Sunday, Jun 25, 2017

Family celebrates 100 years

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Frances Hermonson christened a boulder on the Perenchio family farm commemorating the 100th anniversary of the family owning the property. Picturd with Hermonson are Marty Perenchio, center, and Chuck Perenchio. COURTESY PHOTO

For generations, members of the Perenchio family have called the farm at 2711 Perenchio Lane in Harvard home.

Chuck and Debra Perenchio, its current owners, purchased the property in 1979 from James and Arlene Perenchio, Chuck’s parents.

More than 112 family members gathered at the farm June 8 to celebrate the homestead being a part of their clan for the last 100 years.

Guests included Arlene Perenchio and Frances Hermonson, Chuck’s aunt on his father’s side, who commemorated the event by christening a boulder on the property with a plaque honoring its 100 years in the family.

The Perenchio farm was first owned by Martin and Minnie Perenchio, Chuck’s grandparents. Martin Perenchio immigrated to the United States from Italy at the age of 14.

Eschewing a career in mining, he decided he was best suited for a life in the country. He and his wife purchased the property in 1914 and became dairy farmers.

James Perenchio – one of Martin and Minnie’s six children – moved into the farm with his wife, Arlene, in 1950. The couple took over dairy farming and raised eight children there, including Chuck.

Arlene Perenchio said the children enjoyed country life and were involved in activities such as 4-H programs.

“We’ve been a very loving and close family,” she said, reflecting on the generations of Perenchios that have called the farm home.

Though the last cows were sold off in 1994, the farm continued to be productive and started to produce soybeans and corn.

Chuck and Debra Perenchio said they love living there.

“It’s an accomplishment to keep a farm in the same family for 100 years,” said Chuck Perenchio, adding that Harvard has changed much over the course of his life and fewer farms are in existence now. “Any time [a place like this] is in your family, it is important to keep it as long as you can, to live in a home [your ancestors] lived in.”

Perenchio also said one specific joy of living on the farm has been watching his children enjoy all it had to offer while they were growing up – playing in the hay mow, running around the barn in bare feet and playing with the tractors. “We hope to pass the farm on to [them],” he said.

For now though, history has repeated itself.

Like the generations of kids before them, Chuck and Debra Perenchio’s grandchildren – Martin and Minnie’s great-great-grandchildren – also are captivated with the charms of farm living.

“You feel the memories still here,” Debra Perenchio said. “The echoes of kids from generations past, playing in the yard.”