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Arizona Farming & Ranching HallOf Fame Announces 2018 inductees

 | Published on 10/26/2017
Eight member of Arizona’s pioneering agricultural community have been named to the 2018

Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame.  This year all but one of the honorees are being inducted posthumously.

The honorees are:  Living; Jerry Cullison –Yuma Valley; Posthumous; Basilio Aja – Buckeye; John Evans – West Valley; Kenneth Fooks – Chandler; O.L. “Mack” McDaneil – West Valley; Marianne Etchart Manterola & Jose Antonio “Tony” Manterola Sheep Company – Casa Grande; William “Bo” Warren – Casa Grande/Arizona City. and for Special Contributions to Agriculture; Dr. Lucis Nelson “Ben” Butler, DVM – Glendale.

Each honoree was chosen for their contributions in the fields of farming, ranching, Agri-business, education or science by an impartial panel of Arizonans with a diversity of backgrounds. They will be inducted at the 2018 Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame Honoree Dinner on March 3, 2018.at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. Each of their stories will be told in volume two of the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame book, which will be published in 2022.

 

 

Jerry W. Cullison

 

Jerry W/ Cullison credits his father for instilling in him the love of the land.  Joseph Ralph Cullison was an agricultural education teacher in Illinois and here in Arizona.

 

The younger Collison states that, “All I ever wanted to be was a farmer.”  He graduated from the University of Arizona with distinction in 1959 and went to Wellton-Mohawk Valley in Yuma County to farm 480 acres of land owned by his parents.  That soon grew into 3000 acres of owned and rented land.  Always active in the agricultural community he became president of the Yuma Farm Bureau in the 1970s.

 

A huge supporter of FFA, Jerry says the Future Farmers of America organization was one of the largest influences in his life growing up. 

 

Jerry has been involved with the annual Tractor Rodeo to benefit the Yuma Regional Medical Foundation, on whose board he served for 40 years. Through Cullison Farms he and his family have given one million dollars to the Yuma Regional Medical Center Heart Center.  In 2015 Cullison Farms purchased a new ambulance for Tri-Valley Ambulance.

 

Jerry was named the Agribusiness Person of the Year by the AZ Vocational Ag Teachers Association in 1987 and received the U of A Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He received the Arizona FFA Foundation’s Inaugural Blue & Gold Award 2017.

 

 

Basilio Aja

1929-2014

 

The Aja name is well known in the sheep industry.  A second-generation sheep rancher, Bass’ parents came to this country from the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain.

 

Bass, as he was known, was born in Seligman, Arizona in 1929. Each winter his family followed the sheep down to the Valley, where he graduated from Glendale High School.  When it came time for college Bass stayed home to help his father with his growing sheep operation, allowing his brother to go instead.

 

In addition to his love for the land and his animals, Bass loved to build things: stock ponds, water towers, fences, corrals, tables.  At one point he built a bridge over a dangerous wash in Northern Arizona that still stands.

 

A lifetime sheep men, he served as vice president of the Arizona Wool Growers Association and was a founding board member of the American Lamb Company, a member of the Sheep Advisory Committee of the American Farm Bureau, Western Range Association, and Mountain Plains Agricultural Association. 

 

In 1912 he and his wife Irene were named pioneer royalty of the Buckeye Pioneer Day parade.

 

Bass Aja passed away on April 5, 2014.

 

 

 

Dr. Lucius Nelson “Ben” Butler DVM

1914-2009

 

Veterinarians frequently treat either small animals or large animals.  Not too many treat both but Dr. Lucius Nelson “Ben:” Butler did.

 

Ben was born on a ranch in Mesa Arizona on June 23, 1914, one of four children.  The family moved to Wickenburg and then into Phoenix when his father gave up his dream of becoming a rancher.  He grew up in Phoenix and attended Phoenix Union High School, then went on to receive his degree in Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1937.

 

Ben married Arizona native Evelyn Hammels in 1938.  The couple had three children. When war broke out he joined the Army and served as a major in the U.S. Army Air Force Veterinary Corp until 1945.

 

After World War II the family settled in Glendale where he established the Glendale Animal Hospital. He served the agricultural community in the West Valley for the next 15 years, until an auto accident prevented him from continuing to practice

 

Ben was a member of the Arizona State Veterinary Examining Board and was past president of AZVM.  In 1960 he received an award for dedicated services as Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Arizona Livestock Sanitation Board.  He served in that position until he retired in 1979. He passed away on October 11, 2009 at the age of 94. 

