Inducted: October 31, 2007
The leadership and determination that enabled him to live an exemplary life were evident at an early age. He was the seventh of the eight children of William and Jessie Archibald, brought up on a Huron County farm in Tuckersmith Township. It was a hard-working family, with a respect for education inspired by a father who was Secretary-Treasurer of the S.S. 5, Tuckersmith School (Sproat’s) Board for a quarter century.
Frank was paid 10 cents a day to light the fire in the school furnace with the maple and beech firewood he supplied. His first job was at Sproat’s Tile Yard, where he worked from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M., six days a week, with an hour off for lunch. Firing the kiln at night, at no additional pay, was part of his responsibility.
Frank worked for a year after High School to earn the money to attend Ontario Agricultural College, at Guelph, where he graduated in June, 1939 in Animal Husbandry. His College career was marked by achievement, scholastically and athletically. He was a member of the Dominion Champion Intermediate Soccer Team in 1937, going on to the Senior Soccer Team and Senior Boxing Team. He excelled at Stock Judging, Horse Judging and Dairy Shows; and was a member of the Dominion Champion 1939 Debating Team. Frank was Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman in 1937, 1938 and 1939 of College Royal.
Frank’s first job after graduation was with Toronto Elevators as a salesman for Master Feeds. World War II intervened, and an unsuccessful attempt to sign up as a fighter pilot with the RCAF was followed by his enlistment in the Infantry, his transfer to Artillery, Officer’s Training at Brockville and his Commission as a Lieutenant. He met Florence Blyth who nursed him while he was in hospital in late 1940. Typical of the war years, their courtship was brief. They were married in Guelph on May 24th, 1941, with the reception on the Blyth family farm.
Five months later, Frank went overseas, serving first in England, and then saw action in Italy and Northern France. He was awarded the Military Cross for heroic action in Italy on May 21st, 1944; and it was presented to him by King George VI at Buckingham Palace four months later.
Frank returned to Canada and to Master Feeds on demobilization in 1945, and became part of the Kent community when Master Feeds bought Kent Mills late in 1946, with Frank as its Manager.
At that time, it was a small elevator serving a few hundred farmers. In 1952, Toronto Elevators bought St. Clair Grain and Feed Limited, head office in Chatham and elevators in Merlin and Tilbury, and Frank was appointed General Manager. Elevators were located at Belton, Newbury, Springford and Staples; with Fertilizer blending operations in Merlin, Newbury and Wallaceburg. Frank had the additional responsibility for Sarnia Elevators, located on the St. Clair River in Sarnia.
When Frank retired 34 years later, it had expanded to 18 locations, serving from 10,000 – 15,000 farmers in Essex, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex and Elgin Counties. From a feed operation, it grew to elevators with retail services and with terminals for export by ship. Frank had also been responsible for the development of markets for specialty crops.
One of Frank’s major accomplishments was the introduction of anhydrous ammonia to Southwestern Ontario in 1953. With typical diligence and commitment, he personally supervised its early use because of some concerns. From that cautious beginning, the economy implicit in anhydrous ammonia made it a popular choice, and by 1970 it was used on approximately 750,000 acres.
Inevitably, Frank’s abilities made him a leader in industrial organizations. He was President of the Ontario Grain and Feed Dealers Association; President of the Ontario Fertilizer Institute, and a Director of
the Canadian Fertilizer Institute in 1976-77; a Director of the U.S.A. Agricultural Institute and of the Ontario Elevator Association.
Frank’s community involvement has been impressive. He was a member and President of Chatham Kinsmen Club; Member and President of Chatham Rotary Club; and a Paul Harris Fellow; President of Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce, and Agriculturist of the Year in 1982; President of the Chatham Ad and Sales Club; a Board Member of Chatham YMCA; Past Director of Chatham Community Chest (United Appeal), and a Chairman in 1959. He has served as Church Warden and Lay Delegate to the Huron Synod at Christ Anglican Church, and since retirement, has been involved with a group of retirees beautifying the church grounds.
His wife, the former Florence Blyth, died December 15th, 2002. The Archibald family included three children: Blyth (Wendy Middleton), children Jennifer, Jana and Heather; Mary (George Crothers), children George, Julie and Kelly; and Frank (Ellizabeth Palatics), children Joanne, Adrienne and Craig.
Frank has had the happy knack of making and keeping friends. His friends describe him as a “dynamic individual, widely recognized for his leadership and his contributions to agriculture.”
“He does things enthusiastically, and he does them well."