2010-07-01 / Front Page

H.P. “Skip” Kies Dead At 96

First-ever county agent served 27 years
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER
Harold P. “Skip” Kies, former Penn State Cooperative Extension agent here, died Sunday night at Fulton County Medical Center following a brief illness. He was 96.

H.P. Kies H.P. Kies Fulton Countyís first-ever county agricultural agent, Kies came to Fulton County in July 1948 after working as the assistant county agent in Bedford and Somerset counties and the acting county agent in Blair County. He retired from the extension service in 1975 after 32 years of service, 27 of which were spent in Fulton County.

During his time as Fulton’s county agent, Kies spearheaded numerous agricultural initiatives, including the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and Artificial Breeding Cooperative, a pasture improvement program that promoted increase use of alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil, the Fulton County Tennessee Valley Authority Demonstration Farm Program and promotion of alfalfa as a source of feed and animal protein. He recieved the 1973 Man of the Year award from the Pennsylvania Plant Food Educational Society for his grassland improvement work in 1973.

Kies played a significant role in the lives of Fulton County’s farmers, plannning special meetings and preparing newsletters to inform them of specific practices to carry out. He conducted educational programs for 4-H Club members on farm cooperatives and, in 1969, received the Master Educator Award from Pennsylvania Association of Farmer Cooperatives.

The former county agent also worked with farmers in his role as a president of the Fulton County Farmers Association and Fulton County Grange.

In 1964, Kies was honored with the distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents for his service to Pennsylvania agriculture.

Also active in community affairs, Kies was a past president of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, McConnellsburg Lions Club and Fulton Industrial Development Association (FIDA), taking an active part in the FIDA’s effort to construct a men’s clothing factory in McConnellsburg that initially emplyed 650 people In 1968, he was honored as the Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year. Well known throughout the county, Kies had an easy manner and was regarded by many as an allaround good guy . Generous with his time and knowledge, many turned to “Skip” for advice on landscaping and gardening, one of his favorite past times. From the inception of Great Cove Golf Course and for many years following, he volunteered there, taking charge of the course’s landscaping and advising the board on greenskeeping matters, trees and other plant materials.

At a retirement banquet honoring him in 1975, then extension home economist Sybil Coble said of Kies, “Pioneer, educator, counselor and friend to all, whose career is engraved in the hearts and minds of Fulton County.”

Thirty-five years later Coble’s words still ring true to those who knew Skip Kies.

Kies is survived by his wife of 69 years, the former Jean Porter, two sons, Allan, of Hustontown, and William, of McConnellsburg, and two daughters, Cindy Luongo, Centre Hall, Pa., and Jennifer Lowman, Holmes Beach, Fla.

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