Fred Don Pollard, the son of a general store proprietor in Vermont whose career as a business executive took him to Chicago, New York and Europe, died on May 15 in Northampton, Mass. at age 88. The cause was non-Covid pneumonia.
Fred grew up in Cavendish, Vt., the son of Bryant and Millie Pollard whose general store in Proctorsville was for decades a center of village life. He was a first cousin twice removed of President Calvin Coolidge, whose own boyhood home was in nearby Plymouth Notch; Fred’s great grandmother Sarah J. Pollard was Coolidge’s aunt.
After leaving Vermont for Dartmouth College where he earned a B.A. and the Tuck School of Business for an M.B.A., Fred ventured to Chicago where he took a job with the accounting firm Deloitte. He was then drafted into the Army and stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey during the Korean War, after which he returned to Chicago.
It was there that he married Sandra Jean Norton, a nurse-in-training from Rockford, Illinois whom he had met in church before going into the Army. The two had a son, Don, and soon moved to London where Fred accepted a position with the Hertz Corporation. After a few years he moved on to Avis and headed up the company’s financial operations in Europe and the Middle East.
The couple’s two other children—sons Bruce and Mark—were both born in England, and the family lived in London and then Gerrards Cross, a bucolic suburb north of London where they made a number of lifelong friends.
Upon returning to New York in the early 1970s, Fred continued working for Avis on Long Island. He then took a job with the Garcia Corporation in New Jersey. He made the long commute from their home in Huntington, on Long Island, to the company’s offices in Teaneck so that the sons could remain in school. With a business opportunity in New York’s North Country, they moved to Canton, N.Y., a town near the Canada border reminiscent of the pre-tourist Vermont of Fred’s youth.
It was there that Fred’s multi-faceted second career unfolded: as Senior Vice President of the Augsbury Organization, a petroleum and shipping company; an accountant with Whalen, Davey & Looney; and a soybean-processing entrepreneur. From 2000 to 2012, he was president of Ag Pro, Ltd. and traveled to China to secure the machinery to erect a huge soybean processing plant in Massena, N.Y.
Over the years in their stone farmhouse in Canton, Fred and Sandy became an integral part of the community. Fred served as both an elder and chair of the resources committee of the First Presbyterian Church on the Park. He was also active in the local Masons organization and the Rotary Club
In 2017, Fred and Sandy left Canton for Massachusetts, where their son Mark and his wife Geri own a bakery-café, Bread Euphoria outside Northampton. The winters of the North Country were no longer tenable and Fred and Sandy moved into an apartment next to the café. They attended the Haydenville Congregational Church and Fred, always an avid consumer of news, made the 75-foot walk every morning to pick up a copy of the Daily Hampshire Gazette and The New York Times, often selecting a ginger scone for his beloved Sandy. His work life had many dramatic up and downs but he always kept an even keel with his calmness, good-natured optimism, humor and insight. In addition to Sandy, he is survived by Don and Lisa Pollard, and their children Amelia and Sawyer; Bruce and P.J Pollard and children Rowland, Redmond, Darby and Meade; Mark and Geri Pollard and children Clarissa and Max: and his sister Vicki Wilson. Donations in Fred’s memory can be made to Highland Ambulance, at highlandems.org, or the First Presbyterian Church on the Park in Canton, at churchonthepark.org.