Arizona Airports Association
"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."
In 2011, the AzAA Board established a Memorial to pay tribute to friends and colleagues who were significant contributors to the aviation/airport industry in Arizona. For suggestions or contributions to In Memoriam pages, please contact AzAA Headquarters.
Click on the names below to view a brief summary of accomplishments and contributions by our departed friends and colleagues:
Neilson A. “Dutch” Bertholf
AzAA Member: 1982-2015
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Aviation Director 1982-1998
AAAE Distinguished Service Award 1995
AzAA Airport Executive of the Year 1996
SWAAAE Award of Distinction 1997
Neilson “Dutch” Bertholf began his career at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as Aviation Director in 1982 when the airport recorded approximately 7 million passengers. For 16 years, Dutch steered Sky Harbor through periods of unprecedented growth. By the time he retired in 1998, that number more than quadrupled to 31 million passengers. The number of airlines at Sky Harbor doubled and international air service came to Phoenix in that same span of time. Dutch also oversaw the construction of Terminal 4, which opened in November 1990, and he was still Director when construction on the third runway began in 1997. All told, his aviation career spanned more than 50 years.
Dutch served as president of the Arizona Airports Association in 1983-84, and the Spring conference was named in his honor upon his retirement. He also served as president of the Southwest chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 1990-91, and was chair of AAAE in 1996-97. He was also very involved in the Fiesta Bowl and Boy Scouts of America.
Dutch was well known for his professionalism and soft spoken approach, not to mention his boisterous and very recognizable laugh. He was both mentor and friend to many in the industry.
Walter "Wally" Burg
AzAA Member: 1979-2009
Tucson Airport Authority President and CEO: 1979-2002
ACI-NA William E. Downs Jr. Award: 2008
Wally started his 36-year airport career as a firefighter while in college. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a business degree, he joined the airport planning department, eventually working his way up to President and CEO in 1979.
"If you were lucky enough to know him, his qualities were in plain sight. If not, just look around Tucson International the next time you catch a plane. Somebody with vision and passion was in charge for the last couple of decades."
Elmer S. Carter, Jr.
AzAA Member: 1986-2012
Tucson Airport Authority: 1978-2000
Elmer began his 22-year career with the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) as a Safety Officer in 1978. Before joining TAA, Elmer served in the United States Air Force for 23 years in Management of Administrative Services.
From his first job at TAA, Elmer became a key member of the newly established Planning and Development Division. It soon became a multi-disciplined group that manages TAA's airport grant funding, airport planning services, project development and construction services, environmental services, and architectural and engineering technical resources for Tucson International Airport (TIA) and Ryan Airfield.
As Project Director, Elmer managed many projects involving the construction, renovation and expansion of TAA infrastructure at both airports. These projects included the reconstruction and expansion of the TIA main passenger terminal complex, development of the TIA air freight complex, the extension and reconstruction of runways, taxiways, and aprons at TIA and Ryan, construction permanent of Ryan's first control tower, and management of tenant improvement developments at both airports.
Retiring from TAA in 2000 as Planning and Development's Director of Special Projects, Elmer was a respected and dedicated airport professional. He was an Executive Emeritus member of the Arizona Airports Association.
Oh Philadelphia freedom, shine on me, I love you
Shine the light, through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine the light, shine the light
Shine the light, won't you shine the light
Philadelphia freedom, I love-ve-ve you, yes I do
Enjoy the song here with lyrics and as you think of the Doctor, you’ll see and hear the connection.
Bruce was a special man and magical spirit, I am glad to have been to his friend and the world was a better place because he was here. AzAA will always remember him for his contributions and I will miss him and all the joy he brought us over the years!
Submitted with Love and Respect.
Eternal Friend of Dr. Love
AzAA Member: 1979 - 2020
Mike Klein found his passion for aviation early in life. He received an A.S. in Aeronautics from Long Beach City College, a B.S. in Air Transportation Management and Technology from ASU, working as a flight instructor during his studies and later earned a Master’s in Aviation Management. He began working in and around airports in 1973 and held many different positions at various airports and in the industry. In 1979 Mike became one of the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the Arizona Airports Association. Even after retiring as Manager of Aeronautics at ADOT in 2017, he returned part time there until he could no longer work. For more information about Mike and his legacy with the Arizona Aviation community please click here.