 

 

 

John Evans

1900 - 1962

 

 

John Henry Evans is remembered as a farmer, community leader and farmer.

 

Born in Elsie, Michigan to Robert and Laura Evans in 1900, John ‘s father moved the family to Phoenix the next year where he established a 200-acre farm and registered Holstein dairy.

 

During his early years John worked on the family farm drawing the various markings of the dairy cattle so they could be registered. Photographs were not allowed as proof of  identity at this time.

 

John graduated from Glendale High School in 1918.  His father made him the herdsmen of the dairy and foreman in the farming operations which he did until 1928

 

John and Bertina Brooks were married in 1924.  They lived on the dairy until they built a home in 1935 on a farm John had acquired from his father in 1928.  The homestead was headquarters for all his companies and his family’s home. To help pay for his equipment and farm expenses he started Evans Tillage in about 1930. John traveled all over the Salt River Valley and Casa Grande Valley harvesting grain and doing general tillage work for various vegetable, cotton and grain farmers.  He was a subcontractor for Del E. Webb in the building of the Luke Field runway in 1941.

 

John and his partner Sam Spitalny established Williams Livestock in Williams, Arizona in 1944.   In 1944 John also established the Phoenix Angus Farms in Phoenix, which consisted of 100 registered Aberdeen Angus cattle.  This registered Angus herd was the first in Arizona.

 

John was founding president of the Arizona Aberdeen Angus Association in 1948 and was a founding director of the Arizona Livestock Show 1948.

 

John was a member of the Salt River Project Board of Governors for over 20 years, representing SRP District 3, member of the Fowler Elementary Board of Trustees for over 20 years, and a lifelong member and trustee of the Margaret Brooks Memorial Methodist Church in Phoenix.

 

John died in 1962.  His wife Bertina carried on the running of the registered Angus herd until 1964 when the herd was sold.

 

Kenneth G. Fooks

1900-1980

 

Kenneth G. Fooks spent a lifetime in the field of soil conservation.  Born at the turn of the last century, Kenneth started working on the Civilian Conservation Corps  (CCC) in 1930 as a supervisor.  His assignment was to build small conservation projects in the Midwest with untrained civilians  from  Chicago.

 

Fooks was one of the first people employed by the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) to “awaken public concern for the problems of soil conservation”.  He was eventually hired to manage an SCS rural district in Southern Illinois is in the 1940s.

 

When the Fooks family moved to Chandler in 1962 Kenneth became the new Soil Conservation Service’s Chandler Work Unit Supervisor. He developed a close working relationship with the farmers and ranchers in the East Valley, working to meet the needs of the agricultural families in the area.

 

Working with Congressman John Rhodes and the Salt River Project, new flood control projects came to fruition in the East Valley.  He was one of the original advocates for retaining water on site, eventually leading to the requirement for all cities to require water retention areas for development. 

 

Kenneth’s leadership helped provide needed soils surveys, land leveling, watershed planning, and flood control to the growing East Valley farming and ranching community. He was a leader in getting local farmers and ranchers to implement new conservation techniques on projects that contributed to the overall quality of the watershed for the region.

 

He received the Arizona Governor’s Soil Conservationist of the Year Award in 1975.

 

Kenneth Fooks died in 1989

 

O.L. McDaniel 

1902 -1977

 

A farmer, a ranch and a State politician, O.L. McDaniel served his State and his Country through a very difficult period in its history.

 

Born into a farming family in San Saba, Texas in 1902, O.L. McDaniel was the son of W. A. and Lou Tishie McDaniel.  When he was 15 the family moved to Arizona because of his mother health.  On reaching Phoenix the family camped at the fairground and began looking for property on which to build their future.

 

O.L. attended Phoenix Union High School where he met his future wife, Audra Cartwright.  When the young couple married Audra’s father presented them with a large parcel of land at 43rd Ave, Camelback Rd and Grand Avenue.

 

At first O.L. farmed the land but soon turned to raising cattle.  He and his father-in-law, Manfred Cartwright, formed a partnership that was beneficial to both.  In the summer the cattle would graze on Cartwright’s CC Ranch in Seven Springs then they would fatten them up at O.L’s feed lot on his Glendale ranch.  O.L. would drive the herd down a dirt road, know today as Camelback Road, to Tovera’s stock yards.

