In Rememberance

In Memory of Janet Lynn Schager 1954-2007

Janet Lynn Snyder was born August 31, 1954, in Sacramento, California. She found companionship and pleasure with her animals as she grew up in the Sacramento area. Janet acquired a horse as a teenager that had been abused. As a result of the abuse, the horse had some attitude issues. Janet was told that a goat kept with the horse might help calm the horse when it was left alone in the paddock. After trying a dairy goat, Janet found a pygmy goat that she liked better. She heard about a local pygmy goat show. Always willing to try something new involving animals, she entered the show and won a ribbon! That changed her life. The pygmy goats were small and easy to work with and she enjoyed the people she met at the show. Her one goat soon became a small herd known as J-Lynn Pygmies.

Since Janet and her husband had no children together, Jan wanted to reach out with pygmy goats to other young people so they could experience the love and joy pygmies had brought to her. She began looking for a 4H group to work with. Unfortunately, at that time, pygmy goats were new, and dairy goat 4H groups didn’t really want to include them. So Janet started the first pygmy goat group in Sacramento County, “Pygmy Pride”. It was an uphill battle since there were other types of goat groups already in 4H. Getting a separate pygmy goat category in the county and state fairs was next to impossible---no ring time, no pen space, all taken by dairy goats. So Jan took it upon herself to set up pens and make an arena on the grass at the county and state fairs. This caused uproar. Eventually the county and state fair boards began making space available, but Jan continued to have to fight so pygmy goat activities wouldn’t be bumped by other 4H activities. Thanks to Janet, pygmy goats were brought to Sacramento.

After hosting a few 4H pygmy goat shows in her field at home, Jan decided to branch out and started an NPGA sanctioned show with the name of the J-Lynn Summertime Spree. One aspect of her show that was different from other NPGA shows at the time was her focus on youth activities for the young exhibitors. Her last Summertime Spree was held last year after 18 years, evolving into a two-day show of over 250 entries, covering three and a half acres of pens, show ring, and camping for exhibitors.

In addition to her own show, Jan showed her goats at seven or eight NPGA shows each year, frequently assisting with the check-in process. She attended several National Conventions over the years, the last one being held in Auburn, CA this past June, where she worked the show results table.

​She always made herself available to advise 4H pygmy goat groups, attend their meetings, often holding information clinics at her home for the 4Hers. She was also “on call” for anyone who had problems or goat questions and often would go out in the middle of the night to help someone who had a difficult kidding. She was well known by the goat vets in the area as someone who really knew about pygmy goat health and care. Janet maintained a pygmy herd that focused on the health and wellbeing of the goats. Although there have been several Permanent Grand Champions over the years, she believed in breeding for healthy animals that had the structure for ease of kidding, never putting the show ring first.

​Janet Schager was a long time member of the NPGA, Silver State Pygmy Goat Association, and Sierra Pacific Pygmy Goat Association. She lost her 10 month battle with cancer this past September. Janet was a quiet and peaceful person who loved the solitude and beauty of nature, pygmy goats, and her pygmy goat family. She was well loved, respected and special to all who knew her and will be greatly missed.

In memory of Jan, Ron, her husband of 23 years, has dedicated a memorial bench at the Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, CA. If you're ever there, please take a moment to sit and reflect on how pygmy goats have affected all of our lives and friendships.

In Loving Memory of Susan Mae McCullough November 14, 1953-March 29, 2007

I met Sue back in 1981. For the next 14 years we shared 14 summers at the LA County Fair, untold number of goat shows and countless hours in her yard or mine, waiting for baby goats to be born. To say she was one of my best friends would be an understatement. Suzzy always had a smile on her face. She was always happy to take the time to teach someone about Pygmy goats. Anything from feeding or shots to hoof trimming, she had the patience to explain.

Sue had a real thirst for knowledge. If there was a class or seminar she could attend to learn more, she was there. She wanted to contribute to NPGA in a positive way. We were all so proud of her when she got her judging license. She was a good, honest person. She never misrepresented herself or an animal to make a sale. She made it a point to know the rules and follow them.

