Well a little about us is in order. My name is Jason Varner. I am a third generation Beekeeper. My grandfather the late Merle P. Fisher of Granville, Pa started in 1938 with a few hives he had gotten. By 1942 he was running 1200 colonies and if I am remembering the stories right by 1945 he and a friend started to haul the bees to Florida after the Aster flow to over winter. And in roughly 1948 he bought a BMC tractor with a rear mast and started to palletize on 4 way pallets and started to hire semis to haul his bees south. We like to think he was one of the first to start doing this on such a scale. Pap did it all pollination, honey, candles, and was very active in Pa Beekeepers Association holding many offices but finding that he loved to run the honey stand at the Pa Farm Show and Ag Progress Days selling items that member donate and honey ice cream which always sold out. All profits went to the Honey Queen program that Pap felt was very important. All of us grandkids(23 of us) have the fondest memories of going with pap to help dip ice cream and run around being kids and playing in the honey house. Pap was very active with bees and the PSBA until he was 88 or so when ill health forced him to slow down and then stop. He passed away at age 92 on the farm he was raised on as he wanted, we miss him greatly. My Uncle Dyson Fisher started a pollination operation of his own when he got married and started his family which is now operated by his son Wade after his passing in an accident.
I have worked off and on for Dyson and Wade all my life and a few others along the way. Every so often I did something else to see what the rest of the world does but always back to bees. About 1998 I decided to get good at overwintering in northern areas. It was a hard learning curve with great losses the first few years but I started to figure it out. As I got better I thought I should start to breed a strain of bee that did very well in the Pa area for those that want a Quality Queen that will do well with the flows we have. I am getting good results and do offer it here.
We are developing bees with resistance to more pests and afflictions through selective breeding. Yet still maintain higher yields of hive commodities.
Merle P. Fisher
August 19, 2010
GRANVILLE - After living a life of success and significance, Merle P. Fisher died at his home on the farm in Granville on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, at the age of 92. Having moved to the farm as a toddler, he had lived on that farm for about 89 years, and was only absent from it for a short time when he first married.
Born July 18, 1918, son of Edgar and Leona Kauffman Fisher, husband of Emily Elizabeth Vogt Fisher, whom he wed 69 years ago on April 16, 1941.
He was preceded in death by a son and daughter-in-law, W. Dyson Fisher and wife Linda, son-in-law Craig Camp, grandson Justin Henry, his sister May Fisher Frey, and brother E. Clair Fisher.
He is survived by his wife, Emily, and nine children: Louis Fisher and wife Esta, of Lancaster, Lucinda Whistler and husband Gary, of Carlisle, Mary Henry and husband Marv, of McVeytown, Lois Cole and husband Wayne, of Mechanicsburg, M. Timothy Fisher and wife Vale, of Lewistown, Ruth Varner and husband William, of Lewistown, Sarah Hill and husband Mark, of Granville, Rebecca Gerhart and husband David, of Mountville, and Daniel Fisher and wife Jen, of Lewistown.
Merle's surviving 22 grandchildren are: Scott Fisher, Wade Fisher, Melissa Fisher Forsythe, Andrew Fisher, Holly Fisher Coppersmith, Aaron Fisher, and Emily Fisher Cherry, Bradley Whistler, Barry Whistler, and Nicole Whistler Tarr, Jennifer Henry Sheaffer; Jeremy Fisher and Matthew Fisher, Jason Varner and Gail Varner Flasher, Benjamin Hill, Zachary Hill, Joshua Hill, and Abigail Hill, Brock Gerhart and Drew Gerhart, and Janika Fisher. Also he had 21 great grandchildren
After a short time with the Pennsylvania Railroad, Merle was a beekeeper all his adult life and some of his teenage years. He was a member of the PA State Beekeepers' Association since 1941 and twice served as President. He was awarded Beekeeper of the Year in 1980. He was instrumental in reviving and supporting the Honey Queen program, managing the ice cream sales booth at the PA State Farm Show and Aq Progress Days for many years of fund raising.
He was a past member of the Knights of Malta, the Republican Party and Committee of Mifflin County, charter member of the Methodist Men's Club of the Granville United Methodist Church, and a past judge of elections. He was Master of the Fort Granville Grange three times.
For years he was the master fresh lemonade maker at the church picnic. The Girl Scouts from Camp Blue Juniata were treated to a walk to the honey house for a lesson on honeybees followed by tasting and tiny jar of honey.