Judd Herberger: A Frontdoors Tribute

The Frontdoors Media team was saddened to learn that beloved philanthropist Judd Herberger died on Wednesday at age 79. 

Judd was a giant in the philanthropic community, particularly in the arts. He and his wife Billie Jo supported a broad spectrum of organizations in the performing and visual arts, and the Herberger Theater Center is named for the family. 

Judd’s family moved to Arizona in the 1940s, and were part of some of the most significant real estate transactions to shape the state’s growth, including development of the Kierland area in north Phoenix.  

In a press release sent on behalf of the family, Billie Jo said: 

“Judd was passionate about everything with the arts. He said goodbye after a fabulous and wonderful life, supporting every aspect of the arts with so many that wouldn’t have begun or continued in Arizona without his passion and help. I will continue to carry on the legacy and our love of the arts and cannot express how much I will miss him by my side.”

Judd and Billie Jo are also supporters of the Phoenix Heart Ball, benefiting the American Heart Association, which will take place on November 20. According to the press release, Herberger suffered from multiple strokes and heart attacks, ultimately dying of heart failure. Just 10 days before his death, the Herbergers hosted donors at their home for this year’s Heart Ball event.

In April, the Frontdoors Media team was pleased to honor Billie Jo at the Society of Chairs gala and with our May cover story, and we were gratified that Judd was able to be at the event. He was so proud of the honor for Billie Jo and so supportive of her endeavors. 

In the May 2021 cover story, Editor in Chief Karen Werner wrote:

The two hit it off, got married and became the exuberant duo that hosts parties, attends cultural events and makes the Valley’s arts scene all the more vibrant. Both were married previously, so they melded their lives and families into one when they wed. And, now, often sporting colorful, complementary ensembles, they’re in love and always seem to have more fun than anybody else.

“When it became Judd and Billie Jo, it was the right thing for both of us. Totally perfect. We’re like this easy, happy pair,” she said, noting how well she fit into the Kierland-Herberger family. “Judd’s parents were fabulous people and an inspiration.”

Bob and Kax Herberger were lifelong philanthropists whose giving was unparalleled in our community. They donated land for 31 parks around the Valley and endowed the Herberger Theater, the Salvation Army Herberger Center, The Phoenix Symphony and the Valley Presbyterian Church, among many other gifts.

Giving is a passion for Billie Jo and Judd, too, particularly to arts and cultural organizations. Their financial support benefits Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Theatre Company, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona and Scottsdale Arts, among other organizations. The couple also favors organizations that introduce art to children, such as Valley Youth Theatre, Rosie’s House, Kids in Focus, Act One and Childsplay.

Judd and Billie Jo have been friends and supporters of the Frontdoors team and Judd will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family during this time. 

Andrea Tyler Evans, Publisher | Karen Werner, Editor in Chief | Tom Evans, Contributing Editor | Lisa Pagel, Associate Publisher

About Frontdoors Media

Frontdoors Media celebrates the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community. It’s the premier source of information – and inspiration – for those who strive to make the Valley of the Sun a better place to live.
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