Grant A Parson '52 Enters Chapter Eternal

Brother Grant A. Parsons, a retired vice president of Valley National Company Insurance, died Jan. 14, 2013, at his home.

Brother Parsons graduated from the University of Arizona in 1952.

A native of Phoenix, Parsons graduated from North Phoenix High School in 1946. Enlisting in the Navy after graduation, he served on Johnston Island in the Central Pacific and was honorably discharged in 1948.

Upon his return to Arizona, he attended Phoenix College and then the University of Arizona where he was initiated into Beta Phi. In 1956, he married his former high school classmate, Barbara Jean Ross, and adopted her two young children, Ross and Stephanie.

He became an insurance agent and after five years of night school, earned his CPCU designation and went to work for Valley National Company Insurance where he became vice president, retiring in 1992. Parsons was a member of the Phoenix Country Club for nearly half a century.

He is survived by his wife, two children, a grand-daughter and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be at Christ Church of the Ascension, 4015 E. Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley on Monday, January 28, 2013, at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Parson’s name to your local Humane Society.

All honor to his name.

Two more Beta Phis named Significant Sigs (Alumni chapter member Lewis also receives honor)


John R. Norton 



Randy Lewis


Dr. Robert Andrews 


John R. Norton

For the fourth time in the past three years, a Beta Phi has been named a Significant Sig, the most prestigious award given by Sigma Chi International Fraternity.

This year two 1950 UA graduates received the honor: business executive John R. Norton III of Phoenix and Dr. Robert O. Andrews, an anesthesiologist from La Jolla, Calif. They are the 22nd and 23rd Beta Phis so honored.

Randy Lewis

In addition, Randy Lewis, Alpha Chapter, Miami ’68, a former U.S. Air Force jet pilot, business executive and longtime volunteer with the YMCA of Southern Arizona, was selected as a Significant Sig.

Business executive Terry Valeski, ’68, was named in 2012 and heart surgeon Donald Buckley ’78 in 2011.

Brother Norton has served as the chairman of the board and CEO of J.R. Norton Co., an agricultural production company in Phoenix founded in 1955, when he engaged in diversified agriculture including crop production and cattle feeding.

He served as the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1985-86. He has been a director of University of Phoenix Online since March 1997. He also has served as a director of Pinnacle West, Aztar Corp. (casino hotels), Terra Industries Inc., a producer and marketer of nitrogen products and methanol. He has served as a director of Arizona Public Service Co. and the University of Arizona Foundation

During his undergraduate years, Norton, a Beta Phi legacy, served the chapter as pro-consul with Brother “Swede” Johnson as consul. He is a member of the Beta Phi Hall of Honor. The UA School of Family and Consumer Sciences building is named after Norton and his wife, Doris, a UA Kappa Gamma.

Brother Norton has been recognized and received numerous awards. Among these are a honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Arizona, Distinguished Citizen Award by University of Arizona Alumni Association in 1981, Produce Man of the Year in 1983, an entrepreneurial fellow of the Karl Eller Center for the Study of Private Market Economy in the College of Business at the University of Arizona in 1984, the Western Growers Association Award of Honor in 1985, the Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Achievement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the 1998 University of Arizona “Bear Down” Alumnus Award.

Dr. Robert O. Andrews

Brother Andrews served for 32 years at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., where he held several positions, including chairman of the anesthesia department. He also was chairman of the Anesthesia Services Medical Group, the country’s largest anesthesia group. He retired in 1996.

Dr. Andrews has dedicated his life to helping others less fortunate, including sponsoring and paying for immigrants from the Philippines He and his wife, Tillie, were hosts to dozens of French exchange students, Lebanese medical students and others.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 17 in June 1944 and was based in the Philippines. After the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945 and the Japanese surrender, he was stationed in Hiroshima where his detachment was responsible for retrieving, caring for U.S. soldiers and gathering evidence of atrocities.

