AZ 4-H Hall of Fame 2010 Inductees
Kristi and Robert Bennett
Kristi and Robert Bennett have been long time 4-H supporters and 4-H Leaders in Coconino County. They were instrumental in starting the Page 4-H Livestock Club in Page after many years of not having a 4-H club in the community. Kristi and Robert were the driving force behind the creationof the Page 4-H Complex, a piece of City of Page property that is used as 4-H livestock project farm. The Bennetts helped design and find donations to build pens and tack rooms, a water system and electricity. Fully operating since 1995, the Complex has enabled city dwelling youth to raise market livestock projects. Robert served as the Complex handyman for many years after their own children were out of the program, and they both still offer advice for animal health and feeding issues.Kristi and Robert both served as livestock project leaders for many years and Kristi was also the community club leader. Kristi servedas chair of the Coconino County 4-H Livestock Auction and Robert was the Coconino County Fair Livestock Coordinator for more than five years. They are both active in their community and their children, Tiffani and Kip (both 4-H alumni), are successful business owners in Page. Their oldest granddaughter will be joining 4-H in 2013, so another generation of youth will benefit from Kristi and Robert’s knowledge. Kristi and Robert have also been honored with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Extensionist of the Year Award.
Don is currently the Director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture and has been for many years. Don has been a strong advocate for youth and agriculture, beginning with the Junior livestock show in 1956 in Yuma when he was an announcer. From 1970-1985 Don was on the Pima County Fair Board. At that time, Governor Raul Castro came down and toured the livestock tent, and during a rainstorm, water ran down from the tents and got in his shoes. Don was instrumental in convincing the Governor to put $500,000 to support the fair and build the current livestock building at the fairgrounds. No rain has run into anyone’s shoes since then. Don also served on the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation board of directors from its inception in 1972 to 1989. He then served again from 2003 to 2010. Don and his wife, Blue, have kids who have been in 4-H in both Yuma and Tucson. Blue was also a sheep leader in the Tanque Verde 4-H Livestock Club.
Ruth Goldie Cheatham was born in Tempe, Arizona in 1925. After living in Superior, Casa Grande and Coolidge, the family moved to Laveen sometime in 1936. In 1937, 4-H became the method of teaching homemaking arts at Laveen School, and Ruth became a founding member of the Laveen 4-H club.She was a charter member of, and started teaching children in Sunday School at Laveen Baptist Church by the time she was 17. In 1943, after graduating from Phoenix Union High School, she married Armon Cheatham, and became a dairy farmer’s wife. Within a few years of her marriage she had become a 4-H leader, teaching cooking and sewing in addition to her work at church, her photography hobby, and raising her six children. She led 4-H groups in the very large Laveen Community 4-H Club. Over the years, this included about a dozen of her own sisters, nieces and daughters among many other girls from the community, impacting and enriching their lives. In addition to her duties as a 4-H club leader in Laveen, Ruth worked for a number of years in the 4-H Department at the Arizona State Fair, and then became the Superintendent of that department, serving in that capacity for more than 20 years.Ruth was a professional and diligent superintendent and was instrumental in working toward the State Fair developing an outreach program to encourage residents of Arizona to enter the State Fair when they might not be able to make it to the State Fairgrounds.Advancing years led to her relinquishing her 4-H groups and many of her jobs at her church, but at the age of almost 88, she is still sharing her knowledge of homemaking arts by teaching ladies in a group at her church how to knit so they can make handmade items for home-bound, and care center bound and homeless individuals. She personally turns out well over 60 knit caps every year! Maricopa County is so proud to recognize Ruth Cheatham as an Arizona 4-H Hall Fame member for the many contributions Ruth made to the Laveen community, the state of Arizona and Arizona 4-H!
