Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame – Class of 2012

Diane Pitchford


Diane has been active in many aspects of the Arizona quilting community.  She has received significant recognition for her quiltmaking winning her first ribbon in 1994 at the Arizona Quilters Guild Show.  Since then she has won a total of sixteen awards ranging from honorable Mention to Best of Show. She won Best of Show in 2000 at the AQG Show for her mixed technique Wall Quilt.  She has quilts juried into the American Quilting Society Show in Paducah, KY where she has won a first place award in the group category.  The invitational show “Quilts from the Grand Canyon State 197902004: A 25 year Retrospective” included three of Diane’s quilts.

Diane has been a regular contributor to the AQG newsletter The Patchwork Chatter and was published in The Quilting Quarterly,the Journal of the National Quilting Association, Winter 2012 with her article “Remaking Mom’s Only Quilt.”  In 2008 Diane was featured inAmerican Quilter Magazine in an article entitled “21st Century Feedsacks.”

Diane has been active in roles of leadership in several quilting organizations in the State of Arizona.  She is active in the Nimble Thimbles a chapter of AQG and served in many elected and appointed positions in the Arizona Quilters Guild including: President-Elect, President, Quilt Auction Chair and Judging Coordinator for the annual quilt show.

Diane also teaches quilting classes and lectures both locally and regionally.  Her classes include “Amish Quilts and Quilters” and “Introduction to Quilting.”  Her classes range from “Hand and Machine Binding” to pattern drafting.  Her favorite class to teach is hand quilting.

She has served as a quilt judge both locally and regionally since 2002. Judging the State Fair seven times in the past ten years.  She has also judged in California and Washington State.  Diane reached a milestone in her judging career when she became a National Quilting Association Certified Judge in 2011.

Diane was also one of the founding  board members of the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.  She has given of her knowledge and talents to many people in many different ways.


Jeannie Coleman & Carol Zupanic

Jeannie Coleman and Carol Zupancic

Jeannie Coleman (on right) and Carol Zupancic were inducted into the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame as a team because of their work with “Quilt for a Cause”. Jeannie and Carol co-founded “Quilt for a Cause”, a nonprofit organization with the goal of raising money to help women with breast and gynecological cancers.

They have been responsible for spearheading this organization that has raised more than $500,000 since QFAC’s inception in 2001.  These two have inspired the community of quilters in Tucson, Arizona and other states to donate their quilts and countless hours of their time to help in the mission of providing money for “research, education of medical professionals and to support clinical organizations that raise awareness, offer detection, and provide treatment to all women.”

Letters of support for Jeannie and Carol Zupanic came from many women and organizations in the Tucson area.  Each letter made clear that the love and respect for this team has only grown as their hard work and enthusiasm has continued to grow these past ten year.  Jeannie has gained recognition as the face of QFAC through her many appearances in support and Carol is viewed as a tireless fundraiser who puts the word fun in fundraising.

Both Carol and Jeannie are active in the Tucson Quilters Guild where they have held office, taught classes and worked on guild and quilt show committees. They are talented quilters in their own right.  Jeannie has won awards for her wearable art creations at Paducah in 1997 and at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in 1998.

Sponsored by Evelyn and Wally George, Tucson.


Karen Lalo Tootsie


Karen is Hopi and a lifelong resident of Arizona. She began her love of quilting by taking home blocks her grandmother had made and making them into a quilt. She did everything in the completion of her grandmother’s quilt by hand and discovered that “sewing is so relaxing.” This loved the experience and continued sewing and making quilts. Only a few years after her first quilt making experience she began teaching others to quilt. She first taught her mother and family members and at the invitation of her daughter-in-law began teaching on Second Mesa. This group soon expanded until they moved from homes to the community center to accommodate all who wanted to learn. There was also an interest in quilting on the nearby Navajo reservation and for three years Karen worked to establish a quilting group at White Cone, a Navajo community.

In 1995 she met Carolyn O’Bagy Davis who was at Hopi doing research on a book and their friendship developed. They discovered that quilting was a common language and Carolyn began to arrange for teachers to come to the reservation and teacher. Karen made all of the arrangements and publicized on the reservations for these workshops.

Opportunities began to open for Karen to lecture and teach quilting from the Hopi perspective to the outside world. She gave her first lecture and Hopi quilts and quiltmakers in 1995 at the Museum of Northern Arizona during their exhibit of Hope quilts. Since that time, she has spoken and been featured in quilt venues throughout the State of Arizona and Washington D.C. for a conference of international quilters.

Through the years, Karen has developed her own quilt style. She now paints designs on fabric which she incorporates into her quilts. Many of Karen’s quilts now feature traditional pottery designs.

Sponsored by Cathy and Dennis Dargel


Wanda Seale


Wanda is a resident of Phoenix and a lifelong Arizonan. She has been busy since 2009 with her work as co-chair of the Arizona Centennial Quilt Project. Wanda envisioned a quilt for the Arizona Centennial that developed into the Centennial Commemorative Quilt. It was her vision. She helped with the design of the Commemorative quilt and spearheaded the group that assembled it. Wanda was able to go to Washington D.C. and see it hanging in the Rotunda of the Senate Office Building.

Over the past five years, Wanda designed and directed the creation of two quilts auctioned to benefit “Quilt for a Cause” a nonprofit group who raises money for breast and gynecological cancer research, education and treatment.

Wanda is a member of the Arizona Quilters Guild where she is active in the Delightful Quilters, Mavericks and the Night Owls. She has been active in these groups serving on boards and teaching as well as working to benefit their charitable causes.

In September of 2011, Wanda and her ACQP co-chair Carole Cohen received the “friend of the Year” award from the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.

Wanda has made many award winning quilts and wearables and has a wonderful artistic approach to quiltmaking. Her “Canyon Jewell” was awarded First Place in Wearable Art in the 2012 AQG Show and “Desert Sunset” took first place in the same category in the 2011 AQG Show. “Desert Sunset” was also awarded First Place for best use of embellishment at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in February 2012.

Sponsored by Colleen and Joe Babcock


Willene Smith


Willene a resident of Strawberry and Phoenix, is a lifelong Arizonan. She has been active in the Arizona Quilters Guild since its inception in the late 1970’s and involved with the early editions of the Patchwork Chatter, the newsletter of the Arizona Quilters Guild. She served as hospitality chair in 1984 and then was elected President of AQG in 1986. Willene organized and chaired two chapters of AQG, the Strawberry Patchers in 1994 and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Quilt Angels in 2007.

Willene became a Board Member of the founding board of the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame in 2007. She provided invaluable knowledge of Arizona quilting, past and present and assisted in the induction of the classes of 2008 and 2009.

She is probably best known for her contributions to community service projects. She is tireless when it comes to helping others. She turned a 1990 AQG Community Service Project into a group that has delivered more than 7,200 quilts to Department of Public Safety Officers for them to keep in their vehicles and distribute to accident victims or children that are removed from dangerous situations. In 2007 Willene received the Medal of Valor from the Department of Public Safety for her devotion to the DPS Quilt Project. This commendation is usually reserved for officers for efforts above and beyond the call of duty and is rarely awarded to civilians.

It is important to note that while Willene has made so many contributions to quilting in Arizona, she and her husband Walt have also spent many years in service to their communities – first in Phoenix and then in Pine/Strawberry. It is more proof that volunteerism and responsibility are deeply rooted in the person that Willene is.

Sponsored by Rim Country Quilt Roundup

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