After the war he enrolled at the UA under the G.I. Bill and as a legacy pledged Sigma Chi. He began his dream of becoming a physicians by completing a degree in zoology. He then obtained a master’s in biology and went on to medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, graduating in 1957.

After his internship he returned to Yuma and established a general practice. He was on his way to a long and successful medical career.

“He has never lost his appreciation for Sigma Chi, its brotherhood and ideals,” his son-in-law Mark Skeen of Alpha Upsilon at USC. “He is the epitome of what a Significant Sig represents and what it tells the world about our cherished fraternity.”

Brother Lewis graduated from officer training in the Air Force as a second lieutenant after graduation. Then he attended navigator training for a year where he was named Distinguished Graduate. Then he flew 236 combat missions as a navigator during which he was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and 17 air medals.

When he returned to the United States he entered a fighter pilot training program with 60 other officers. He graduated second in his class and again was named Distinguished Graduate. During an eight-month combat training program, he graduated first in a class of 60 and received the Barry Goldwater Top Gun Award.

After a three-year stint on Okinawa, Lewis resigned as a captain and went to work at Gates Learjet. He moved steadily up at Gates until he was named youngest general manager of FlightSafety International, the largest aviation training company in the world. He was assigned to the Tucson where he worked for 25 years before retiring last October. He helped train more than 4,000 Learjet pilots.

He also was active in community service. From 1993-96 he was a member of a committee of 50 community leaders in Tucson to bring an annual football bowl game to Tucson. He has been a member of the board of directors of the YMCA of Southern Arizona since 1992, serving as its chairman from 2003-05. He has served in virtually every capacity at the Y in his 20 years. In 2000 Brother Lewis was honored as YMCA Volunteer of the Year. In 2012 he was named Honorary Life Member, the highest honor the Y gives to volunteers.

One of his main contributions was to secure more than $100,000 in funding to support the All Kids Swim program that provides free swimming lessons for Tucson children. Last year 1,722 children learned to swim at the Y.

The Significant Sig Award recognizes “those alumni members whose achievements in their fields of endeavor have brought honor and prestige to the name of Sigma Chi.” The Sigma Chi International Fraternity has recognized more than 1,500 brothers since the award’s inception at the 1935 Grand Chapter. Alumni in any profession, occupation, or service work are eligible for consideration.

Each Significant Sig receives a personalized medal, certificate and lapel pin.

The other Beta Phis who have been honored as Significant Sigs are: Donald E. Breckenridge ’53, Earl H. Carroll ’48, Peter J. Corpstein ’52, James E. Durbin ’47, Lloyd E. Eisele ’61, Barry M. Goldwater ’32, George Gregson ’24, Luther S. Helms ’66, Marvin D. Johnson ’50, David M. Jones ’36, Burton Kinerk ’57, Edwin C. Lynch, ’57, S. Jack McDuff ’51, Lewis C. Murphy ’55, Jerry M. Patterson ’56, Frank Sancet ’31, Morris K. Udall ’49, Rufus von KleinSmid ’25 and Gordon R. Willey ’35

