Fankhauser Leaves a Giant Legacy

January 30, 2024

January 30, 2024 — Terry Fankhauser left his post as the executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in July of 2022 after 22 years. He and his wife, Hidi, and their children, Emma, Tess, and Grant returned to the family ranch established in 1906 in Madison, Kansas. Fankhauser fought ongoing health challenges due to a lifelong heart defect.

Fankhauser passed away January 29, 2024, at KU Medical Center.

Kenny Rogers served as the CCA president in 2006 and was a member of the board of directors when Fankhauser arrived to interview for the vacant executive position. Rogers said other candidates he interviewed through the years paled in comparison to Fankhauser. There was little doubt, he said, who would lead CCA after they met and visited with the man from Kansas.

“The only way I can describe him is a giant of a man among his peers both in stature and personality,” Rogers said. “There aren’t enough words to describe the feelings people will feel and the imprint he left during his time here. He left a legacy.”

Dan McCarty met and worked alongside Fankhauser when he began at CCA and McCarty began at National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Although Fankhauser was “still the young pup among the state executives,” McCarty said he became a mentor and helped bring him through the ranks that all prepared him for the associated challenges and his current position.

He was more than just a friend to me, someone I looked up to,” McCarty said. “He was a giant in this industry, and it didn’t matter if you were a cattleman from Colorado or anywhere across the country at a national meeting, he was someone everyone wanted to hear from and know what he thought because he always had the bigger picture in mind.”

McCarty described his friend as fiercely loyal to his family, friends, and anyone he did business with.

“He always wanted everybody to play bigger than they were,” he said. “He always wanted people to concentrate not on what this will do tomorrow, but what this will do 10, 20, 30 years down the road.”

Erin Karney Spaur, who succeeded him at CCA was also a beneficiary of Fankhauser’s mentorship when she began with CCA in 2015.

“He was a great mentor to so many of us in the industry,” Spaur said. “He really paved the way for issues management and maintaining relevancy as a cattlemen’s association. Dan McCarty said it best that he always gave us the confidence to play bigger than maybe we even deserved.”

Source: Western Ag Network/The Fence Post Magazine