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Perdue, Franklocked

(09 May 1920–31 May 2005)
  • Dennis Wepman

Extract

Perdue, Frank (09 May 1920–31 May 2005), chicken farmer and merchant, was born Franklin Parsons Perdue in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of Arthur W. Perdue, an agent for Railway Express and part-time egg farmer descended from seventeenth-century Huguenot settlers of the area, and Pearl Parsons. Frank helped out on the farm as a child and became familiar with all aspects of caring for chickens, at the age of ten raising to productive maturity some culled hens that had been intended for destruction. Perdue graduated from Salisbury High School in 1939 and spent two years at Salisbury State Teachers College, but family financial problems and a lack of interest in teaching led him to return to his father's farm once he had earned a two-year degree in 1941. As the market for meat increased during World War II, the family began to focus on the production of broiler chickens rather than eggs, and Perdue made a serious study of the nutrition and care of poultry. The business began to prosper, and when he became president of Perdue Farms after his father's death in 1952 it was averaging some $6 million in annual sales. In 1945 he married Madeline Godfrey, a college classmate, with whom he had four children. They divorced in 1976. Although some sources, including his obituary in the ...

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