Campaign Donor Update

February 26, 2013
Dear Beta Phi Campaign Donors,
$800,000 Beta Phi Room Gift Phase a Success!
We are pleased to report that we have officially achieved our $800,000 funding documentation goal for the “Room Gift Phase" of the New House Capital Campaign. Many thanks to those Brothers and the supporters of Beta Phi who participated as donors in this phase of the campaign. At this stage we anticipate some more good news and that additional pledge documentation will be received in the next 30 days that will increase our “Room Gift Phase" pledge total to $900,000.
During the next two months our key focus will be on three critical projects that must be completed before discussions with construction lenders are undertaken. These projects are as follows:
1. Undergraduate Campaign Gift: The additional positive event that occurred over the past two weeks is that the Beta Phi undergraduate chapter has voted to undertake a special capital campaign project that has the potential to fund a $200,000 donation to the New House Campaign over the next three years.
At this juncture approximately $50,000 of the contribution has been funded and will be donated to the campaign by June 1. Approximately $100,000 of the donation is to be funded through annual undergraduate payments over the next four years. The funding of the $50,000 balance will depend upon the success of an undergraduate parent capital campaign that is to be undertaken over the next 60 days. (Note: At this stage four families have made pledges to the campaign)
2. Communication with our Campaign Donors: As many of you are aware, the Beta Phi New House Campaign has been under way for seven years and we now need to communicate our campaign success to each of our donors. Our objective is to start construction of the "New House" in July and to encourage all of the donors to complete their pledge payments as quickly as possible.
In certain cases our donors have been delinquent in their payments as they were not confident that the capital campaign would be successful. We are now in the process of updating them on the success of the campaign and encouraging them to complete their pledge payments as quickly as possible so that we can reduce the size of the construction loan that will be needed to build our New House.
3. University of Arizona Plan Approvals: The Sigma Chi Building Company Board of Directors recently approved additional funding for the refinement of the “New House” architectural plans. During the next 90 days Alumni Chuck Colton and Nyal Leslie will be working with University officials as well as the project architect and contractor so that these plans can be refined and approved by the University.
Our plan is to successfully complete these three projects and to be in a position to move forward with the construction of the New Beta Phi House. We want to thank those Brothers that have made donations to the campaign and have been very patient and supportive over the past several years. Our Campaign Steering Committee and those Brothers that have taken an active leadership role in the "decade calling team" efforts have been critical to our success. Please note that we have included a partial list of the Beta Phi Alumni that have assisted us in these efforts – many thanks!
Jack McDuff 51 Bill Wamsley 68 Ed Reading 84 Walter Pratt 93
Jerry Tolle 55 Bill Gibney 69 George Cravens 85 Dave West 93
Jim Corbet 61 Larry Hecker 69 Scott Langley 85 James Fidducia 95
John Shultz 64 Jack Wright 69 Scott Gilbreath 85 Skyler Badenoch 96
Dennis Harman 62 John Keeler 71 Tim Arendt 86 Jeff Cramer 96
Briggs Wood 62 Mike McWilliams 73 Gary Roberts 87 James Kuykendall 96
Joe Long 64 Steve Schuyler 79 Jim Campbell 88 Justin Klump 98
Dan Skelton 64 Doug Ehrenkranz 79 Doug Tilford 89 Eric Wedel 02
Jeff Lewis 65 Joe Markling 80 Corey Watson 89 Patrick McNamara 04
Bob Bretz 67 Flip May 80 Mark Wood 89 Hardy Dracket 05
Randy Leathers 67 David Bina 82 Keith Zusi 90 Ben Eastman 05
Michael Murphy 67 Marc Blackman 82 Matt Tuchi 91 Hunter Curtis 13
Mic Williams 67 Barry Gabel 84 Herb Borovansky 93 Jonanthan Eastman 13
In Hoc,
Lisle Payne ’64 Jon Underwood ’64 Bob Bretz ’67
Paul Muscenti ’58 Ed Reading ’85 Steve Schuyler ’79


Swede Johnson’s Family Establishes Scholarships

A $1,000 scholarship has been established by The Sigma Chi Foundation for a Beta Phi undergraduate that grew out of an inactive memorial endowment established in 1987 following the death of Brother Swede Johnson’s son in a 1987 airplane crash as he was returning from a Balfour Leadership Training Workshop.

The scholarship will be awarded in the name of Swede’s widow, Stella Johnson, and her daughter Karen and son-in-law Ken Riebe. A similar scholarship will be available to San Jose State’s Epsilon Theta Chapter. It was set up in the name of another of the Johnsons’ daughters Lynn Engle and her husband Brother Kim, who was an Epsilon Theta alumnus.

