The Sherman Loy Memorial Award is given to an avocational archaeologist for outstanding efforts in the protection and promotion of the archaeological heritage of the Verde Valley. The recipient is chosen based on contributions to our knowledge of archaeology, active participation in the preservation or protection of archaeological sites, presentation of educational lectures or discussions, published books or articles, or who has worked closely with organizations that contribute to the science of Anthropology.
Sherman Adelbert Loy, of Red Rock, near Sedona, died May 14, 2011. He was the scion of two pioneer families, the Schuermans of Red Rock and the Loys of Cornville. He was born August 5, 1926, to Myron and Frieda (Schuerman) Loy in Cornville, AZ. Sherman spent most of his growing up years on the Schuerman Homestead on Red Rock Loop Road and he attended the Red Rock School and Clarkdale High School. He attended Arizona State University and completed his education at the University of Omaha. He served in the Army in World War II in the Philippines. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Field Artillery. He served in Korea, Germany and then Vietnam in '67-'68. He retired as a Major in 1970 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and returned to his home in Red Rock in 1971. Upon returning, he spent time with a variety of pursuits and volunteer activities, including ranching the family homestead. He was a dedicated volunteer with many organizations including the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office's Site Steward Program. Sherman was an early supporter of the Center and was one of the first Life members of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.
2018 Recipient: Jerry Ehrhardt
The 2018 recipient is Jerry Ehrhardt of Sedona. Jerry graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in mechanical engineering and was employed by the Department of Defense for 37 years. He is the consummate avocational archaeologist. He has been a member of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society for 18 years, served as Chapter President in 1999 and 2000, and has been a member of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center since its inception in 2010.
In late 2000, he organized and initiated a survey program with the goal to locate previously unknown prehistoric archaeological sites in the greater Verde Valley. This effort has led to recording over 500 of these previously unknown sites. Many member have bben on his "Tuesday death marches" which he has led with no apparent regard for his body or his vehicle. His field work is detailed and his site maps reflect a passion for precision with an artistic flair which are near legendary.
He is also a noted scholar and lecturer on the historic and pre-historic trails in the Verde Valley. He has been recognized by the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission with its 2007 award as the Avocational Archaeologist of the year.
2017 Recipient: Shelby Coody
The 2017 recipient is Shelby Coody of Lake Montezuma. Born in 1923, Shelby is a World War II U.S. Air Force veteran. After the war he earned a B.S. degree in education and taught school for five years before becoming a designer for Rockwell International for 25 years. Before his retirement to Arizona in 1978, he worked on the space shuttle program. Shortly after arriving in Lake Montezuma he became interested in the rich cultural heritage of the area. Being a licensed pilot he began to fly over the Verde Valley doing aerial reconnaissance. He covered over 14,400 acres in 1986 alone and located eighty-one archaeological sites. The U.S. Forest Service acknowledged that “most of which were not previously known.” The Forest Service recognized his work with an award in 1987 for greatly augmenting the site inventory records. Using his design skills from Rockwell International, he began to prepare detailed instrument maps of several major pueblos including the ruins at Sacred Mountain, John Heath Ruin, Jackson Ranch Ruin, the Red Tank Draw petroglyphs and assisted at Clear Creek Ruin. These were the first detailed maps ever made that greatly increased the knowledge and appreciation of these significant sites. Shelby was also one of the first site stewards with the Arizona Site Steward Program. The site steward program was begun in 1987 by the Arizona Archaeology Advisory Commission. It is operated by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. He was appointed as a site steward on April 1, 1988. At the time of his appointment, Shelby was assigned to monitor twenty-one sites including the Sacred Mountain Ruin in the Beaver Creek area. In 1992 he was awarded the “Thief of Time Award” by the Forest Service and the Arizona Site Steward Program for his dedication and stewardship of the sites.
2016 Recipient: Bill and Joan Sexton
Bill and Joan Sexton first became part of the archaeological community in 1991. Since that time they have volunteered time at the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Coconino National Forest, Northern Arizona University Field Schools and the Arizona Site Stewards Program. They were officers of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society in 1998 and 1999. They have and continue to volunteer doing laboratory analysis and cataloging for the Verde Valley Archaeology Center and have shared their time by leading many field trips to area archaeological sites. Working with Peter Pilles, Coconino National Forest Archaeologist, they wrote a paper on prehistoric stone tools and taught a class on these tools at Elden Pueblo field schools in Flagstaff. They have also developed a shell-type collection that was shared with the Museum of Northern Arizona and Northern Arizona University. They are now doing stone tool analysis at two Ancestral Puebloan sites in the Four Corners area and continue to promote the preservation of sites in the Verde Valley.
2015 Recipient: John and Barbara Sturgis
John Sturgis held several officer positions at the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. He was instrumental in keeping the Chapter going. He was active with Coconino National Forest archaeologist Peter Pilles in doing surveys of the Coconino National Forest. He also helped with the Elden Field School and worked on sherd identification. He also assisted Peter Pilles and Dr. David Wilcox in excavation projects in and out of the Verde Valley. John was a mentor to many new to archaeology.
John and Barbara led many field trips for its members to varied and unusual sites. Barbara was also an officer in the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. She assisted on many excavation projects for both Peter Pilles and Dr. Wilcox. She mentored many newcomers to archaeology in survey and rock art recording. She lead a team to find and record the rock art of the Verde Valley. Her rock art reports stand out as superb on the rock art of this area. Both gave of their time freely when it came to preserving and protecting the archaeology of the Verde Valley.
2014 Recipient: Joe Vogel
The Sherman Loy Memorial Award was inaugurated in 2014. The first recipient of this award was Joe Vogel. Joe moved to Prescott, Arizona in 1987. Following his retirement from Eastman Kodak he spent his days patrolling known archaeological sites -- and discovering new ones -- from the cockpit of his 1967 Citabria airplane. Joe has photographed more than 900 sites from 1,000 feet in the air. His more-significant finds include landscape anomalies that led to the identification of prehistoric sites in the Agua Fria National Monument 40 miles north of Phoenix. He also used his flights to look for vandalism. “If I see some vandalism, I try to photograph the site again,” he says, “to see if there has been new damage to it.”