Willard Bartel was born June 7, 1910 in Kasson, Minnesota, and he grew up on the family farm there. He moved to southern California as a young man. After milking cows for Adohr Farms for ten years, he established a cash and carry dairy in El Monte in 1944. In 1963 he moved to Chino Valley, where he established his Sunshine Dairy Sales Yard at Euclid and Chino avenues.
Mr. Bartel philanthropy and service was felt on small farms in third world nations. As an active participant in Heifer International, he helped bringing hope to impoverished farmers in Latin America, Africa and backward economic areas of the United States. At one time he collected donations of heifer calves in Chino Valley and money to ship them abroad. He also raised funds to buy offspring of those animals in the donor countries and placed them on other farms, to strengthen the bloodline of the livestock.
He served as western regional director on the board of Heifer International, and also as board member of the Heifer International Foundation. In Chino his service was devoted to youth organizations and The United Methodist Church. He was a supporter of the 4-H programs and he also served as board member for both West End and Chino's YMCA. He also belonged to the Rotary International Club. In 1978 he was named Dairyman of the Year by the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce. As hobbies, Mr. Bartel raised orchids and he collected about 500 milk bottles from all over the world.
Mr. Bartel died on February 25, 1992, one day after he had been named the Community's Outstanding Citizen for 1992. Willard Bartel was one of those individuals who believed in reinvesting the proceeds of his life work back into the community and society in which he lived. He worked hard all his life and said he got a great deal of enjoyment in doing so. The real joy came in sharing the rewards of his work with the community, particularly on projects benefiting youth and of course the Heifer International.
A memorial was established in 1990 with Heifer International Foundation with gifts from Ursula and Willard Bartel of Chino California, dairypersons, members of the board of HPI and Heifer International Foundation.