The scholarship money comes from come a memorial set up to remember Brother Marshall Johnson, a member of Beta Sigma Chapter at Tennessee. The Johnson family established an endowment that was used to bring prominent speakers annually to the Balfour workshop. Some of the speakers were the following Brothers: NFL football player Mike Ditka, Congressman Ike Skelton, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., and Ken Taylor, Canadian ambassador to Iran who helped six Americans escape from Iran during the hostage crisis during a covert rescue featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “Argo.”

The program was abolished three years after Swede Johnson’s death, and $55,400 set unused in the foundation’s coffers. Eighteen months ago Brother Jack McDuff suggested that the family set up the scholarship with earnings from the endowment. The family agreed and the foundation recently authorized the scholarships.

The remaining $5,400 was given to the Beta Phi new house campaign so that Swede’s name would appear on the plaque for the room dedicated to the 1950s’ classes.

The foundation will ask members of the two chapters to apply for the scholarships.

In other scholarship news, former Beta Phi Consul Jon Eastman has received the first S. Jack McDuff leadership scholarship of $1,000 in honor of the International Fraternity’s 50th Grand Consul, Significant Sig and Beta Phi ’51.

Gregory Harbaugh, the foundation’s president and CEO, said the scholarship was named for McDuff who was the outstanding facilitator/tech of the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop in 1967. “Sigma Chi’s outstanding leadership programs would not exist were it not for men such as Brother McDuff who exemplifies both outstanding leadership and the nature of life-long devotion to our brothers. This scholarship is an expression of our gratitude for his service.”


Sigma Chi seeks approval for new house: Article reprinted from the Daily Wildcat 2/21/13

Article reprinted from the Daily Wildcat

By WHITNEY BURGOYNE , Published February 21, 2013

The UA Sigma Chi fraternity is arranging to build a new fraternity house for its members by fall 2014.

The fraternity has not had its own house since 2003. Construction for the new house, which will be located on First Street and Vine Avenue, will begin in August.

The budget for the new Sigma Chi fraternity house is within the range of $3 million to $4 million. Sigma Chi has been fundraising for this project for the last seven years and now, within the last 60 days of campaigning, has officially reached its goal.

The lease has already been signed for the plot of land where the house will be located and the fraternity only has a few more meetings with the school to get final approval on plans for the house.

Chuck Colton, the house corporation president for Sigma Chi, said the new house will be reminiscent of the Santa Barbara, Spanish-style building that was built for the fraternity in 1923.

The interior will be more modern, with the same dining facilities and full kitchen as in other fraternities. The new house will also have bedrooms for 36 men.

Active members of Sigma Chi, who are currently renting a house from Kappa Sigma, will have to leave by May 15. Kappa Sigma, who left the campus in 2009 due to code of conduct issues, will not officially move back into the house until August.

Johanne Ives, the assistant dean of students for Fraternity and Sorority Programs, said that since the UA doesn’t own any of the properties, they cannot take a house away from a sorority or fraternity. However, a fraternity or sorority can decide to sell or rent its house if the university no longer recognizes it, in which case it must regain its charter by recolonizing and going through the UA to become officially chartered again.

“As part of our new efforts we are now requiring all members to sign a code of conduct release that enables the Dean of Students Office to provide semester code of conduct violation reports to us on our members. While this is an internal issue and we know that students will still make mistakes, at least now the undergraduate officers and advisors can more immediately deal with any behavior issues,” said Matt Noble, the vice president of the Kappa Sigma Educational Foundation of Arizona and house corporation director, in an email.

Until Sigma Chi’s new house is built, Hunter Curtis, president of Sigma Chi and a finance and entrepreneurship senior, said that all of the members who were living in the house will need to find off-campus housing for the next year.

Buddy Cheek, vice president of Sigma Chi and an economics junior said he suspects some people will drop out of the fraternity when they realize they won’t be getting their own house next year, but that the ones who stay will have a stronger bond within the brotherhood.

“Having a house has a lot of benefits, but not having a house, we will be able to reevaluate ourselves as a chapter,” Cheek said. “The things we want to accomplish will be at the forefront and all the guys in the new house with us will be there for the right reasons.”