She sure loved her family. She was so proud of Laura and Jeff and just beamed when she shared about their accomplishments. I don’t know how long she and Roy were married, close to 33 years I’d guess. I do know she never had a bad word to say about him, just that he worked hard and how much she loved him.

​I guess you could say I owe Suzzy my life. As a result of her illness, I went straight to the doctor’s office and scheduled a colonoscopy. That resulted in surgery for me that most certainly saved me from cancer.

Sue McCullough, we will miss your smiling face. I expect she’s already in heaven helping God tend his flocks.

                  Nancy Harper, Lucky Charm’s Pygmy Goats

Sue first introduced herself to me back in 1991 at the Del Mar Fair. Her uplifting spirit and her willingness to share her wealth of information about the goats instantly made you feel as if you had known her for years.

The fairs and shows became places we could catch up on the latest techniques in our goat midwiving experiences. We both decided to try for our judge’s licenses and I was thrilled to be in Auburn eight years ago when Sue received hers!

Our friendship continued as we judged shows together, attended trainings, and got lost on more than one occasion trying to find our way out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport!

Sue loved people and she loved animals. She would get up at all hours of the night to go help a friend – or even a complete stranger - in need if there was a goat involved. She was blessed with a special gift that enabled her to save the lives of countless baby goats and their mothers. To the casual bystander, she made it look easy and a simple, “Thank you” was often all she received in return. But Sue knew that her reward was not in any tangible gift or payment. Her reward was knowing that God had blessed her with a gift that enabled her to be part of the miracle of birth many times over. Her family and her friends knew this selfless giving that was part of what made Sue so special.

As great as Sue’s love for animals was, her greater love was for her family. Her true love and best friend, her husband Roy, was her great encourager, supporter and protector. They were a team raising their two children, Laura and Jeff. The sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face when talking about her family is something I never want to forget.

Sue was inspirational to me. I learned many things from Sue - not just about goats. I also learned to stay the course, even when others doubt you, to always remember your family is there for you, and that if you take the time to reach out and listen, you will not only learn, you will gain a friend. We miss you Sue! We will remember you and we will smile.

               Donna Elkins, Proverbial Pygmies

In Loving Memory of Larry Zucknick

This week the Pygmy Goat lost a great friend in Larry Zucknick. Larry and his wife Peggy bred and showed under the name Bent Nail Pygmys in Sarasota. He was responsible for bringing the first sanctioned show to Florida and getting Pygmys into the Florida State Fair back in 1988 . He was also responsible for this writer getting into Pygmy Goats back in 1989. He was a friend to all and will be greatly missed. Those of us who knew Larry back when he was still showing have numerous great stories and his exploits and I am sure we will spend a great deal of time and tears recounting them as this years State Fair. Larry and Peggy were the first family elected into the Florida Pygmy Goat Association Hall of Fame two years ago. Below is his obit from the Sarasota Herald Tribune.   -- Gary Dixon

​Gilbert Larry Zuknick, 60, Arcadia and formerly of Sarasota, died Dec. 18, 2006.

He was born Feb. 10, 1946, in Annapolis, Md., and came to Arcadia eight months ago from Sarasota. He was an auto body manager before retiring. He was a member of the Single Action Shooting Society, the National Pygmy Goat Association and the Sarasota Dog Obedience Training Club. He was a Lutheran.

Survivors include his wife, Peggy; a son, Kenneth of Bradenton; sisters Mary J. of Sarasota and Betty of Bradenton; and a brother, Raymond of Sarasota.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hawkins Funeral Home, Sarasota. The service will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the funeral home chapel. Burial will follow in Sarasota Memorial Park.

In Loving Memory of Frances Warbritten (Bogart)

On January 8, 1915 Frances Warbritten (Bogart) was born on a farm near New Bloomfield, Missouri. She was welcomed by her sisters; Virgine, mother Edna, and father William Peter. Soon, her brother Willard and twins – Gerald and Geraldine, joined her.  In 1939 she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Math from the University of Missouri.

During her college years, she eloped with Ralph Bogart whom she managed to distract from his fiancé, and they were married on August 15th, 1938. Ralph described this as “the most intelligent thing he had ever done.”  In 1947, they made the move to Oregon where Ralph was appointed Professor of Animal Sciences at Oregon State University.

