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 Andrew Fugit Fry

Andrew Fugit Fry

Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA
Death 26 Nov 1982 (aged 85)
Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA
Burial Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA
Plot Section E - Lot 338 - Space 1
Memorial ID 100043537 · View Source
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Emporia Gazette, Friday, November 26, 1982; p. 2

Andrew F. Fry

A retired Santa Fe employee, Andrew F. Fry, 727 Constitution St., died this morning at Newman Hospital, where he was taken after being stricken at his home.

Emporia Gazette, Saturday, November 27, 1982; p. 2

Andrew F. Fry

The funeral for Andrew F. Fry, 727 Constitution St., will be held Tuesday at the Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, with the Rev. Paul Iwig of Madison United Methodist Church in charge. A graveside service in Memorial Lawn Cemetery will be conducted by members of Emporia Lodge 12, A.F. and A.M.

Suggested memorials for the Flint Hills Chapter of the American Heart Association may be sent in care of the funeral home.

Mr. Fry, a retired Santa Fe Railway ticket clerk, died Friday at Newman Hospital. He lived in Emporia all his life and was an active member of Masonic bodies most of his life. He retired from the Santa Fe in 1967 after 52 years with the railroad.

The son of Alvin Henry and Martha Jane Fugit Fry, he was born Dec. 27, 1896, in Emporia, and married Esther Breed here on June 16, 1921. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. He served in the U.S. Army during Word War I and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7957, American Legion Post 5 and Barracks 1111 of World War I Veterans. Mr. Fry's Masonic affiliations included Emporia Lodge 12, of which he was a member for more than 50 years, and York Rite Bodies, the Arab Shrine of Topeka, the Order of Knights Templar Commandery and the Order of Red Cross of Constantine. He was a member of the Knights Templar drill team for many years.

Survivors include three sons, Robert H. Fry of Madison, Laurel D. Fry of Endwell, N.Y., and Richard A. Fry of Plano, Tex.; two daughters, Dorothy Parson, 40 South Sylvan St., and Jeanette Armstrong of Lawrence; one sister, Marguerite Brander of Ames, Iowa; 12 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Mrs. Fry died Feb. 1, 1982. Four sisters and three brothers also died earlier.

Mr. Fry was selected as The Gazette's Man of the Week on Dec. 31, 1960, as he was beginning his sixth term as secretary or recorder of five Masonic organizations and "becoming known as 'Mr. Mason' in Emporia. He also was the treasurer at that time of the Company L, 37th Infantry Association, which was to have a reunion in Emporia on New Year's Day, 1961.

Emporia's Company L: Andrew F. Fry
By Jan Huston Special to The Gazette Nov 4, 2017

Editor's note: Local historian Jan Huston has written a series of articles about Emporians who served in Company L during World War II. Their histories were collected in the 1970s by the late Steve Hanschu.

Of the five men interviewed in the late 1970s about their World War I service, Andrew Fry's descriptions were significant because he elaborated on the true discomforts and distresses of the war. Fry was born in Emporia, attended Emporia schools and worked in the ticket office for the Santa Fe Railroad his entire 47 1/2-year career. But for his time in Europe during World War I, Fry was a life-long Emporian.

Surprisingly, Fry enlisted in Company L of the Kansas National Guard before he graduated from high school. Like many young men in those days, he did not begin grade school until he was almost 7 years old, so he was almost 20 when he graduated. He was 18 when he enlisted in September of 1915 and had already been working summers for the railroad in 1913, 1914 and 1915. He was called into service along the Mexican border in June of 1916 after his graduation in January.

When asked why he enlisted, Fry admitted that it seemed like the other guys in Company L were having a good time, so he just went up and enlisted. He had not kept track of what was going on along the border or over in Europe. In his opinion, nobody thought the United States would get into the World War.

His training before going to the border consisted of drilling, practicing squads right and left and how to take care of his rifle. Most of the drilling took place on the streets or at the old gymnasium on the college campus. When asked if he was anxious about going to the border, he admitted that “a soldier always want to go someplace else than where they are. He's never satisfied being one place at a time very long.”

He served at the Mexican border under 1st Lieutenant Arthur Ericsson guarding the American side of the Rio Grande. His group was detached down the river to a big ranch. They were on outpost duty, but then one of their men drowned. They weren't supposed to go to the Rio Grande, but their camp was only about three-fourths of a mile from the river, so they'd sometimes slip over to swim. Fry never recounted whether they found the body or not, but they weren't doing any more swimming in the Rio Grande.

Chances are, the Chief of Staff (there was no Pentagon at that time) figured it would be a good time to start training the American army since he could see World War I coming on in the summer of 1916. Fry and other groups of national guardsmen were down along the border for about six months, when it was decided that “they weren't doing any good down there” and pressure was put on the Chief to get them back into school. When Fry returned, he went right back to work for the railroad.

The following spring, war was declared and the military started building up companies all over the United States. If you joined the National Guard, you wouldn't be drafted, he explained. By August, when they were activated, Company L had over 150 members. Camp Heritage was established on the west side of the golf course at the country club. Fry said it was just pasture with a barbed wire fence. There were even cows in the pasture.

