Heritage - Tradition - Philanthropy - Family

Bertha Thonen and Betty Henderson started the Arizona Swiss Society in November 1951.  There was an original membership of 36 families, mostly farmers.  The group met about ten times a year to enjoy singing, yodeling and playing cards.

The social club was incorporated in March 1984 as the Arizona Swiss Society, Inc. a non-profit corporation.  The stated goal of the corporation is to maintain and foster traditional Swiss culture and celebrations.  In November 1997 the Arizona Swiss Foundation was set up in parallel and assumed the responsibility for the annual Scholarship program and other charitable and cultural activities.

Over the years the Arizona Swiss Society has grown to over 200 memberships; family, single and corporate.  Members have generously contributed their time and energy to serve as officers and committee members of the organization.  Thoughtful efforts are exerted to cater to the elderly as well as the younger generations. 

The Arizona Swiss Society enjoyed some memorable events in its history.

· On August 1, 1956 we celebrated the 665th anniversary of Switzerland with the Ambassador of Switzerland to the USA attending.

· In 1991, with 200 attendees, we celebrated the 700th anniversary of Switzerland.  The Honorable Christian Blickenstorfer, Charge d'Affaires in Washington, DC and Kurt Welte, Consul General of Switzerland in Los Angeles attended.

· On October 7th 1999 Scottsdale and Interlaken became sister cities.  We celebrated this occasion with the officials from both cities and the “Oberländerchörli Interlaken”.  The festivities were concluded with an original Raclette/Bratwurst dinner and traditional folklore music.

· In 2000 Craig Livesay created a website:

· In 2017 Philippe Reichen created an new website with an updated look.

· We enjoy the Spring Picnic, the 1st of August Celebration, the Fall Fest, the Christmas Party and the Annual Meeting.  It has become a tradition to donate Toys for Tots at the Christmas Party.

As we move forward we encourage the participation of all members to ensure that the Arizona Swiss Society offers the programs you wish to participate in. 

The Arizona Swiss Society is for anyone, not just for those with Swiss genealogy.  While most of our members are Swiss (some are still Swiss citizens), some are friends or spouses of Swiss.  Others are just interested in Swiss history and enjoy the activities and social calendar of the Society.


2016 Board of Directors

John Thornton, President

SD Shanti, Vice President

David Campbell, Treasurer

Andrew Muskatevc, Secretary

Kurt Schittli, Susan Oake, Activity Chairs

Helene Block, Membership Chair

Christian Bucher, Past President

2016 Committee Members

Newsletter Committee

Sylvia Brunner Reichen, Editor

Doris Torres

Dave Long       

Investment Committee

Alfred Kohler

John Thornton

Christian Bucher

Sunshine Committee

Elsbeth Haechler

Yvonne Zaugg


Sigrid Kuster

Social Media Committee

Philippe Reichen, Webmaster

Vivian Stearns-Kohler, Social Media

Entertainment Committee



Max Haechler, Consul Emeritus of Switzerland

Alisa Jost, Honorary Consul of Switzerland


Ueli Zaugg

Who We Are

Arizona Swiss Society History