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Celebrating The Life of Wilbur H. Wuertz

By Guest

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Wilbur H. Wuertz recently passed away at the age of 93.  Born April 10, 1923 in Revillo, South Dakota to Fred and Eunice Wuertz. Wilbur was the second of five children.  His family moved to Coolidge, AZ in 1929 to farm.

Throughout his lifetime, Wuertz was dedicated to serving the public.  He attended the University of Arizona prior to enlisting during World War II where he served as an Army Air Force pilot and instructor.  He eventual graduated from the University of Arizona, College of Agriculture in Animal Husbandry in 1948. He worked for the University of Arizona Extension Service prior to farming independently in Pinal County.

Wuertz was instrumental in the creation of the Supima Association of America and served as its Chairman and on Supima’s Board from 1966-2007.  He was the former General Manager of the Arizona Cotton Planting Seed Distributors and responsible for building the offices that Supima has called home for almost 40 years.

Among his many contributions, he actively participated on several boards including: the Arizona Cotton Growers; Arizona Grain Board; President of Cotton Council International in 1977; Calcot, Ltd.; Cotton Board; Maricopa Agricultural Center Advisory Board; the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Administrative Council; and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Wilbur also served as mayor of Coolidge, Arizona from 1998 to 2006.

Over the course of Wilbur’s life, he was recognized for his service with numerous awards including being honored by the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with its Distinguished Citizen Award in 1970, the Lifetime Award in 1992, the Alumni Association Centennial Achievement Award in 1998 and the Arizona Agriculturist of the Year award from the Ag 100 Council in 2005.

There is always a sense of sorrow when learning of the passing of a loved one.  But one only need look at a life lived to be thankful for the opportunity to have befriended Wilber H. Wuertz, he was an inspiration to many.

“Wilbur was involved with Supima since its inception in 1954 and was known to be the organization’s most ardent and vocal supporter.  A large part of Wilbur’s life and passion was working with organizations that supported education and agriculture.  Wilbur has so many remarkable traits, including being extremely humble, kind and generous.    He extended a helping hand and kindness to all, without ever asking for, or expecting anything in return.  I’ve never known a more enthusiastic and positive person than Wilbur Wuertz.  Wilbur was often loud, fun and gregarious, but always a true gentlemen.  In 40 years of knowing Wilbur, I never heard him complain about life or any situation.  Wilbur was a true friend who endeared himself to everyone who was fortunate enough to have known him and be in his presence.    Wilbur, was without a doubt most deserving to be called a member of The Greatest Generation.” – JESSE W. CURLEE, FORMER PRESIDENT/CEO OF SUPIMA

“Wilbur was truly an amazing person. His love of life and the cotton business was there for everyone to see. Wilbur was a leader in the development of the Pima business in Arizona. He once told me, with a smile on his face, that “he knew that California could grow Pima, he only wished that we had waited a little longer.”  – JAMES B. HANSEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF SUPIMA

“I will always remember his enthusiastic and generous spirit.  Wilbur was always so alive!  So much so that regardless of how you were feeling on any given day, if you were fortunate enough to run into him he could end a surge of positive energy that was infectious.” – JARRAL T. NEEPER, PRESIDENT OF CALCOT, LTD.

“I was saddened to hear of Wilbur’s passing.  Most of us knew Wilbur for his wit and his “famous” sayings about things and people.  I will remember Wilbur for his great passion regarding agriculture and especially the cotton industry.  I was privileged to serve with Wilbur in several organizations and valued his counsel and advice on many occasions.  Arizona and the nation as well has benefited from Wilbur’s lifetime of service to agriculture.  He will be missed.” – W. BRUCE HEIDEN, FORMER PRESIDENT, ARIZONA COTTON GROWERS ASSOCIATION AND OWNER, 4H FARMS

Wilbur’s most famous line…. “If things got any better, I couldn’t stand it!”  Thank you, Wilbur for sharing the secret of living life to its fullest…and then some!

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