AzAA Member: 1995 - 2021
Jim McCue, a true veteran and Jedi Master in the aviation field, began his career with a childhood passion for model airplanes. This passion led him to enlist in the Air Force without telling his parents. Through basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas to Georgia to two years in Alaska, Jim excelled in the service – garnering awards for Airman of the Month and Airman of the Year and even began flying lessons. As an MP he was then transferred to Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio where he was also an expert marksman on the Air Force Pistol Team. His prowess was such that in a worldwide match he came in second -- only because he was a gentleman (and almost a priest “that is a true statement”) and did not challenge his opponent’s final shot.
With his time in the Air Force completed, Jim turned his attention to the aviation industry. He started as a Station Agent for United Airlines in Dayton. Moving up the ladder meant moving the family, he went to: Cincinnati as the Assistant to the Director of Aviation, Pittsburgh as Assistant Director of Operations, Kansas City as Assistant Airline Manager for Braniff, Indianapolis as Director of Operations, Toledo as Airport Director, and finally landed in Glendale, Arizona as Airport Manager where he retired in January of 2001.
Not one to keep his feet on the ground, retirement lasted about a whole week before he was scooped up by Sherwin Industries as a Sales Rep and Aviation Consultant. He and his wife, Jerri, were a true team as they traversed the country for Sherwin. In addition, Jim and Jerri were also a team for AzAA serving as the Administrative Director for a number of years. You would ALWAYS see Jim and Jerri working the registration desk at every conference, stuffing badges for attendees and writing the checks to the group. He was a true staple to AzAA.
In addition to his industry titles and advancements, Jim was called in as a consultant on plane crashes (most notably Sioux City, Iowa in 1989) and as an expert witness in multiple aviation trials. Throughout his career he was a steady fixture in the Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE (American Association of Airport Executives), where he could be counted on to organize the yearly fishing tournament. His children did their dad proud bringing home trophies frequently in the kids’ division. To quote them, “We did not have a choice. We had to fish. It’s not our fault he made sure we were good at it.”
Among his many accolades, Jim went on to receive the President’s Award from the Arizona Airport Association, the Wannamaker Award from the Southwest Chapter of AAAE, and was also named Arizona Airport Executive of the Year in 1998. Under his guidance, the Glendale Airport was named Outstanding Airport of the Year in Arizona in 1999, and Jim was awarded the National Distinguished Service Award by AAAE in 2000. For his repeated role as a contact liaison for Presidential visits to his airports, he was awarded an honorary badge by the Secret Service.
As a seasoned executive in the aviation industry, he touched countless lives, teaching, mentoring, encouraging, and sincerely celebrating the advancement of those around him. As much a friend as a peer, Jim was a beloved figure into whose orbit people were simply happy to be allowed admittance.
That like all of us, there would eventually be a one way, first class ticket skyward to be reunited with family and friends in Heaven.
On November 19, 2021, James McCue made his final ascent from life’s runway into the heavens.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
Respectfully submitted with all my love,
Gary P. Mascaro (a.k.a. his work son)
AzAA Member: 2013 - 2017
John McMahon left this world much too early on June 27, 2017.
He accomplished a lot in his short aviation career and immersed himself in the industry. He became the Buckeye Airport Coordinator in 2013 and quickly began learning all he could about the airport and the industry. To better understand aviation from a pilot’s perspective, he earned his private pilot certificate. To learn about aviation in the state, he joined AzAA. To increase his knowledge base on the aviation industry as a whole, he earned his Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives.
Buckeye Airport is staffed with only one position, the Airport Coordinator. As such, all of the responsibilities of operating the airport fell squarely on John’s shoulders, and he did an outstanding job at all of them and took a great deal of pride in his work. His legacy at Buckeye lives on.
John was a dedicated family man who made friends everywhere he went. He is dearly missed, and thought of often, - by the AzAA family.
Jane Morris, A.A.E.
During her 25+ year career with the City of Phoenix, Jane worked in numerous City departments in leadership roles focused on the development and operation of municipal owned facilities and services, including the new developments of the Phoenix City Hall Complex and expansions of the Phoenix Convention Center and Metro Light Rail system. For seven years, Jane held various leadership roles at Sky Harbor International Airport including Assistant Aviation Director and Deputy Director of Planning and Environmental Services. Notable aviation projects that benefited from Jane’s leadership include the PHX Sky Train, Inline Baggage Handling System, Rental Car Center, parking facility improvements, two general aviation airport master plans, and numerous airfield projects. When Jane retired from the City of Phoenix, she held the position of Deputy City Manager.