When they first set up camp, there were only about 8 or 10 tents which accommodated about half of the company. Those who lived in town went home in the evening. But some of the boys got into mischief in town, so soon they made everyone sleep out at Camp Heritage in a long string of pup tents, two to a tent. “Wasn't so bad until it rained,” he claimed.

When asked what camp life was like, he said he spent a lot of time getting shots: shots for malaria, shots for everything. They “took things light” right after receiving their inoculations, but pretty soon they began drilling: squads east, squads west. Unfortunately, at Camp Heritage another man, a corporal, drowned, this time in the country club lake. That put an end to swimming.

In September, they were sent to Camp Doniphan in Oklahoma near Ft. Sill. There they received their equipment and drilled in a great big drill field. They also had bayonet practice and rifle practice at the rifle range. Days began with reveille at 5 a.m. followed by breakfast and then drilling. During the winter and spring they also ran a mile with their packs on before breakfast. Soon they were in very good shape.

The nearest town was Lawton and it was always jammed with men so there wasn't much entertainment. But he never wished he was back home. He was anxious to get “over there” and beat the enemy. From Oklahoma, they went to Hoboken and from there to Camp Mills on Long Island for a week or ten days. Mostly they waded around in water on Long Island as it was raining all the time. They had cots, but some of the men even had water up on their cots. He presumed that the area must have been a swamp at one time. With a little opportunity to go into New York City, Fry had the chance to see Houdini. They put him in a trunk and locked him up, Fry said, but even after they dropped him in a tank of water, he came out.

Fry explained their monetary situation. The men were getting about $33 a month. Their insurance came out of that. The United States government insured every soldier for $10,000 and each man had to designate a beneficiary “in case you got knocked off,” he said.

In April, they finally shipped out to Europe. His ship, the Baltic, was a terrible ship, packed to the gills with men. Everybody got sick. Fish was served with intestines still atached; rabbits meat still had fur on it. The air was foul and troops ate on tables below the ill men sleeping hammocks. Miserable!

According to Fry, they landed and were transported to Southhampton, England, then across to Le Harve, France, in early May. From there they rode a train up the coast to Allenay where they stayed for about a month. They were reserves for the English on the Somme front. English rations were a pound loaf of bread which was supposed to feed eight men for 24 hours. They cut it into eight pieces and each man tried to make it last. People were stealing bread if it was left unguarded.

Finally, they moved south to Alsace where they went into the trenches under American command. They were primarily on guard duty. At night, about half of the men were lined up to ensure that no one would try to come over the top. The next night they alternated with a second group.

This first trench that they were posted to was dry and well-maintained (but he did get cooties!). After 30 days they were pulled back. It wasn't until the latter part of September when Fry first saw action. They were moved to another set of trenches farther north. He was in the St. Mihiel sector in reserve before the action really started and they were moved up toward the Argonne. For about a week before the attack, they carried shells, great big old 75 pound shells all night from the railhead, through the woods to the front. Company L was still all together through this point.

Action in the Argonne started on the 26th of September. They moved forward sweeping with two platoons in the lead and two platoons behind. They pushed the Germans back as far as they could and then they moved back a little so the engineers could come in and dig.

“The main thing,” Fry said, “was to try to keep from getting shot. But our big difficulty was we moved along too fast and the division to our left didn't move as fast as we did and the German artillery to our left, behind us, was shooting at us from behind. They caused a lot of casualties, those German batteries shooting behind us.”

He remembered big shells, big battery shells all the way around. When asked if he knew that the Allies were going to win at that time after they had been in actual fighting, he said that everyone seemed to think the Germans couldn't hold on much longer, but they had no way of getting much news — no radios.

After they had their September replacements, they went back on the lines again in the Somme d'eau sector, near Verdun. These trenches stayed filled with water and troops were issued hip boots because water was knee deep or better all the time. Two or three weeks later they were sent to take Metz on Nov. 14. Luckily, the Armistice was signed on Nov. 11 and there was to be no more marching nights and sleeping in the brush during the daytime, getting lost and suffering the miseries of mud and cold.

Fry's unit didn't start home until April, a good-sized company going home together on the USS Manchuria, a much better ship than they had gone over on.

Fry's group was shipped to Ft. Riley and discharged from there. His discharge date was May 10, 1919, and he was glad to be home and go back to work on the railroad. Sixty years later in an interview with Steve Hanschu he mused on the reality that it had been so many years since his youthful spontaneous enlistment. “I think the good times offset the bad times,” he said as he summarized. Andrew Fry passed away five years after this interview on Nov. 26, 1982.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current about Andrew Fry

Name: Andrew Fry
Last Residence: 66801 Emporia, Lyon, Kansas, USA
BORN: 27 Dec 1896
Died: Nov 1982
State (Year) SSN issued: Railroad Board (Issued Through) (Before 1951)

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  • Created by: Becky Doan
  • Added: 2 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100043537
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Andrew Fugit Fry (27 Dec 1896–26 Nov 1982), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100043537, citing Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Becky Doan (contributor 46821009) .