Phyllis Ethridge entered the 4-H arena in 1967 as a parent of a member of the Tucson Mountaineers4-H Club. At this time the fair was held at the Rodeo grounds on South Sixth Avenue. She assisted in the swine project and ran some of the fundraisers for the club. In 1971 she became the community leader for the club and its membership grew in size. During that time the different projects increased and the beef project was enhanced. She became a member of the National Hereford Association and American Cattlemen’s Association.She reorganized the format of the community meetings, sat on many of the Pima County Committees and worked very closely with Jean Buzzard on the format of the shows. Her role as community leader rotated among other people and when she was not serving as the community leader, she was a project leader in the beef, swine and lamb. Her involvement with Ralph Hall, Everett Grondin Sr. and others facilitated an easy transition to the current fairgrounds. In the 1980s, she opened her ranch to handicapped children showing swine in the fair. This allowed them to come over and feed and work with the animals on a daily basis. Many of these students were physically handicapped and would never have had the opportunity to know 4-H. During the 1990s, she continued her involvement in 4-H by becoming a buyer for the auction. This will be the 21st year that the Ethridge Family Ranch has purchased at least one animal at the fair, initiated by her dedication to the program. She was active in 4-H until her passing in 2009 and after her passing, it is her trust fund that continues to support 4-H through the purchasing of belt buckles and other awards for the 4-H members at their Pima County Fair shows. Her presence is still greatly felt in the 4-H community. In the Tucson community, Phyllis was an avid softball player for 20+ years and her skill level earned her induction into the Pima County Hall of Fame immediately after it began. In her later years she helped organize the senior softball league that went on from Tucson to win the Senior Olympic over 65 league. She was the chairperson for Tucson Mountain Little League when all of her children were involved and also a very active member of Southern Arizona Aquatic Association during the summer months. It was her love for children that prompted her and Marion to move to Three Points so that the children could be involved with animals.
Jack’s 4-H career began more than 30 years ago. He started as an assistant 4-H beef leader where he served for three years. As a result of the 4-H beef leader stepping down and other changes, Jack began serving as the 4-H beef leader and the Apache County 4-H Livestock Chairman at that time. He continues to serve as the livestock chairman today.A conservative estimate of the number of youth who have gone through the 4-H livestock program during his leadership is 2,000. Jack’s motto during his time as livestock chairman has always been ‘what is best for the young person’. In addition to caring about, supporting and assisting countless young people during his time, he has also been instrumental in bringing additional support and resources to the livestock program. His personal and direct efforts have brought more than $250,000 into the livestock buyer program that has directly helped 4-H youth and improved the facilities.Jack has always been willing to help those who deserve it. An example of this would be when he would occasionally dip into his own pocket to help in-need youth pay for their 4-H supplies, even though he was helping his two daughters (Megan and Carin) do the same. Jack said one of the things he likes best is being able to reconnect with men he knew when they were boys in 4-H, as well as knowing that the knowledge he passed along to all of the youngsters is still alive in them.The 4-H program has always been a family affair. Jack’s wife (Jan) was the founding leader of the St. Johns 4-H lamb project. She served for more than 15 years as a 4-H lamb leader. Both of Jack’s daughters were in 4-H as youth, participating in many livestock projects. One daughter (Megan) continues in her dad’s footsteps as a 4-H livestock project leader today. And now Jack has a grandson showing pigs and lambs in the Apache County 4-H program. Jack also served on the Apache County Fair board for three years and St. Johns Planning and Zoning Commission for many years.It is impossible to find another4-H leader in Apache County that has contributed more time, energy, leadership and direction to the Apache County 4-H livestock program over the past 30 years than Jack Hessler.
Sharon and Dallas Hillhouse
Sharon and Dallas were very active 4-H parents, helping not only their own children but all youth who needed a hand.Dallas has been a member of the Youth Livestock Board for 20 plus years. He has been president many times and is the current the president.He has also served on the La Paz County fair board for the last six years, the last two serving as president. He has served on the Salome High School Board for the last six years, the last four as president. Dallas participated in the UA CALS Extension leadership program called Project CENTRL. In order to complete the program, participants had to complete a community service project. Dallas took on designing and building the animal barn for the new La Paz County fairgrounds. He was able to raise more than $100,000 and organize volunteers to clear land, install water lines, build a barn, and purchase and install animal pens. Because of his dedication, all was completed within a 10 month time frame, prior to the first fair at the new facility. He spends hours upon hours preparing the animal facility for each year’s fair, often taking two weeks of vacation time to complete the task to ensure a safe environment for the youth and their animals. Sharon was a community club leader for Bouse and McMullen Valley for several years. She was also a project leader in both clubs. She has served on several 4-H committees and has cooked and planned for many fund- raisers both locally and county-wide. Currently she is on call when ever needed to judge record books, advise 4-H leaders, and help the extension office.Sharon and Dallas have cooked for and planned the buyer’s party for the La Paz County Fair for the last five years. They have also purchased numerous animals over the years.
