Freddy Hill Farms matriarch Joanne Seipt passes away
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.”
Freddy Hill Farms in Towamencin, owned by the Seipt family, is shown Tuesday.