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Emilie Louise Berroth Killian

February 9, 1933 — May 9, 2021

Emilie Louise Berroth Killian

In Loving Memory
Emilie Louise Berroth Killian
1933 – 2021
Emilie Louise Berroth Killian was born in Philadelphia PA on the 9th of February 1933.  Emilie was the first child born to Frederick Gottlob Berroth and Elizabeth (Betty) Blanch Smyth.  Frederick, an automobile mechanic, and Betty, a saleswoman and homemaker, were smitten with their new baby as the family photos clearly show.  Their family expanded over the next six years, adding a sister and brother to the Berroth household.  They were a close knit multi-generational group, with their paternal grandparents living just across the yard.  Emilie attended Wilson Jr. HS and Frankford HS, graduating in January of 1951.  After high school, she attended the Pierce School of Business Administration and went to work as the professional secretary for the vice-president of Caterpillar after graduation.

In the early 1950s, Emilie met a young man at the local skating rink.  That man, Gerald (Jerry) Killian, would turn out to be the love of her life.  The couple were wed in February of 1955 at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Philadelphia. They immediately moved into their first home, one that they had been building together since they were engaged.  Jerry and Emilie soon began their family while Jerry continued to grow his construction business. Emilie put her secretarial skills to good use, managing the construction company’s office. In the summer of 1959, they made the decision to leave Philadelphia and move to Paradise Valley, AZ, so Jerry could build houses in the sun instead of the snow.  They packed their family of three children into the car and headed west. In the late 1960s they bought a ranch in Chandler, AZ, and moved to the country. Emilie grew a very large vegetable garden to feed the family and learned how to preserve foods and process raw milk straight from the two cows her children milked each day. She also raised chickens, ducks, geese, Appaloosa horses, and had a passion for purebred Rottweilers, Weimaraners, and Dachshunds. The family grew to seven children, five boys and two girls, by February 1970.  After a long run of farming and raising beef cattle, Emilie and Jerry sold the ranch and then a few years later moved to Gold Beach, OR, where they raised prize winning orchids. In 2002 the couple returned to Arizona, settling in Prescott Valley. She quickly became known as “the plant lady” in the craft show circuit where she sold plants she grew in her greenhouse.

Throughout Emilie’s long and fruitful life, she had opportunity and need to fill many roles and pursue many passions. Foremost, she was a devoted wife and mother, holding together an ever-expanding group of offspring for over 60 years.  She was a devout Roman Catholic since her baptism over 61 years ago.  Wherever she lived, she was active in her local historical society, women’s group, and library.  Emilie was an accomplished genealogist, way before the internet made it easy.  She was a long-time supporter of several nature conservation groups, something she believed in very strongly.  She was an avid birder, a love she passed on to several of her children and grandchildren. Emilie also loved writing in several forms. Despite the advent of the internet and email, Emilie still felt that it was necessary to send handwritten letters to her friends and family. And for quite a few years she wrote a newsletter to her children and grandchildren that shared stories from the family’s history. She really enjoyed a good mystery novel and spent many hours reading. Any visit with her or to her house would leave you with the certain knowledge that she absolutely loved the color purple, Amethysts (her birthstone), owls, hummingbirds, and dragonflies. 

Emilie was preceded in death by her husband of more than 56 years, Jerry Killian.  She is also preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Betty Berroth, and her brother-in-law, Ben Fugitt. She is survived by her children Elise (Bill) Pitterle, Miles (Barbara) Killian, Scott (Angela) Killian, Robin (Allen) Frechette, Mark Killian, Jordan (Corena) Killian, and Morgan Killian.  Emilie is survived by eight granddaughters, nine grandsons, nine great-granddaughters, and four great-grandsons.  Emilie is also survived by her sister Barbara Fugitt, her brother Fred (Marsha) Berroth, five nieces, two nephews, two great-nieces, and three great-nephews.

Emilie passed peacefully from this world on May 9, 2021.  She left an indelible mark on this earth and she will greatly be missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to White Rose Hospice, whose members provided love and comfort at the end of her life, or The Nature Conservancy, her favorite conservation group. White Rose Hospice donations can be made by reaching out to White Rose Hospice, c/o Cynthia Brooks, 4131 N 24th St, C208, Phoenix AZ 85016. Donations to The Nature Conservancy can be made via their website at

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