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Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame 2019 inductees announced
New members to be introduced at honoree dinner March 2

The Perry family. (AZ Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame/Courtesy)

The Perry family. (AZ Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame/Courtesy)

GLENDALE, AZ. The Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame has announced the names of the 2019 inductees into its membership. The new members will be introduced at the Honorees Dinner at the Wigwam Resort on Saturday, March 2.The class consists of eight Arizona pioneers and pioneering families who have made significant contributions to the field of agriculture in farming, ranching AG-business. education or science.

Each inductee was nominated and went through the selection process conducted by an impartial panel of Arizonans who come from a diversity of backgrounds.

Being honored are: Frank Auza, Flagstaff; Delmar Dee John, Safford; the Perry Family, Badger Spring/Cordes Junction Ranch; Ross Roberts, Buckeye and Karl Gains “Gay” Udall, Eagar. Our living honorees are members of the Chilton Family, Arivaca; Everett Rhodes, Coolidge and Grace Wystrach, Elgin.

Stories of each of the inductees will be told in the book Arizona Farming & Ranching Hall of Fame, volume three, 2018 – 2022, which will be published in 2022.

Tickets for the dinner are available by contacting Executive director Carole DeCosmo at 623-695-9614, by e-mail at codeco2@aol.com, on line at www.azfare.org or by mail at P.O. Box 868, Glendale, Arizona 85311.

Chilton Ranch

The Chilton family has been raising cattle in Arizona since 1885.

Jim and Tom Chilton are the fifth generation ranchers in Arivaca and Three Points, following in the footprints of their parents Ken and Margaret. Jim and his wife Sue live at the family ranch in Aravaca while Tom and his wife Jamie run the Diamond Bell Ranch at Three Points. He has been a managing partner for both ranches since the early 1990s/.

Both couples have been active in supporting cattle ranching in Arizona. Jim and Sue have made many trips to Washington, DC to get Arizona’s message out to Congressmen and Senators.

Tom served as Arizona Cattle Grower’s president. an eight year journey, going up the ladder and serving as past president.

Chilton ancestors arrived from England during the 1650s. Successive generations moved west. In 1885, Ken’s mother’s family, the Cospers, drove cattle to Arizona from Texas and were among the first settlers on the Blue River and in Duncan in Eastern Arizona. His great Grandfather Thomas Langdon Chilton and family arrived in Arizona from Oklahoma Indian Territory by covered wagon in 1898 and eventually settled on a farm and ranch that is now partially covered by Roosevelt Lake.

The Chilton family has been actively involved in farming and ranching in the state ever since.

Everett Rhodes

During his 44 years as an AG educator, Everett Rhodes touched the lives of many of young people and adults. He began his professional career in 1972 as a vocational agricultural instructor at Casa Grand Union High School. In 1986 he was hired by the University of Arizona as a 4-H youth development agent for Pinal County. He was selected as a University of Arizona Project Central participant, (Arizona’s Central for Rural Leadership) Class III in 1987. In 1997 he was made the Director of Project Central. He served as director until 2013 and then decided to return to his previous position as an agricultural extension agent until he retired in 2015.

Before his retirement he served in the role of Community Garden and Small Farm Agent. For approximately two years he worked closely with schools, community organizations and small farm producers to help them learn skills in market gardening and sustainable food production. Because of his agricultural and gardening skills he was able to help many people.

In retirement since 2015, Everett continues to volunteer for the University of Arizona master gardeners program.

Grace Wystrach

Grace Wystrach personifies the old saying you can take the girl off of the ranch but you can’t take the ranch out the girl.

Grace’s parents, Bob and Betty Townsend, bought Rain Valley Ranch near Sonoita in 1949 when Grace was nine years old but that was not her first experience with ranch life. She has been enamored with it since the day she was lifted into the saddle in front of her mother at the age of two.

A U of A graduate, Grace moved to California to become a teacher. While there she met and married Marine pilot Mike Wystrach. After 17 years in the military the couple moved their family back to Sonoita where they ran Grace’s father’s ranch and started one of their own. Today she sells her Hereford bulls at two Arizona sales each year.

Grace is considered a force to be reckoned with. She volunteers with the local 4-H Council and the Fair and Rodeo Association of Santa Cruz County and is a member of the American Herford Association.

Frank Azua Sr. 1905-1999

One of Frank Auza Senior’s major accomplishments was in 1940 when he and other sheepherders built the sheep bridge over the Verde River at Bloody Basin. The bridge was used by many sheep outfits needing to cross the river safely to take their sheep between summer and winter pastures at all stages of water levels.

In 1959 Frank bought the Lockett Sheep Company and formed the Auza Sheep Company. He was a member of the Arizona Wool Growers Association and from 1926 until his sons took over the job he was the official cook for the Wool Growers barbecue each year. Active in his community was a member of the Western Range and a lifetime member of the sheriff’s posse in Flagstaff. He retired from the sheep industry in 1976 and enjoyed his winners in Tacna Arizona and his summers in Flagstaff until his death in 1999 at the age of 94.

