Fred H. Locke

Page 654-655 - Fred H. Locke. Grand Rapids was one of the first of the major cities of the country to adopt the modern business-like plan of Commission Form-City Manger Government. Further than that this city not only adopted this efficient plan used by all large corporations and businesses, but has proven that it is not necessary to go to the far corners of the country or great metropolitan cities to secure a man of sufficient training and capabilities to assume the onerous duties of this responsible task. In doing so, Grand Rapids has chosen, and for the last eight years profited by the services of, a native son of Kent county in this great task. Fred H. Locke was born in Plainfield township, Kent county, on a farm, September 11, 1874. His father, Orson E. Locke, settled in this county in 1839, coming to Paris township. Orson E. was the son of William and Abigail (Withy) Locke, who came from Vermont to Ohio, and then to Michigan. The grandparents of the subject of this narrative had five boys and four girls, of whom the father of the subject was the youngest. The father, Orson E., followed farming and lumbering. He reared three children: Clarence E., Lida A. Eason living in Grand Rapids; and Fred H., who was educated in the high school in Grandville, graduating in 1891, and following this preliminary training with a business college course in 1893. He then entered the West Michigan University. On the completion of his education he returned to the farm for a short time and then took up his business career in the Cedar Springs Bank, then the Northern Kent Bank, for four years. He then went to Muskegon with the E. H. Stafford Desk Company. He sold out the interest acquired there and returned to Grand Rapids, where he engaged in business eighteen years. Mr. Locke entered upon his career of public service as director of welfare in 1917-18, and was selected as city manager in 1918, upon which important duty he has remained until this time. The concentration of authority and responsibility into the hands of one general managing officer is simply applying to the business of the public, in which every citizen and elector is a stockholder, the same principles that all of the many successful and growing corporations and industries of the city have applied to their own businesses. The success of one of the city’s own business managers is a source of pride to the citizens of the community. Mr. Locke was married on January 25, 1897, to Miss Nellie C. Provin, a native of Kent county with whom he became acquainted at Cedar Springs. They have a family of two children, Estelle M., a student of South High School, and Marjorie M., a student at Ottawa Hills High School. Mr. Locke is a thirty-second degree Mason, a past commander of Knights Templar, and a member of the Woodmen, the B. P. O. Elks, and the Exchange Club. He has found time to take active part in these organizations in addition to the official burdens and sharing the enjoyment of his family and his civic responsibility.


Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 17 January 2004