We are saddened at the passing of longtime Maricopa County 4-H Leader, volunteer, mentor and one who raised thousands of
4-H youth at the Maricopa County Fair, Arizona State Fair and the Arizona National, Fritzi Collins.
Fritzi passed peacefully on Friday, November 9, 2023 at John C. Lincoln hospital in Phoenix. She was surrounded by her family.
Her daughter, Kathy and son, David along with their spouses, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren will plan a celebration … “next spring in-between the fairs,” says daughter Kathy Obst.
Below is some of Fritzi’s story as we celebrated her at the Clover Ball in Tucson this past June. Our deepest condolences to her family and all the thousands of youth who knew and loved Fritzi.
Our next inductee is a 4-H legend in Maricopa County and 4-H fairgrounds everywhere. Fritzi Collins started as a leader in the Northwest Sheep Club in 1969.
Frizti was trained as a Registered Nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, but 4-H turned her into a camp nurse at Mardecor Camp outside Mormon Lake. She was the nurse, bought all the supplies, hauled up the supplies, hauled up kids and made camp memorable for three generations of 4-Hers.
Fritzi was always moving. She became involved in the Maricopa 4-H Leaders Council, Teen Council and helped with the Western States Leader’s Forums. She chaperoned National Congress when it was in Chicago and worked with two other outstanding women in Maricopa County, Marge Bayless and Delores Gokie.
No one can count as high as the number of years Fritzi served the Maricopa County Fair, the Arizona State Fair and the Arizona National Livestock Show. She was Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent of all the sheep departments. In 2003 she was awarded the Heritage Award by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, a national group of all the fairs and stock shows in North America.
Her late husband, Robert, started an awards business, Amazing Awards, to support his teaching job.
They printed ribbons and assembled awards in their home, then in the backyard barn, and it grew to where they moved the business into a store in Phoenix. They closed the business in 2021.
Fritzi has done a lot, because she celebrated her 94th birthday this year and is still incredibly amazing.
We’d like to ask Fritzi and her daughter, Kathy Obst, Grandson- Robert Hafemeyer and possibly her number 1 fan, Monica Younker to come forward with Frizti and accept her Arizona 4-H Hall of Fame award.
Congratulations Fritzi on such an exceptional lifetime of giving and volunteerism to Arizona 4-H.
Kevin Gene Rogers
Kevin Gene Rogers, a longtime supporter of Arizona 4-H and past president of the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation, passed away on April 13, 2022, due to a heart attack at the age of 61. We are honored to celebrate his life and generous contributions to Arizona 4-H and the Arizona agriculture community.
Kevin was born July 2nd in Phoenix, Arizona, and attended the University of Arizona. His roots in agriculture and his passion for learning and improving knowledge in the industry are reflected in his work on the family farm, “Rogers Brothers” in Laveen to the halls of our nation's capital. He spent countless days and hours conveying the importance and need for agriculture to thrive in Arizona. His white cowboy hat and crisp bright colored shirt were a trademark for Kevin as an active member of the Arizona Farm Bureau for over 35 years, serving as their state president for 14 years. Following his Farm Bureau leadership, Kevin was the Executive Vice President for the Arizona Cotton Growers Association.
Kevin was also an FFA member in his youth and a long-time supporter of the Maricopa County Fair and all youth stock shows in Arizona. He gave generously to Arizona 4-H in his time, talents and treasurers. He served as the 4-H Foundation President 2007- 2010, bringing a strong leadership style and presence to our organization. He is survived by his wife Janel and three children, Taylor, Kevin Jr., and Morgan.
The entire AG and 4-H communities send our deepest sympathies and love to the Rogers' family.
We are saddened to hear of the news of Kelly Keithly’s sudden passing from a heart condition on September 20th, 2021. Kelly had become a role model, a leader and an icon to us in Arizona 4-H.
We honored him and his wife, Cheryl at our 2021 Clover Ball in June this year. They were racing home to even catch the event as we streamed it live on June 4th. Son-in-law, Pat Cooley and his wife, Kirin, planned out the party and had the big screen on when the Keithly’s arrived home. It was a great night of celebration and honoring Kelly and Cheryl for all that they had accomplished for 4-H in California and then in Arizona.
