10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Fritz Leeman
Fritz Leeman, of Massillon, Ohio, is mainly known for owning and breeding leading stallions, Invitation Only, Lazy Loper, How Bout This Cowboy, and Willy Be Invited.
Some people in the industry may know that Fritz does something with cheese, but they probably don’t know the exact back story. We found out the real story from Fritz himself.
In the first in our series, “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Me”, we were honored that Marilyn Masterson told us ten things that people in the industry probably didn’t know about her.
In our second installment, we are excited that Fritz Leeman also agreed to participate. Read his insightful and impressive ten things below.
10 Things – Fritz Leeman
1. When Fritz was 10 years old, he started raising pigs. He would raise 50 each year. This dubbed him the nickname “Smelly” in school. However, at age 18 he sold the last of his hogs and bought a corvette for his first car.
2. His family only spoke Swiss-German growing up at home. He didn’t learn English until he started grade-school.
3. Fritz played the accordion for weddings and parties with one of his brothers while they were kids.
4. In order to keep his family busy while he was away at work, he would unplug the cable in the basement so that the television wouldn’t work. It was plugged in for the news in the evening or morning but other than that, he left it unhooked.
5. Fritz bought his first horses around 1970 from a man who ran a milk bottling plant. One was named Fred and one was named Fran. They cost $100 for the pair. Those were the horses that got the Leeman family started into horse shows.
6. Fritz’s family lived above the cheese plant from when Fritz was born until 1952 because his father was the plant manager before purchasing it in 1965. Hans Leeman (Fritz’s father) was a gardener for the Rockefeller’s in New York when he moved to the United States at age 19.
7. The cheese plant made 5,000 pounds of cheese per day when Fritz started. Today it makes around 148,000 pounds a day at the main facility. The company has grown to be the largest producer of Swiss cheese in America. Fritz owes all the success to the people around him who have worked for him for so long.
8. Today, at age 75, Fritz loves to spend every day split between the cheese plant, his hay fields, and any other farm work that keeps him out of the house.
9. He met his wife, Carole, in kindergarten. They were married at 24 and celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. Carole says Fritz was never on time to a single date. Often times, he would work such long hours at the dairy, he would fall asleep when he got home and not call until a day or two later. At their wedding, they had 10 people and that seemed like a lot!
10. Fritz raced cars for a few years as a youngster. His first time putting a transmission in, he found out he had 3 reverses and 1 forward gear. He also pumped gas at the neighborhood gas station at age 12 for 52 cents an hour.
Thanks to Fritz Leeman for participating. It is fascinating to learn about his background and how Fritz Leeman Farm started.