2001 Pioneer Leadership Award

William M. Guthrie

William MacDonald Guthrie was born in Evanston, Ill., the first child of Lillian Valentine Carpenter Guthrie and Gilbert Turner Guthrie. By the time Bill started to school, the family had settled in Webster Groves near the Aro Dairy Company in St. Louis which had been founded by his father.

As a youth, Bill avidly pursued interests in nature, camping, and the Boy Scouts where he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

He was elected student body president of Webster Groves High School and graduated in 1935. Bill earned a degree in business administration from Washington University in 1939.

In 1941 Bill joined the U.S. Army as a private in the infantry and eventually advanced to the rank of captain. Bill served with the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division in the Solomon Islands, and saw action in New Georgia, Guadalcanal, and Arundel.

He was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action and was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart after being wounded in action on Arundel during September 1943.

After the war Bill rejoined the Aro Dairy Company where he had worked summers during his college years. Bill became Aro president in 1955. Aro Creamery and Dressel Young Dairy merged in the early 1960s and the operation became known as Aro-Dressel Dairy, Granite City.

Prairie Farms purchased Aro-Dressel in 1967 and after a few months Bill became general manager of operations. Prairie Farms had tremendous growth in the St. Louis area during and since that time and formed from scratch two subsidiaries, PFD Supply and GMS Company.

Growth in the St. Louis area continued with the 1989 purchase of the Pevely Dairy Company in St. Louis. Bill, as he is known by all Prairie Farms personnel, certainly did a most commendable job in keeping the St. Louis operation intact.

His leadership and managerial skills were outstanding.

When Bill retired from Prairie Farms in December 1991 his citation stated “We are most appreciative and thankful to have had the opportunity to work with you over the past 25 years.”

Bill died May 22, 1999.

Bill was nominated for the Hall of Honors Pioneer Dairy Leadership Award by the Missouri Dairy Products Association.