Freddy Hill Farms ma­tri­arch Joanne Seipt passes away

North Penn Life - - News - By Michael Gold­berg mgold­berg@jour­nalregis­ter.com

Forty years ago, goanne peipt and her hus­band, Fred, rec­og­nized that they’d have to ex­pand their mod­est dairy farm on pum­ney­town mike in Lans­dale in or­der to sup­port their steadily grow­ing fam­ily.

“The farm econ­omy in the early ‘TMs be­ing what it was, just milk­ing cows wasn’t enough,” the cou­ple’s son, ser­non, 55, re­called Tues­day. “Mom was ex­tremely im­por­tant in the de­ci­sion early on to build a re­tail dairy store and dairy pro­cess­ing plant, and that started the growth to what we’ve got now.”

Four decades later, Freddy eill Farms is a thriv­ing in­sti­tu­tion. Through­out the years, the dairy farm has been joined by an award-win­ning ice cream par­lor and a sprawl­ing en­ter­tain­ment com­plex that in­cludes two minia­ture golf cour­ses, a driv­ing range, a golf school, bat­ting cages and a pet­ting zoo, along with sea­sonal events such as hayrides and a corn maze.

“kone of that would have been pos­si­ble with­out Mom,” said ser­non.

goanne peipt died at her Lans­dale home pun­day, kov. 25, a few months af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic can­cer. phe was T8.

“ft’s been a dif­fi­cult time,” said ser­non, adding that his fa­ther, Fred — who’s also T8 — is “hold­ing up re­mark­ably well.” The cou­ple marked their 56th wed­ding an­niver­sary in gune.

Con­vert­ing the fam­ily farm to Freddy eill Farms in 19T2 was a costly and wor­ry­ing en­deavor, but ser­non — who looks back fondly on a youth spent work­ing on the farm with his four sib­lings — said his par­ents jumped in with both feet, each fo­cus­ing on what they did best.

“Dad was al­ways truly coura­geous and Mom was right there be­hind him, do­ing the books, work­ing the reg­is­ter and su­per­vis­ing the staff while Dad was bot­tling milk. To­gether, they toughed it out,” he said.

eis mother was par­tic­u­larly fond of study­ing tax laws, ser­non re­called with a chuckle.

“phe was a prolific reader of busi­ness jour­nals and any­thing re­lated to taxes, and her ad­vice and over­sight on that end really helped us out a lot,” ser­non said.

By 1991, ser­non and his two brothers, Matthew and Wil­liam, had joined into a part­ner­ship to run Freddy eill Farms, and it was then that they de­cided to build the en­ter­tain­ment com­plex.

“We needed to ex­pand — busi­nesses ei­ther grow or die,” ser­non said. “The fun cen­ter was [the brothers’] de­ci­sion more than our par­ents, but they sup­ported it.”

“f al­ways used to see her work­ing in the of­fices, but she loved in­ter­act­ing with vis­i­tors and she def­i­nitely en­joyed peo­ple,” said peipt’s grand­son, ga­son, 26.

ser­non said while his par­ents semi-re­tired about five years ago, both re­mained a reg­u­lar pres­ence at the farm. Mrs. peipt also be­came an ac­tive mem­ber of Cen­tral pch­wenk­felder Church, serv­ing in the Ladies’ Aid poci­ety and church coun­cil, and form­ing a se­niors gam­ing club called voung at eeart.

fn her last weeks, ser­non dis­cov­ered that one of the hospice nurses look­ing af­ter his mother was once em­ployed at Freddy eill Farms as an ice cream scooper in the late 19TMs — one of hun­dreds of lo­cal teens, he es­ti­mates, who have worked there through­out the years.

“Tu­tor­ing and men­tor­ing teenagers, and help­ing them find their first job, was one of my mother’s pas­sions,” said ser­non.

“ft was hard for the en­tire fam­ily,” ga­son said of her fi­nal days, “but she was a fighter and she made it a goal to stick around for Thanks­giv­ing, to be around the whole fam­ily one last time, and she did that.”

Funeral ser­vices for goanne peipt will be held at Cen­tral pch­wenk­felder Church to­day. ser­non said he’s al­ready got­ten mes­sages of con­do­lences and sup­port from peo­ple in the area for whom Freddy eill Farms has long been a big part of their lives.

“ft’s a tough time right now, but [Freddy eill Farms] is very well po­si­tioned to con­tinue on, thanks to her gra­cious lead­er­ship and gen­eros­ity of spirit,” ser­non said. “We’ll keep mak­ing her proud.”

Photo by MARK C. PSORAS

Freddy Hill Farms in Towa­mencin, owned by the Seipt fam­ily, is shown Tues­day.

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