After talking with this week's guest at his beautiful home, I realize that I had learned so much about religion, life and especially how to fix my Italian grandparents' Victrola. I was greeted by Simon, Daryl and Mary Helen Fry's spoiled, but debonair cat, a real handsome fella' who meandered to the table several times to check-out our conversation progression.

Daryl was born in Whitesville to Gregory and Edna Himes Fry, where he was raised on a farm with one brother, Herb. Daryl graduated from New Market High School in 1958 with 27 in his class. Upon graduation, he attended Purdue, earning an Ag - Econ degree, having the best of both worlds, yet he decided perhaps he wanted to be a minister. After a year and a half in the Christian Theological Seminary and a brief sojourn in the small town of Frankton (where my son lives which I mentioned, thinking Daryl had probably never heard of it), Daryl opted-out of ministry and went into agricultural financing thereafter, being with First National for three decades and in Frankfort for one when he retired and they decided to return home. "C'ville has a good, loving feeling."

Awhile earlier, at a Rural Youth meeting get-together for singles, Daryl eyed Mary Helen Todd. The beautiful smile, complete with dimples drew him to her, plus she was single! Her large, loving family drew him in, too, and so it was perfect timing and an equally perfect match for over 51 years now. Both Daryl and Mary Helen's families go a long way back in Montgomery County, names such as White, Himes, Moore, Patton, Paddack. Daryl said his Himes family lived at Britt's Orchard in the Ladoga area very early on.

Daryl is quite proud of their children: Kelly lives in New Market and is a trucker, married to Cristy and has two children. Jennifer and her husband, Mark Krekeler, living in Ohio are both geologists with Mark teaching college. Daryl credited, Mr. Patrick, Southmont teacher with influencing her decision. The Krekeler's have a son, Ethan. Ann is married to Ryan Wantz. She is a Chef and he is a travelling consultant for Sieman's. They have two sons, Jack and Patrick. He said they visit the children some but they don't really "travel." That's work! They prefer to go to Hilton Head once a year, walk on the beach, read and relax. Reading is a big pastime for both Mary Helen and Daryl. They seldom watch television, preferring snuggling up with their Kindles. Daryl reads the Bible, novels, biographies (especially about heroes of the World Wars) and is perusing three or so books at a time. "Just push a button and it's there!" He was recently disappointed that there was no biography for Henry S. Lane that he could find, since he had read all about Lew Wallace.

Active members of the First Christian Church, Daryl noted that he loves the place because it is, "local folks, owning and operating it." Some of their volunteer work is church-related and other parts community-oriented. Working with the Food Pantry, there were recently 40 volunteers to distribute food. Daryl remarked, "No one in Montgomery County should be hungry." Many get $7-800 a month in government food stamps and thousands of dollars are donated to help others. Particularly, Daryl enjoys the FISH program where Mary Helen volunteers and he does financial work with those needing help. He enjoys this because so many people, local churches (20 some) and businesses donate so there is no need for an annual fund raiser. "There are truly some sad cases," Daryl noted, "sometimes having up to 20 people asking for help at one time." He is thankful also that the clothing closet is well used.

Throughout many years, Daryl has enjoyed Kiwanis. Although active for many years here as well as when they lived in Frankfort, when Daryl retired he was just too busy building and repairing homes. Mary Helen worked for Town and Country as well as in a Mental Health Hospital in Noblesville, but she definitely kept busy raising the children and coordinating in the remodeling and building of their houses. His talents certainly showed in their gorgeous home I was privileged to visit.

Speaking of building and repairing, Daryl is quite a woodworker and belongs to the Montgomery County Woodworkers group. Members enjoy getting together and showing what they've been working on since the last meeting. As I walked through the house, I noticed the beautiful computer center. Daryl built it. He showed me a stunning china cabinet in the dining room (I took two pictures of him by it and neither was good - sorry, D - I was disappointed) that he had built and Mary Helen had etched the glass fronts. Absolutely gorgeous on both their parts! Fixing is just as much fun to Daryl. He once repaired the support legs of a round, oak table and it was good as new. The challenge, smell of the wood and replacing broken pieces is what brings him back for more. A little complaining on my part that hubby Jim can fix things, but doesn't seem to get any done brought an answer that made much sense. "If you don't enjoy woodworking, then that's just what it is, work!" Daryl also says that he sometimes makes someone something and surprises 'em with a Gift of Love.

Lastly, we discussed another joy of Daryl's. He walks at least a mile about five times a week, telling me (listen up, Dr. T) that a person is responsible for their own health and lives. Exercise, good food and take your personal responsibility should be taken seriously. Daryl looks and feels great and I had a grand time catching up with him and featuring this fine man in this week's ATC!



Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, a publication of Sagamore News Media, and she contributes a weekly column to The Paper of Montgomery, which is also owned by Sagamore News Media.