 

In 1938 O.L. was urged to run for Representative of Glendale’s District 12.  He was elected Speaker of the House by acclamation.  During his term McDaniel successfully enabled passage of legislation that guaranteed Arizona’s allocation of Colorado River Water.  He successfully pushed for legislation which included a pension fund for teachers. In his letter supporting O.L. McDaniel’s nomination to the Hall of Fame Tom Chauncey II said, “His work continued as an Arizona senator who would receive a personal commendation from then President Truman, for his work to protect the nation’s economy against the impact of WWII.”

 

In addition to his other work, O.L. became Arizona’s first Racing Commissioner.

 

O.L. McDaniel passed away in 1977.

 

 

Marianne Etchart Manterola  1909 –2011

Jose Antonio Manterola 1890 – 1956

 

Jose Antonio “Tony” Manterola and Marianne Etchart Manterola each immigrated to the U.S. from the Pyrenees Mountains at the age of 17. She came from the French region and he from Spain.

 

Since his family raised sheep in the old country it was only natural that when Tony arrived in Texas in 1907 he found work that was familiar to him.  After spending three years in Texas he moved on to Arizona where he had friends.  He went to work for H.B. Kelly and Dr. R.O Raymond in Flagstaff.  Eventually Tony and two friends bought out half of the sheep interest, which consisted of 2000 sheep, He operated the business for a number of years, later selling his interest to try his hand at cattle ranching in California.  The venture proved unsuccessful and he returned to Flagstaff to work as a sheepherder for the Hart Sheep company.

 

In 1922 Tony, Fermin Echeveria, Mario Jorajuria and Mario O’Haco formed the O’Haco Sheep Company. In 1945 Tony sold his interest to acquire Dr. Raymond’s operation, which included a bridge crossing the Verde River which Frank Auza and a number of  Basque herders built earlier.  The bridge allowed him to cross his sheep from one side of the river to the other for grazing.

 

Tony served four terms on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Wool Growers Association, and was appointed by Governor Dan Garvey to serve on the Sheep Sanitary Board.  He and Marianne were known for hosting the annual summer Wool Growers picnic at their Aspen Spring Ranch near Flagstaff each year as part of the annual meeting.

  

Marianne Etchart Manterola immigrated to the U.S. in 1928.  She arrived at Ellis Island by ship and made her way to Flagstaff where she had cousins.  She went to work as a housekeeper for the Babbitt family.  Later she moved to Phoenix where she worked as a nanny for the Dr. Matanovich family until she and Tony were married.   The young couple made their home in the Glendale/Peoria area.

 

Marianne was no stranger to sheep ranching as her father raised sheep on the Argentine Pampas and in France. 

 

Tony and Marianne founded Manterola Sheep Company in 1945, which they operated until his death in 1956.  With the help of her son Joe and daughter Sylvia

Marianne continued the sheep operation until her death in 1911 at the age of 101. Operation of the company passed to the younger generation.

 

Marianne was active as a member of the Arizona Wool Producers Association and Auxiliary, Arizona Cattle Growers Association and was recognized as an Arizona Pioneer Rancher at the National Livestock Show at the age of 75.

 

William “Bo” Warren

1943-2016

 

William “Bo” Warren was a second generation farmer who lived in Arizona City on a farm started by his father and mother, William and Kelly Warren, in the late 1940s. Bo’s father died when he was five years old.

 

Bo was the oldest son.  He had graduated from Grand Canyon College with a degree in physical education, and had a job as a PE coach at the junior high school in Casa Grande.  Circumstances beyond his control intervened and dictated that he quit his job and move his wife Shirley and young family to the farm to take over the operation. 

 

Later he and his second wife, Jackie, purchased the farm and all the equipment.  For many years he leased land south of Arizona City, which he later purchased.

 

He became very successful in the field of agriculture and was a well known figure in the community.  He retired from the water board and was a basketball couch for many years at Santa Cruz High School. 

 

Among the things he is remembered for is his dedication to keeping his farm and surrounding area immaculate.  In his letter supporting William Warren’s nomination Tom Snider said, “For many years Bo could be seen driving along Sunland Gin Road in his truck picking up trash or on his tractor grading the ditch.”

 

Throughout the years he maintained his interest in sports and held season tickets to several of the local team’s games.