← Go back
The 3rd annual induction ceremony for the Peterborough County Agricultural Wall of Fame is being held at Lang Pioneer Village on Sunday, August 27th at 2 p.m.. The purpose of the Agricultural Wall of Fame is to recognize those who have made an outstanding contribution to the agricultural industry. Four individuals and one couple will be inducted who have excelled in the agriculture/agri-food industry, who span from 1872 and continue to the present. Inductees are: Norman Blodgett, R. H. (Dick) Graham, George A. Gillespie, Norman Walter McConkey, and David and Cora Whittington.
NORMAN BLODGETT (1931 - )
Norm’s career, which started in the 50’s, centred mainly in providing service to Peterborough County farmers (and, in fact, many farmers outside the county), in the farm machinery, dairy equipment and insurance fields. He was probably best known as the owner of Darling Insurance - a business still operating under the guidance of his son Peter. His positive attitude, expert leadership, and sense of fairness have been evident to everyone he came in contact with, including 4-H members, Junior Farmers, his church family, and his many clients both in Peterborough County and beyond. His most recent accomplishments include chairing the “Hay West” campaign in 2002 and chairing the Peterborough County Committee (2003-2006) looking after the International Plowing Match (IPM) held just outside Keene. Nominated by Jim and Marg Glenn, Glen Isle Farms Inc.
As part of Habitat’s Youth Program (HYP), Youth Build Days on the Warsaw site served as a valuable opportunity for volunteers ages 16 to 25 to actively participate in the experience of helping to build the Clark-Bandi family’s home. Youth from the YES Shelter and its Carriage House high school spent time on-site working alongside Josh and Natasha- an experience that was especially inspiring for youth currently using shelter services to see that homeownership is within their reach. Volunteers from Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations were also engaged in the home building process, providing youth with knowledge and tools to become part of the solution in building a stronger community.
“We are thrilled to be completing another home in Peterborough County! None of this would have been possible without the numerous dedicated volunteers, donors and the generous support of Douro-Dummer Township. Today is really about community members welcoming a new family into their neighborhood. Homeownership, once only a distant dream, is now a reality for Josh, Natasha and their girls.” says Sarah Burke, CEO of HFHPKR.
Major partners who contributed significant funds and/or material donations toward the completion of the home include: Home Building Partner- Alf Curtis Home Improvements, Habitat Youth Program Premier Partner- Rotary Club of Peterborough, the Kelly-Phillips Family Fund- a donor advised fund held within the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Home Depot Canada Foundation, RBC Foundation and Genworth Canada.
Numerous local businesses and tradespeople provided gift-in-kind contributions to the Warsaw home. A project planning team, consisting of dedicated community members, was responsible for a generous portion of fundraising at the local level, volunteer recruitment, awareness building and special event organization.
GEORGE A. GILLESPIE (1872-1956)
Born in Otonabee township, George Gillespie was a pioneer in the Peterborough retail milk industry and instrumental in promoting cleanliness and colour in the marketing of milk. He apprenticed as a cheese maker, eventually opening a store to sell cheese making supplies. His dairy, Peterborough Pure Milk Products was Peterborough’s first ice cream and pasteurized milk plant and while undergoing various name changes over the years he served as general manager for 32 years.
In serving his community he was MPP, President of the Chamber of Commerce, City Councilor and Secretary Manager of the Peterborough Exhibition as well as other local boards and associations. Of special note, he was made a Member of the British Empire in 1946 for his service to King and country. Nominated by George A. Gllespie
R. H. (DICK) GRAHAM (1903 - 1979)
R.H. (Dick) Graham was hired as the first Livestock Specialist with the Department of Agriculture in 1931. He thus provided province wide leadership for a wide range of livestock improvement programs and so criss-crossed the province time after time promoting better livestock practices. He claimed to have worked in virtually every township in southern Ontario. One program alone, tuberculosis eradication saw him address 440 meetings in support of a petition which gained an 88% yes vote. He and the Livestock Branch spearheaded the development of artificial insemination, beef bull premiums, beef and swine performance testing, the Dairy Herd Improvement Associations and the Northern Stocker Sales Associations. Dick Graham was Livestock Commissioner 1961-1965 and a director of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Nominated by Garnet Graham.
NORMAN WALTER MCCONKEY (1903 - 1956)
Norman McConkey was a very active, committed and innovative contributor to agriculture and agri-business in Peterborough County. He owned Lifloc dairy farms in Otonabee Township where he developed a Master Breeder herd of Holsteins consisting of 2 World Champion milk and butterfat producing cows. A herd of Guernseys was established too and he bred flocks of Southdown and Hampshire sheep. He carried on a successful retail milk production and house-to-house milk delivery business in Peterborough. He had many firsts in the county: as a farmer by acquiring a hay baler, a combine-reaper, use of artificial insemination, host of Holstein Twilite meeting and in business by introducing homogenized milk to the local community. He was an exhibitor, respected dairy cattle judge and advisor. He served on St. Joseph’s Hospital board, Township Council, Holstein club and Peterborough Exhibition Board. He was a member of many provincial agricultural organizations and a national Holstein director. Nominated by Rosemary A. McConkey and Peter E. McConkey.
DAVID (1949 - ) AND CORA (1953 - ) WHITTINGTON
David and Cora Whittington are outstanding farm and rural leaders and promoters of farm and rural initiatives. Both are sought after as speakers and workshop presenters throughout Ontario and beyond. They have hosted many meetings, farm tours and visiting dignitaries, demonstrating a productive and efficient beef farm. They have been Peterborough County Farm Family of the Year, and were provincial runners up in the Outstanding Young Farmer Award program. David has many show ring championships and was on the winning Royal Winter Fair judging Team. David has chaired several county farm organizations and is a Past President of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association. Cora’s expertise is in leadership training, economic development, strategic planning, facilitation and life coaching. She has presented workshops and spoken to many groups throughout Ontario. Nominated by Helena Whittington, Janette Stewart and Daryl Whittington.