They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Considering the strong and healthy life Oreida Haney enjoyed for 95 years, it’s hard to argue.
“We feel blessed to have had Mom for that many years,” said her son, Mark Haney. “Her thinking was crystal clear, right up to the end.”
If the name sounds familiar, it should. Haney’s Appledale Farm is one of Pulaski County’s enduring agricultural success stories, and an important landmark of the Nancy community along West Ky. 80.
Ellen Oreida Haney passed away Thursday at the age of 95, leaving Haney’s Appledale Farm as her legacy, along with her dedicated family and her life in faith.
“She assumed the role as matriarch for our family,” said her son Mark, who now owns and operates the farm with his brother Don. “We lost our father (Lawrence) in 1995. By that time, Don and I had already bought the business, but she’s always lived right here in the center of it. She had a desk in front of the window where she could watch everything on the farm.”
That’s no exaggeration. While Don and Mark both still live around the area of the farm, they built houses “further down the road,” but the house they grew up in, right there in the heart of the Haney’s fruit empire, was where Oreida maintained her presence.
“She watched every day what was going on and would ask about it,” said Mark. “The last few months, she’d been living at Bluegrass Senior Living. But every day we talked to her, and she wanted to know how business was going, were we getting any rain, that sort of thing. She kept an interest.”
After all, Oreida gave the farm the name that’s become its iconic brand. Under William Floyd Wilson, Mark and Don’s great-grandfather, the farm was “very diversified,” growing clover, corn, tobacco, and keeping “meticulous records, going back to the farm’s origins in the 1870s. When Lawrence and Oreida took over the farm known as “Cloverdale” and found that apples would make the business the most financially fruitful, Oreida came up with the name “Appledale.”
“In later years, so many people knew it by ‘Haney’s’ that we started to go by Haney’s Appledale Farm,” said Mark. However, “she chose the name” that her sons built upon.
Lawrence and Oreida married in 1943 and moved to Nancy, taking over the farm. It was a big change for the 19-year-old Oreida, said Mark, as the Somerset native was more of a city girl at heart.
“She grew up in town and had no idea what life on the farm would be like,” said Mark, “but she lived here for the next 76 years and has been an integral part of the family business. Of course, she’s been a housewife and a farm wife all those years, but as the business grew, she played a key role in that.”
With an orchard of around 8,000 trees, 40 or so variety of apples, and a busy store full of a wide variety of products — not just bags of apples, cider and other apple-related products, but numerous jams and jellies, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and special gifts — as well as the always popular fried pies and apple slush drinks — Haney’s is thriving as much as ever. For so many people in Pulaski County — and elsewhere — stopping and picking up some yummy goods before wandering around the spectacular rows of trees is an autumnal tradition.
“They’re celebrating their 150th anniversary this year — more than likely, it’s the oldest business in Pulaski County. Definitely, it’s the oldest working farm,” said Bobby Clue, Executive Director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. Clue not only treasures Haney’s Appledale Farm as one of the great businesses in the area, but as a Nancy native himself, he’s been familiar with the Haney’s tradition and family all his life.
“Mrs. Haney was a huge component of the success they had over the past several decades,” added Clue. “She was the matriarch of that family and helped hold everything together. She was a decision maker, right to the very end, and she will be terribly missed.
“It’s a significant loss for the community,” continued Clue. “Our thoughts and prayers at the Chamber go out to her family.”
Oreida was a devoted Christian who taught a women’s Sunday school class and other programs at White Oak Baptist Church for over 50 years. Isaiah Super served as pastor at that church, and will be co-officiating her funeral services.
“She was a lady that everybody looked to and had the highest level of respect for,” said Super. “I’ve had the pleasure of pastoring a lot of people, and she’s about as good as they come. She’s one of the best people I ever met in life. She loved the Lord and loved people.”
Added Mark Haney, “Mom was really and truly a prayer warrior. Her faith was extremely strong and everyone felt the presence of her faith and her encouragement every day.
“She instilled a lot of work ethic in us as a family, and instilled it in us to have a strong faith as well,” he added, “more of a servant-type attitude.”
Certainly, Oreida worked hard to provide for her family, both from her hands and her heart.
“She worried so much to make sure everyone had plenty to eat,” said Mark. “If you came to her house, she’d make sure she tried to cook you something, and make sure you had something to eat. She took a keen interest in every member of her family. She was interested in her grandchildren (and great-grandchildren), in their daily lives, what they were doing, and was always very much an encourager.”
Visitation services for Oreida Haney will be held on November 8, 2020, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be held in the chapel of Lake Cumberland Funeral Home on November 9, 2020 at 11 a.m., with Dr. James Floyd and Bro. Isaiah Super officiating. Burial will be at White Oak Cemetery.
A full obituary can be found in the Saturday, November 7 edition of the Commonwealth Journal.