founding the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Grower's Association where Fred served on the Board, the Executive Committee, and later as Executive Secretary for several years. Fred is one of only two individuals who is a life member of PCTGA. Strathmeyer performed his duties gaining respect for his fairness and his ability to bring cohesiveness among the members of the association.
Fred was born on November 20, 1923 in York, PA. He attended the Pennsylvania State University where his higher education was interrupted by World War II. He served our country as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps during the war. Upon completion of his service, he returned to Penn State and received a
Bachelor of Arts in Commerce and Finance.
Strathmeyer's indoctrination into the Christmas tree industry was through his family ties. His grandfather, Charles H. Strathmeyer, relied on wild evergreen trees, which were sold at the family owned grocery and meat store. Scarcity of seedling material prompted Fred's father, Charles W. Strathmeyer, to begin planting pine tree seed in 1932. Fred advanced his father's lead and established the company's modern nursery. Through his guidance, the Christmas tree division of Strathmeyer Forests, Inc. developed into an industry leader.
Fred's family was the cornerstone of his life. His wife, Hendrika proudly devoted her time to the business while partnering with Fred in raising five children. NCTA's biennial convention generally called for a family vacation. Some of the children's fondest memories of their father took place during these eventful "tree" vacations. One of his greatest accomplishments is the involvement of all five siblings in the family business.
A strong business belief that Strathmeyer taught his children was to always give to the industry in which you belong. He believed that when you gave to the industry that provided for you, it would come back tenfold. For those that knew Strathmeyer, he will be remembered as a fair man. This quality was most evident when faced with several volatile issues during his term as President of NCTA.
Besides his industry involvement, Strathmeyer took great interest in his community. He dedicated time to his church, was a Rotarian, served on local bank, college, and economic advisory boards. Fred was a life member of The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association (He proudly wore the blue and white of his alma mater whether attending football games, wrestling matches or other PSU athletic events.)
Theron Stone, a fellow NCTA member and close friend of Strathmeyer's will remember Fred for his honest, even temper and good humor. "He was extremely honest and very serious, and he had good times with his humor," Stone says. "He got along with everyone as far as I knew. He was very well liked."
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Hendrika, four sons and one daughter, and 14 grandchildren.