Ms. Morris first joined Phoenix‐Mesa Gateway Airport in November 2012 as Director of Special Projects, leading the implementation of its 20‐year expansion plan. The following February, she was named Executive Director of the airport, replacing Lynn Kusy, who led the airport for two decades. At Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Jane led an organization with a total economic impact over $1.3 billion.
Jane received a Masters of Public Administration from ASU and undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. At Iowa, Jane was a two-time co-captain of the women’s Division 1 field hockey team and was on the Big Team Championship team her senior year. She achieved the prestigious Accredited Airport Executive certification from the American Association of Airport Executives. Jane was recognized in 2010 by the WTS Metropolitan Phoenix Chapter as Woman of the Year.
Jane was a mentor to many women who worked in local government. She was involved in the Women Leading Government Chapter in Arizona and her family started a scholarship through that organization in her honor. The donations received on Jane’s behalf will allow for women in the profession to further their career in local government.
Randy Payne received his BS Airway Science from Central Washington University in 1997. His aviation career started with Delta Airlines, then moving on to Port of Seattle Aviation Department and then on to King County International/Boeing Field. Finally, in 2001, Randy came to the City of Phoenix Aviation Department. Over 20 years Randy worked on numerous airfield, facility and transportation planning studies and managed the development of several master plans for the Phoenix airport system; Randy also played critical roles in off-airport compatibility and airspace management matters. During his time with City of Phoenix, Randy was a frequent attendee and panelist for AzAA conferences becoming well-known throughout the Arizona aviation community for his vast technical knowledge and “friend to everyone” demeanor. Randy was a greater mentor and teacher to many aspiring aviation professionals. Randy was a beloved husband and father to three beautiful children. Randy passed away on August 1st, 2021.
AzAA Member: 2001-2009
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: December 2007-October 2009
American Association of Airport Executives: Certified Member
Christine graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Management Technology. While attending ASU, Christine was hired by the City of Phoenix Aviation Department as a Public Information Aide intern for the Facilities and Services Division. In 2001, she was hired by America West Airlines as a Customer Service Representative at PHX. After a short stint with AWA, Christine furthered her aviation career with Ricondo & Associates assisting in various airport planning studies.
Christine had a dream of working for an airport and landed a job at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as an aviation planner. In her short time with the City of Phoenix Aviation Department, she was instrumental in obtaining over $10 million in FAA grants for development at all three City of Phoenix Airports. Christine was promoted to project manager in September 2009. She was also a strong Philadelphia Phillies fan and saw them win the 2008 World Series.
“Christine had a love of all things aviation. She had a ‘can do’ attitude, was quick to provide assistance, and had a passion for the aviation industry. She was not only a true aviation professional but a good friend. Christine is truly missed.”
Marty Rosness, P.E., R.L.S.
AzAA Member: 1979-2004
AzAA Corporate Director
American Society of Civil Engineers – Arizona Section President
Founding Partner Z & H Engineering, Inc.
ADOT Aeronautics Director’s Award for Excellence: 2003
Marty graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Business Administration. During his 31-year civil engineering career he completed 120 individual airport projects at over 20 airports in the southwest. His experience included everything from master planning, site selection and noise analysis to facility design, and construction management. Two of his lasting achievements are the design and construction management of two new airport facilities, Glendale Municipal Airport and French Valley Airport.
"Marty was many things...competitive but not combative, a man of endurance who knew how to finish what he started, adventurous, farsighted, gracious, and a leader. He was meticulous in his approach to life and he was a great mentor." - Fred Nelson, P.E. - Gervasio & Assoc., Inc.
AzAA Member: 2009-2011
AzAA Board Member: 2009-2011
Membership Committee Chairperson, Legislative Committee member, Conference Committee member and AzAA Store manager
A 34 year veteran in the aviation industry, Darryl served at Indianapolis International Airport for 29 years before moving to Arizona in 2009 to accept a position at Yuma International Airport as Deputy Director. In 2007, he accepted a position as Assistant Airport Director for Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport.
In 2011, Darryl was named the AzAA "Airport Executive of the Year".
"Not only has Darryl made significant technical and material contributions to his career endeavors, he has a very effective leadership presence that impacts all who work with him. Darryl is a great asset to this airport, to the industry, and is a worthy recipient of this recognition by AzAA."