Kelly Keithly grew up in Flagstaff, joined 4-H in Coconino County, then attended the University of Arizona and met the love of his life there, a fellow 4-Her, Cheryl. After Kelly convinced her that she didn’t need to become an “old maid” to be an Extension Agent, they were married and moved to California to start their life together. Cheryl was planning a career in Cooperative Extension in Family and Consumer Sciences and so started her career, while Kelly traveled back to the UA to finish his last year to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.
After graduation, Kelly started as a seed salesman for Ferry Morse in California, and later worked for Imperial Valley Milling Company where he and his boss founded a partnership totally focused on vegetable seeds, Keithly- Williams Seeds.
Kelly was involved in agriculture, teaching his employees all that he knew about soils and growing. He ministered to those around him and was involved in his church as an Active Elder and President of the Congregation of Christ Lutheran Church of Yuma and many other agricultural and philanthropic organizations.
He talked about being blessed every day with not only Cheryl, but their four children, 13 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Our deepest condolences to the entire Keithly family. Kelly is deeply missed.
For Kelly’s full obituary, please go to our website and click on his card on the carousel.
Bonavere “Bonnye” Stuhr
On July 25, 2020, Arizona 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Bonnye Stuhr passed away from 40 years of complications from diabetes. From a young age, Bonnye parents instilled a pioneering spirit and a commitment to community service in their daughter. In fact, the family moved all the way from New York to Arizona in the early 1950’s. As the family adjusted to the change, they found their sense of community was in 4-H. It was there that Bonnye forged friendships that would endure a lifetime and she was inspired to pursue a degree in higher education.
It was at the University of Arizona that Bonnye met her future husband, Wanye Stuhr, in the UofA marching band in the saxophone section. Leveraging skills learned at 4-H, like planning and good record keeping, the couple navigated being stationed in five different states in the first five years of their marriage while raising four exceptional children. The couple eventually settled in the Mohawk Valley in Yuma County where Bonnye led a 4-H club with over 150 members! Over all 60 years of Bonnye’s 4-H career, she had a reputation for making the best better and always creating a safe and inclusive space for all youth. Today we recognize and remember Bonnye as we send our thoughts and prayers to her family and all her friends of 4-H.
Dan Klingenberg left us on September 14, 2020. This Annual Report is dedicated to him because he was a leader to many of us, a role model to most of us, and a friend to all of us. His life showed us the importance of making sure that 4-H youth of Arizona had opportunities, excellent programming and great learning experiences. His passion for 4-H was wide and deep.
In southern Arizona at the base of the Santa Rita mountains in Pima County he rode horses with his older brother, John, but John was the better horseman. Dan excelled in 4-H in the beef cattle project and got the “lion’s share” of the blue ribbons, but they were each other’s best supporter. “4-H really started us off in our leadership skills,” John says. “We had a small club and all kinds of animals projects, with calves, rabbits and chickens, but we all had to talk about our projects, and we all learned from each other.” It was all about the learning and community. They thrived.
Dr. Jeff Silvertooth, Arizona Cooperative Extension Former Director said of Dan “I was always impressed that [he] was open to what we had to say. . . .They didn’t always do what we recommended, but they were always open to it,” he says.
Dan followed his big brother to the UA and after college did a short stint in Maricopa County Extension as a Poultry Agent, but quickly returned to more familiar roots and was the Yuma County 4-H Agent until the draft called. He was excused, but service still called, and he enlisted in the Peace Corps. The quiet unassuming Dan was quickly pegged for his leadership skills and was soon in charge of 30 other young people in his travels throughout the world. John says that he always wanted to be in on the “grassroots” of any project and loved working with the youth all over the world. Dan traveled to an amazing 117 countries during his life.
After serving as a the National 4-H Council’s first intern in 1959, Dan connected with an old friend there who knew a New York Company accustomed to taking people with broad backgrounds and turning them into specialists. Jasper Baker picked up the phone and called his contact at Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase and Dan was hired on the spot as a “Technical Specialist”. Dan gave bank advice and counsel on all aspects of agriculture. It was his dream come true; he became a generalist turned specialist.
Dan was born 10/6/1939. We were all fortunate to be a part of Dan’s most amazing life. Rest in peace our friend, you knocked it out of the park!