Wises chosen as Opp Chamber’s Farm Family of the Year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 30, 2010

For Harold and Ruth Wise, farming has been their way of life and has given them something no one can take away.

“It gave us the core values we have today,” Ruth said. “There was a lot of hard work involved.”

And it was that hard work that led to the couple being named the Opp and Covington County Chamber of Commerce’s Farm Family of the Year Thursday. The annual banquet, held at the Opp Middle School’s multipurpose room, honors local farmers and the impact they have on the community.

“As you grow up on the farm and you see everything as basic, you work for the things you want,” she said. “You value them more than if they came easy to you.”

Ruth said farming had a positive impact for the couple, who have been married for more than 60 years.

Husband Harold began his farming career at 9, while helping his grandfather with peanuts.

He quickly grew to a part-time plowboy at 12 and worked for $1.50 a day as a full-time plowboy around 1941.

He said he joined the Merchant Marines in 1944; bought his first tractor in 1947 and started his own farm in 1948.

Ruth, a retired U.S. Postal employee, said in addition to farming, community involvement has also been very important to the couple.

Both have been active in the Retired Senior Volunteers Program.

Harold was also was a state representative for Geneva and Covington counties during the 1970s.

The two are active members at Bethel Baptist Church.

And when they’re not in the field, they can be found wandering around their newest adventure – a campground they built adjacent to the Geneva State Park.

A cautious man, Wise was careful to wait until another park was completely full, Ruth said.

“Harold wouldn’t build one until the other guy had all of his lots complete,” Ruth said. “Geneva State Park has a big lake, and we built the campground near it.”

While the Wises say they are both honored to receive the night’s award, they are both quick to thank the ones who have helped them along the way.

“If it wasn’t for the people who had confidence in me, then I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” Harold Wise said. “I’ve been coming to Opp since 1931.”

“It’s an honor for them to think of us,” Ruth said. “We are very thankful for what everyone has done to support us. Things were not easy back then.

“We’re always thankful for what God puts in our path. (We’re) proud of our friends and family,” she said.

The Wises have three children, Patricia Wise, who passed away in 2003; son, Larry and his wife, Brenda, Wise; and daughter, Marie Wise, and her husband, Tommy Styles.