Inducted: October 30, 1991
Fenton Cryderman fought for the right of farmers to control what they buy and sell, a life mission that has brought him into a close and productive association with the co-operative movement and with farm marketing boards.
His early years gave no indication of what his future career would be. After attending S.S. No. l0, Camden Township and Thamesville Continuation School, he went to Detroit where he helped Frank Smith build houses as a 60-cent-an-hour carpenter. In the winter, he worked for the Buchanan and Huff Coal Company.
Mr. Cryderman and the former Helen Snary were married in October, 1929, just as the stock market crash plunged the nation into the great Depression. There was no work, and in the fall of 1931, the Crydermans returned to Canada. The following spring they rented a 50-acre farm on Concession 12, Camden Township and moved into a house without electricity or modern conveniences. That fall, Mr. Cryderman sold seven big pigs for $49, barely enough to cover expenses. He worked at other jobs for 20 cents an hour.
Mr. Cryderman bought a 50-acre farm for $2,200, with no down payment, across the road from the rented property, and another 50 acres in the fall of 1937.
His father, John Cryderman died, and in 1946, Fenton was elected to fill his place on the Ontario White Bean Marketing Board. He served as a Director for 20 years and as Chairman for four years. Mr. Cryderman also served as a Director of the Ontario Hog Producers' Marketing Board through some of its most difficult times.
Mr. Cryderman was first elected Director of the Thamesville District Co-operative in 1949, and later served as its President and Secretary. His election to the Board of Directors of the United Co-operatives of Ontario in 1961 brought many new challenges and opportunities. He served on the Board for l5 years and was President from 1967-1968.
In 1963, he was appointed from the U.C.O. to Co-operators Insurance, where he was a Director for 12 years and President from 1971-1973. He served on the Co-operators Union of Canada for several years, and was chosen to act on the Canadian Council of Rural Development (C.C.R.D.), an advisory group to government representing 30 farm organizations.
Mr. Cryderman was a delegate to the International Co-operative Alliance convention in Hamburg in 1969, and visited co-operatives in most European countries. As the President of the Co-operators Insurance, he went to Warsaw, Poland in 1973.
These national and global commitments have not detracted from his community work. His unbroken record of service on the Board of Croton United Church dates back to 1934; and he was elected to the local school board in 1935, serving as a trustee and secretary through to the inception of county school boards in 1969.
Mr. Cryderman was President of the Florence Agricultural Society when fall fairs flourished. He is a long-term active member of the Mayhew-Mount Pleasant Cemetery Board and he is currently serving as Treasurer of the Fairfield Museum Board.
Two daughters were born to the Crydermans, Mary Helen Garvie who lives in Bright's Grove and the late Virginia Scarrow.
A neighbour described him as "a man who helps everyone who needs help." Another saw him as a fighter who often said, "You have to fight fire with fire."
Added to these was a simple tribute, "Fent has always had a quality of total integrity."