Mrs. Hunsaker has served the youth of Northern Gila County as a horse project leader and livestock leader for more than 20 years spanning two generations. She spent 17 years as a leader in the community of Pine and returned as a 4-H leader three years ago to serve the youth in the Tonto Basin area. When she did not have a project club, she continued to tirelessly volunteer at many equine and animal related events throughout the county. Mrs. Hunsaker has been and continues to be involved in agriculture in Gila County. While raising her children in Pine, she and her husband were successful ranchers and business owners. However, it is easy to say that her proudest accomplishments are her family and the many youth that she influences. Sue volunteers each year to assist with the Northern Gila County Fair. As an animal lover, she and her family graciously provide a petting zoo for children of all ages to visit while at the zoo. Along with 4-H involvement, she is involved with Boy Scouts and strives to see many young men accomplish their scouting goals.Over the past four years, Mrs.Hunsaker has assisted with the Agriculture Awareness 4-H school enrichment program. Each year, approximately 1,000 children are involved in the program and have the opportunity to participate in Ag Daze. Sue is a vital part of this experience as she helps to provide them with a hands-on experience through interacting with animals and participating in activities that reinforce classroom lessons. Mrs.Hunsaker is truly impacting countless children not only through traditional 4-H but school enrichment programs.
James "Jim" Jepsen
Mr. Jepsen was an active 4-H member in Pinal County as a youth for 10 years. He was a recipient of an International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) scholarship and traveled to Poland in his last year as a 4-H club member. Jim became a 4-H volunteer leader approximately 29 years ago, after he attained his degree in Agriculture from the University of Arizona and has served in countless leadership positions. He served as one of the original “Purple Ribbon Boosters” helping 4-H’ers with their livestock projects. He continues to serve on key 4-H committees, including scholarship, record book judging and summer residential camp. Jim is a vital volunteer for the Pinal County 4-H Summer Residential Camping program, having served in this role for 27 years. His role as Head Cook is critical to the overall success of the camp season. He has served as many as three meals a day for 110 people per session for as up to three week-long sessions per summer. Jim is compassionate, kind, big-hearted, generous and responsible. He currently works for Lowe’s in the Casa Grande Valley area.
Julia started in 4-H when her daughter joined a clowning group with Graham County 4-H. Julia was raised in San Simon and had strong ties with the San Simon Roadrunners 4-H club through the FHA (Future Homemakers of America). She and her daughter started attending both San Simon and Safford meetings. Being a single parent, she was impressed with all of the role models that were in the 4-H program. She served as a project leader and community club leader with the San Simon Roadrunners and now serves a resource volunteer. As the community club leader, she was constantly making sure she was informed and prepared, so that she could help the members to the best of her abilities. Julia and her 10 daughter Patty were both active on the county level. Julia served as secretary with the County 4-H Council, as a judge for county demonstrations, and has helped organize and conduct numerous events. She volunteered for many years during the county fair as a superintendent, helping with the livestock auction and was always willing to pitch in and help where needed. Julia now serves on the Cochise County Cooperative Extension Advisory Board, as the treasurer for the Cochise County Fair Association, is a San Simon Schools Booster Club member, and Save Our Students committee member. Julia’s real passion has always been the Cloverbuds. The minute that a child realizes that they have created something or learned something new is priceless. She is often told that past members remember learning the correct way to set a table or painting with sand. “All the projects were fun! That is what makes life worth living — giving of yourself.” For years she offered an after school venue for kids once a month. She was selected as the Cochise County Outstanding 4-H Leader in 2003. Julia has been a great role model and a tremendous supporter to many over the years.
