We remember Jerry Cullison not just as the founding President of the Arizona Agricultural Education/FFA Foundation, but also as a man who believed and stood strongly for agricultural education and the FFA. Jerry was a product of the system, having served as a National Vice President representing the West, and took the ideals of the FFA and articulated those throughout his life. With his lifelong farming in the Wellton area he supported the local FFA chapter, Antelope, for more than 40 years by buying every new FFA member their jackets.
But it was much more than that. He and his wife Lynne believed so strongly in agricultural education that they established a $1 million endowment through the Foundation to support the education of future agricultural teachers through the University of Arizona’s Department of Agricultural Education, Technology and Innovation. This endowment will continue to make a difference to teachers and those they serve for generations.
Dr. Robert Torres, chair of the Agricultural Education, Technology and Innovation department, concurs. “We remain grateful for the J.R. Cullison Endowment in providing critical support for students pursuing a career in school based agricultural education while at the University of Arizona. The impact of this support will continue to be borne out in the lives and daily interactions these teachers have with their students.”
We will also always remember Jerry for his love of agriculture, agricultural education and the FFA program that impacted his life and that he continues to impact through his and Lynne’s generous support to agricultural education and the FFA.
At Jerry’s funeral, pastor Cecil Pratt said that Jerry believed in the ‘Fs, including the Phs.’ Pratt went on to explain that what he meant by that was this, that Jerry loved his God and was a faithful man, he loved his family, he loved farming, he loved philanthropy, and he loved the FFA. I can’t imagine a better statement for summing up Jerry than that he loved the ‘Fs’, as Pastor Pratt told it.
In the foyer area of the church in Wellton, there were numerous pictures of him with his family, his friends and receiving honors throughout his life including receiving the first ever Blue and Gold award given by the FFA Foundation. Also in the foyer were the numerous plaques and awards he had received. Honestly, the area was packed with remembrances from a life well lived.
But what struck me was when you went into the chapel; next to the casket was a table with a large picture of Jerry and his National Vice President FFA jacket. What a great statement that next to Jerry was the symbol of the FFA organization that he had served so well throughout his life.
His service to agricultural education and our youth is and will always be unparalleled. He will be missed.