Frank’s Basque upbringing instilled in him a strong work ethic that he passed on to his children. He and his wife Elsie (Barreras) Auza had eight children; Frances, Joe, Frank Jr., Pete, Johnny, Martin, George and Elyse. Five of the boys continued the family tradition of raising sheep

Delmar Dee John 1920-2008

Delmar Dee john was a native of Safford Arizona. He was a third generation farmer, growing up on the family farm.

A natural born athlete, he lettered in football, basketball and track. He attended Gila Junior College, now known as Eastern Arizona College, in Thatcher and lettered in the same three sports. He won the state pole vaulting award and heavyweight boxing championship award. He transferred to Brigham Young University on a football scholarship but was only there one football season when his dad called him home to the family farm because his mother was ill.

A crew captain in the Air Force from 1942 t0 1946, he served in the 551 First Air Engineer Squadron and worked on17 bomber.

Delmar and his wife Jean had five children. When his father passed away Delmar moved to Bouse, Arizona and started farming on his own. From there he went to Rainbow Valley. During that time he was called by Bishop Billy Haggard to farm leased ground to raise money for the building fund for the LDS church. That fund help pay for the building that presently sits on Easton Avenue in Buckeye. He later purchased desert ground between Buckeye and Gila Bend and developed acreage which he farmed until his death. He also farmed at Hassayampa with Lyle Keane, the Enterprise Ranch and the LVL ranches with Paul Smith and Erwin John, and the 3200 acres on Paloma Ranch. Before he started winding down his cotton farming operation he was farming 4000 acres.

Perry Family

Farming, ranching, and education have been very important in the lives of William Henry Perry and his family.

At the age of 26 he and Georg Helm became business partners and set up farming operations, outside of Bakersfield. On a visit home he met Mary Agnes Clark and married her. He returned to California but Mary Agnes stayed in Massachusetts until the birth of their first child.

William Henry and George sold their 160 acre farm and went into the sheep business, moving their operation to Arizona. They set up a winter camp at Badger Springs. William Henry built a house there and decided to run sheep from Badger Springs to Flagstaff and back. In 1883 the partners sold their sheep operation and William Henry moved his family to an area east of Cordes where he homesteaded the Perry Cordes Ranch.

With no schools in the area the Perry’s brought tutors in to teacher their children. When the sixth child was born they decided a school district was needed in the area. William Henry petitioned the Board of Supervisors and the petition was approved. On September 17, 1888 Cordes District 41 was established and William Henry was chosen as a trustee. He served in that position from 1888 to 1891 and his wife followed from 1892 to 1902. In 1904 William Henry sold the Perry Cores Ranch and moved to Phoenix. He died in 1929.

Many of the Perry’s nine children have continued in the fields of agriculture and education.

Ross Roberts 1898 -1981

Ross Roberts was the brand inspector in the Buckeye area for the Livestock Sanitary Board for 27 years starting in 1938. His father and brother Roach were also brand inspectors.

An Arizona pioneer and rancher, Ross was born in Phoenix on September 23, 1898. As soon as his mother was able to travel, they went home to Palo Verde, Arizona where his father had homesteaded a few years earlier.

When he was about 12 years old his father gave him his start in the cattle business, two heifers. In 1918 he bought 40 acres from his brother Lester. Those acres were part of his dad’s homestead. Between the years of 1935 and ‘49 he acquired 70 acres from the Woods family.

Ross’ ranch brand has an interesting history. When his father was 16, in1890, he had the pitchfork brand recorded in Maricopa County. It was later transferred to the territory and then to the state. It was transferred on to Ross and his son Bud and now is in his grandson Tom’s name.

Ross died December 31, 1981.

Karl Gaius “Gay” Udall 1898-1965

Karl Gaius “Gay” Udall was born into a ranching family in Eagar in Arizona’s White Mountains in 1891. For a period during World W 1 he served in France, but the war ended very soon after his arrival, allowing him to return home to his wife Blanche and their first child.

Gay graduated from BYU. He worked for a local rancher, was a cattle inspector and ran his own place. Around 1935 he went into business with his brother Joe, running cattle and sheep, but later went out of the sheep business and he spent time acquiring land, cattle and horses.

A community oriented person, from 1922 to 1926 he served as secretary of the Springerville Grazing Association. He helped organize the Arizona Hereford Breeders Association and was active with the state and national Cattle Growers Association. He was also the treasure of the Springerville/Eagar Airport Association and worked to help build a larger, better airport. He was a member of the U.S. Highway 60 Association, working to promote good roads in the region and served as president of the Round Valley Water Users in the mid-‘40s, developing reservoirs from which citizens and visitors are still benefiting.

Gay and his wife had six children, two daughters and four sons. He died in 1965 at the age of 74.

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