Barbara Killian has been a 4-H project leader for more than 20 years and served as the Chino Valley Latigo/ Breakaway Community Club Leader for multiple years. In addition, she has held the Treasurer and Secretary positions at the County level for multiple years. Projects that Barbara has led include horse, beef, sheep, and vet science. She has also been a livestock judging coach for several years, including taking a judging team to Louisville, Kentucky in 2001. Members of her horse club have competed at the Denver show and gone on to be members and coaches of university equestrian teams. Barbara has always stepped up into any position that needs her. She leads by example and enjoys sharing her knowledge of 4-H and livestock with any who ask. She has been an enormous motivator for members to stay in their projects, she has been creative with financial arrangements and support for any member seeking to advance in skill or breeding projects. She gives support and opinions to leaders and members on furthering their education in livestock management, and provides both kids and leaders opportunities for hands on learning through her ranch and veterinary clinic. Barbara participates in livestock clinics and camps along with the club members, setting the example for them that they can always learn something new and continue growing. She has helped with scholarships for members that needed financial support and provides opportunities for those kids to work off their scholarship. She works hard to raise the standards of the breeding animals the kids use and includes them in her breeding stock searches. Barbara and her husband, Dr. Miles Killian, DVM as well as her daughter, Dr. Raenell Killian, DVM are very generous with their knowledge and resources. Barbara has arranged for Miles and Raenell to perform procedures on the kids’ animals as a teaching topic, usually at no charge to the members. The kids have gone on calls with Dr. Killian, performing and learning skills such as castration of swine and horses, dehorning, hernia surgeries, teeth cleaning and extraction — all of this arranged by Barbara. It isn’t unusual for her to start calling around to members to come to her farm to watch or participate in an interesting procedure at a moment’s notice. She is willing to come and help the kids through any medical situations with their animals. She has a degree in animal nutrition and shares that knowledge freely. Barbara is a huge supporter of higher education and encourages kids to use their livestock knowledge for scholarships and use sale money to fund their education. She always donates lambs to be raffled to raise money for youth camps and clinics, as well as a lamb for our buyers BBQ. Barbara Killian’s 20 years of service to Yavapai County 4-H has been valuable and exemplary.
Judy has dedicated much of her life to teaching young people, not only in the classroom, but outside in various organizations including 4-H. For many years, Judy did it all — community club leader, home economics and general projects, small animal, large animal, and horse committees, food booth committee, foods booth coordinator trainer — wherever needed, you can count on her to be there, and not just in name, but as a contributing force! Judy lives in the Wellton/Mohawk area, a rural community that depends on the many volunteers that come together to raise funds and awareness for basic necessities such as medical and ambulance service. Judy helps any way she can, and can always be counted on to organize a group of people to accomplish tasks. Judy is great at enlisting the help of the young people, encouraging them to unite and support the community. She first became a 4-H leader when her daughter was going through the program and after taking some time off, she became involved again when her granddaughter went through the program. She proudly remembers going to camp and collecting the most feathers — we want to think for good behavior! Judy is about to start a new chapter in her life when she moves to Houston, Texas. She will truly be missed for her leadership and her commitment to youth and her community...and the Yuma County 4-H program is certainly losing a friend. We will forever be grateful for Judy’s willingness to pitch in wherever needed: From sitting on a freezing cement bench grading small animal quizzes to taking bags of dirty towels home to wash each night of the fair, she was willing to do just about anything. She is a very special lady that now Texas is lucky to have.