In Oregon, Fran spent her time working in a drugstore, then as a school secretary, then as a junior high instructor. She and Ralph enjoyed Ralph’s many graduate students and their home became home to many international students.

Fran spent many years dedicating her time to volunteer work. She worked with RSVP, the Benton Center math lab, Sheriffs Office, Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads International, and had international conversant partners. She was active in Calvin Presbyterian Church. At the age of 82, she was still tutoring math.

The last three years she has been living in a home on Christina’s family farm. She spent her time relaxing in her chair and having tea parties with her great-granddaughters and enjoying her great-grandsons. She received excellent care from in-home caregivers. Frances passed away peacefully in the early morning of July 3, 2006.  A memorial service was held for Frances and her late husband Dr. Ralph Bogart on Sunday, July 9th.

In Loving Memory of G.O. Skip Rogers

G.O. Skip Rogers, 59, Marysville, Indiana died February 16, 2004 at Jewish Hospital.  He was a native of Louisville, Kentucky, a U.S. Army Veteran, a retired security director for Greater Clark County Schools, a licensed auctioneer and a former school bus driver, member of NPGA, National Auctioneers Assoc., past master of New Washington and Jeffersonville Masonic Lodges and a shooting sports instructor in Harrison County, Indiana. Survivors include his wife, Cheryl Owen Rogers, 3 sons Dean Rogers, Owen Rogers, and Grant Rogers and 3 grandchildren.

In Loving Memory of Heinz Lakshin

Heinz Lakshin, 57, of Port Orchard, Washington died on September 3, 2003.  Heinz earned his NPGA Judge's License at the first ever Judges Training Seminar held in November, 1979.  Since that time, Heinz judged shows all over the country, helping innumerable new exhibitors learn how to show their goats and to understand how goats are judged.  His herd name, Mountain View Pygmies, can be found in the pedigrees of many good goats around the country.  In June 2000, The NPGA Board of Directors honored Heinz by unanimously awarding him a Lifetime Judging License.

In Loving Memory of Paul Helsel

Paul Helsel of Davisburg, Michigan died in the summer of 2003.  Paul joined NPGA in 1978 under the herdname Helsel's Pygmy Haven.  He earned his judges license in 1983 at the National Convention held in Roseburg, Oregon.  Paul served on the Judges Training Committee for several years and attended 12 Judges Training Seminars after he earned his license.

In Loving Memory of Keith Harrell

Keith Harrell passed away suddenly on November 19, 2012. He was 55. Many of us remember Keith and Marie from their herd name, Promisedland. They raised and showed pygmies until 1999, then raised and showed Nigerian Dwarves. They owned PGCH Whirlwind Farms Merlin’s last son, NATL PGCH Whirlwind Farms No Boundaries, showing him to be the 1998 National Champion Buck. Keith became a licensed NPGA Judge and was also a licensed judge with the American Goat Society (AGS) and the American Diary Goat Association (ADGA).

​Keith never did anything halfway. In his first year as a member of the North Carolina Pygmy Goat Club he became the club president, and set up our website, one of the first NPGA affiliated club websites. Not much later he created the first NPGA website, including the first online color chart. Once he became an NPGA licensed judge, he seemed bound and determined to obtain his judge’s license for nearly every goat breed association. He mentored several judges along the way, and taught several conformation classes for the NC Pygmy Goat Club.

In 1999 Keith and Marie sold their beloved pygmy herd to return to their first love, dairy goats. Nigerian Dwarves were hitting the scene in a big way, so they went with Nigerian Dwarves. They have many champions, including milk production champions; a Promisedland doe is usually in the top milk production list every year. He became a licensed classifier for the American Goat Society.

Most of us remember Keith as a big man. A few years ago, nature caught up to him when he had a diabetic episode that nearly killed him. In the typical Keith style, he got his weight and health under control, losing 150 pounds in less than 2 years. He became a licensed Zumba instructor. He taught his last class the night before he passed away. If you are on Facebook, visit Keith’s page and marvel at his accomplishments. He was a changed man, you won’t recognize him, except for that smile.

In Loving Memory of Judy Starbuck 1943-2014

Judy Starbuck passed away in her sleep on Friday July 25, 2014. Judy was born in Billings, Montana on July 18, 1943. She graduated from Big Bear High School in Big Bear Lake, CA in 1962. She married George Starbuck on March 22, 1960. She is survived by her husband, George, daughters, Jeannette Chen and Shirley Morimoto Downing, and son, David Starbuck.

George and Judy are long-time members of the NPGA, raising and showing pygmy goats since 1977 under the Iron Creek herdname. Both became NPGA licensed judges and nearly anyone who has shown pygmy goats can remember that showing under them was fun and informative. Judy was always ready to help. She took calls from all over the country from people seeking advice. In one way or another she touched every member of the NPGA.

Michael O’Kelly writes this, “When those you love die, the best you can do is honor their spirit for as long as you live. You make a commitment that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person or animal was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life. It’s a positive way to keep their spirit alive in the world, by keeping it alive in yourself.” May you rest in peace, Judy. You will be in our hearts forever.

In Loving Memory of Miz Polly Mertens 1935-2014

Our pygmy goat family lost a great southern lady and loyal friend on September 26, 2014 ,when Mrs. Polly Mertens passed away.
Born on October, 15, 1935, she was a loving mother and wife, and was employed for years in the Department of Commerce in the Census Bureau.

She and Mr. Red raised their award-winning Woods Edge Farm pygmy goats from 1996-2009, generously mentoring and guiding uncountable people along the way. One would see them at shows: he neatly dressed in jeans, and she in a lovely denim skirt, not a speck of dirt and not a hair out of place, the epitome of a classy, southern lady. Yet, like a true southern lady, she did her fair share of work in caring for, grooming, and birthing their beloved pygmies.

They opened their home to Region 7 members during the National Convention, when it was held near their home in Shreveport, Louisiana. There are still stories being told of the camaraderie enjoyed there!

​I can still see her sitting ringside, covered with ribbons and rosettes, as Mr. Red was in the show ring. He would lay them on her lap as he left the ring after winning, yet again. She was there later on, too, with encouraging words and smiles, even as her body was ravaged and she had to rely on a walker, then later a wheel chair to get around. Her mind, wit, and smile never wavered. She was always on the other end of the telephone, graciously answering questions and providing conversation for long drives to shows, or even after she became homebound.

​2010 found them as recipients of the Jim Rihn Memorial Award from the Kids at Heart Pygmy Goat Club, in which they were instrumental in establishing in 1999. This award was given to those individuals that exhibited extraordinary efforts to help mentor other owners and exhibitors. Their warm personality helped encourage and lead others to improve herds across the country. Their careful selective breeding is still seen in many award-winning animals in herds across the nation.

Rest in Peace Miz. Polly, you will be greatly missed by all your “kids at heart”.

In Loving Memory of Debbie Hosley January 1951 - August 2022

Debbie Hosley passed away after battling an aggressive cancer in August of 2022. She is survived by her husband Jim. Debbie was born in St Paul, Minnesota and began her western journey in the early 1970’s moving to Colorado, the Santa Inez Valley, Pomona, and finally Norco, California. Debbie joined the NPGA in 1978 and bought her first pygmy goat from Ann Werts.  After being married in 1985, she and Jim chose the herd name of Amber Waves.

​Debbie belonged to the local clubs where she promoted the NPGA and encouraged individuals new to pygmy goats to join the National organization. She was often the recipient of the NPGA Membership Booster award over the years. She talked with folks globally about the NPGA pygmy goat and was a resource for breeders and enthusiasts providing information about all aspects of management of the breed.​

Donna Elkins writes this- “I believe that Amber Waves is a reference to the poem/song, America The Beautiful, a reflection on the beauty of creation – baby pygmy goats included – and the hope that it brings as well as the hope for eternal rest “O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears.” May all journeys end in that restful peace.


This page is intended as a memorial for all NPGA members who have passed away.  To have information posted to this page, please send the desired text to the NPGA Webmaster.