Kenneth Sanford Olson (Deceased)
Born in 1922 in Makoti, North Dakota, Kenneth Sanford Olson was the eldest of three children. His father died when he was only 14, so with his mother and two sisters, he took over running the family farm. In 1942 he returned to the farm after one year of college and began teaching grades 1–8 in Makoti’s one room school house. There, he started the Atomic Worker 4-H club that worked on electrification projects in rural North Dakota, bringing electricity to farm houses for the first time. Olson joined Cooperative Extension in 1950 as the County Extension Agent in Dickey County, and from 1954 to 1961 was North Dakota’s Assistant State 4-H Club Leader. In 1962, Olson moved his family to Arizona to serve as Arizona’s Extension State Program Leader, and from 1969 to 1974 served as State Agricultural Program Leader. He was director of The University of Arizona’s Extension Winter School from 1963 to 1971. Beginning in 1974, he served as State Extension 4-H specialist, until he left Cooperative Extension in 1995. While a 4-H specialist, he initiated new record book and awards program guidelines, and a new small animal showmanship method that is still used today and has been adopted by many states. He served as local 4-H Club Leader of the Arizona Wildcats 4-H Club in Tucson for 20 plus years. Each year, the club members selected a different project that all members would learn about as a group. The club pioneered many project areas. If no project material was available, Olson developed his own, writing goals and objectives around the subject. The Arizona Wildcats 4-H Club exemplified the true spirit of the 4-H Club program. The club would hold yearly Pre-fair and Achievement Days in the back yard and invite neighbors and friends. Members would exhibit
Rosemary Sullivan, 4-H Leader from the Hualapai Indian Reservation, has served for 15 years as a leader and for 13 years as Key Leader in addition to serving as a project leader in sewing, foods, goat, pack goat, rabbits, swine, sheep, and arts & crafts. She has also served as Mohave County Sheep Project Leader. She was a 4-H member in sewing project when she was 10 years old in Fairfax, Oklahoma. She made a blouse/ skirt and embroidered a tea towel. Being a 4-H leader on the Hualapai Indian Reservation has been rewarding and a learning experience for her. “Over the years I have tried to encourage our members to look beyond our reservation boundaries for 4-H opportunities and experiences. I have chaperoned many members to the University of Arizona for 4-H events, the yearly carcass contest and county activities. Our club has seen generations of families, former members, come back as leaders and enroll their children in 4-H. We have grown as a club from only livestock projects to include the Cloverbuds (ages 5-8) and other general projects,” she said. “I enjoy seeing the members grow up and gain that self-confidence to be able to take on the officer roles for the club, help the younger and newer members with their projects, and show their projects at the fair each year. Our members have had opportunities to attend JOLT, Citizenship Washington focus and National 4-H Congress. Three of my four girls are former 4-H members, ages 20-27, now. I have four (4) grandchildren in 4-H. Time flies by quickly, children grow up too fast, and it’s great to see former 4-H’ers as responsible young adults. 4-H has been a plus for me, I have gained a lot of resources and friends that are now part of my extended 4-H family.”
Cecilia (Eve) Williams
“Busy people get things done” could be the motto of Greenlee County 4-H Leader, Eve Williams. Eve is a busy home schooling mother and pastor’s wife. Eve became a leader when her children wanted to participate in a project and there was not a leader. She hit the ground running and became Community Club Leader. Her small club struggled to stay chartered, but she persevered with the help of a couple of other tenacious leaders. The Mighty Mountain Kids is now a thriving club and really knows the meaning of “Learn by Doing” under the guidance of Eve. She constantly encourages a community spirit in the Clifton/Morenci area by getting her members involved in community events like parades and town festivals. By doing so, she promotes 4-H and touts its great leadership and youth development opportunities. Dog obedience, market goat, Cloverbuds, photography, and poultry are just a few of the projects Eve has led. Eve wants the best for youth and it is evident in her desire to make sure members meet requirements and get the most out of their 4-H experience. Eve serves on the county Leaders’ Council. She has been helpful in organizing the county’s 4-H awards night. Eve and her son organized a county-wide Sports Camp during one summer. This was open to all 4-H youth who wanted to participate 14 in various sporting activities. She has been creative in organizing and participating in all county camps. She never hesitates to do what is needed and often volunteers to chair a committee or take on a task. Eve exhibits true commitment and devotion to leading the Greenlee County 4-H Program and the 4-H youth she serves.