Obituaries

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Tucson Honors George Floyd's Memory at The Dunbar Pavilion

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 3:41 PM

Event organizers Jahmar Anthony and Zion Givens ask the crowd to hold up a fist and observe an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence for Geroge Floyd during the vigil at the Dunbar Pavilion on June 1, 2020. Floyd was killed Monday, May 25 after a police officer held his knee to the 46-year-old Minneapolis resident's neck for nearly nine minutes. - AUSTIN COUNTS
  • Austin Counts
  • Event organizers Jahmar Anthony and Zion Givens ask the crowd to hold up a fist and observe an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence for Geroge Floyd during the vigil at the Dunbar Pavilion on June 1, 2020. Floyd was killed Monday, May 25 after a police officer held his knee to the 46-year-old Minneapolis resident's neck for nearly nine minutes.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

BREAKING: Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias Dead at 61

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2020 at 3:45 PM

Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias: 1958-2020. - COURTESY OF PIMA COUNTY
  • Courtesy of Pima County
  • Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias: 1958-2020.
Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias died today at age 61.

Elias, a Democrat who has represented District 5 since being appointed to the board in 2002, has been serving as chair of the five-member board.

Justice of the Peace Ray Carroll, who served alongside Elias on the board before declining to seek reelection in 2016, said he respected Elias' commitment and expertise in areas such as healthcare, the environment and housing.

"We had a lot of successes, a lot of disagreements, but we never failed in trying to do our best for our community," Carroll said. "He had a deep understanding of his district and believed in healthy spirit, healthy mind, healthy body."

More details to come.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In Memoriam: Isaac Kirkman

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 3:17 PM

Isaac Kirkman - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Isaac Kirkman

Born on August, 2, 1979, Isaac Kirkman grew up in Greenville, South Carolina into a military family who moved about regularly.

In a 2015 interview with Cynthia Dagnal-Myron, for The HuffPost, Kirkman described his hometown as a place where “the Civil War never ended.” He encountered bigotry and intolerance. “I was an alien to this world,” he said. “And was treated like one. Bullied. Humiliated. But I was determined to write my way to a better life. I would write my way to freedom.”
He spent part of his youth living on the slopes of an active volcano in Sicily, where a beloved teacher, Signora Longo, told him how St. Agatha used breast milk to protect Catania from the volcano’s destructive flows.

A gifted child, Isaac painted and drew, eventually gaining admission to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey.

He also spent long years in the American hospital system, where he was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a hellish genetic condition that causes progressive deterioration of connective tissues throughout the body and intractable pain. He also struggled with depression throughout his life.

A decline in health prompted him to turn his focus to writing. “There remain obstacles,” he said. “But I will make art from them.”

Possessing an open and inquisitive mind, he pored over psychology and occult texts.

Isaac never drove a car. He spent a lot of his time walking, taking in the urban landscape in different ways and always observing.

A troubled teen, for a time he lived on the streets. “I always had a notebook on me,” he said. “Writing on the couch as my friends sold drugs out the front door, sleeping outside, writing descriptions of the junkies and the outlaws, writing metaphors to capture the agony of the ghetto, and the ecstasy of God.”

He found his heart and words—depicting the human struggle towards redemption—on the streets.

After moving to Tucson, Isaac would often walk the streets, in the scorching heat and torrential rains, it mattered not. He'd leave votive candles on shrines and the sites of recent homicides,. “to pay respect to the spirits and religions of the barrios, honoring their losses as well as my own,” he said.

Here in Barrio Santa Rosa, where he lived, he got on the path to sobriety and enrolled in his first and only writing class at The Writers Studio. Soon afterwards he had his first piece of fiction published.

“I never gave up on writing because it was my destiny,” he said. “Because I had to tell the stories of the forgotten. I didn’t come to this through academics. I came from my own grave. I have been beaten humble and beaten pure.”

Isaac’s poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals: Waxwing, Huffington Post, Thuglit, Tucson Weekly and many others.


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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Remembrance for Sam Borozan This Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 1:58 PM

Sam Borozan: 1928-2019
  • Sam Borozan: 1928-2019
The man lovingly referred to by friends and family as “Mr. NAU” will be remembered at a service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1946 E. Lee St.

Sam Borozan, who graduated from the Flagstaff campus in 1957, died on Thursday, July 25. He was 90.

Borozan spent much of the past six decades around Northern Arizona University, working in the financial aid and university’s alumni relations office.

Borozan, who served in the Marine Corp. for six years during the Korean War, was born in Bisbee but raised in Tucson.

He leaves behind his older sister, Milena Parber, 92.  His brothers, Michael and George (a longtime local broadcaster), passed away in years past.

A graduate of Tucson High School, Borozan also spent much of his free time after graduating with a bachelors and two master’s degrees from NAU working as an official in numerous sports for the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Parber described her late younger brother as a kind soul who enlisted in the Marines out of high school, despite having a stomach ulcer that should have disqualified him from serving.

Instead, Borozan worked as a line cook at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, dishing out food to grunts and generals alike.

“I was tickled by his enthusiasm for the job,” Parber said via email. “He sent me an official Marine cookbook, explaining, ‘It’s easy, Micki, just divide everything in the recipe book by a thousand!’”

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Farewell to Dick Tomey, the Finest Football Coach Arizona Ever Had

Posted By on Sun, May 12, 2019 at 10:18 AM

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Ask anybody who ever experienced success as a football player to describe the coach who had the greatest impact on him and the response will almost always go something like, “Oh man, he was hard on me. He’d yell and scream, get in my face and cuss me out…I loved that dude.”

When you talk to guys who played for Dick Tomey, the former University of Arizona football coach who died Friday at the age of 80 from lung cancer, they generally skip over the preamble and go right to the “I loved that dude.”

This is not to say that Tomey didn’t have the fire and the fury, but he interacted with his players on a more-personal level. One of his best quotes was, “Football isn’t complicated. People are.”
Tomey went out of his way to get to know his players and to try to learn how best to motivate each one. Keith Smith, who shared the quarterbacking duties with Ortege Jenkins during Arizona’s best-ever season, remembered that Tomey somehow treated the two QBs “totally different(ly), but exactly the same.” He was known for his honestly, his compassion and his love of people.

Dick Tomey followed the usual circuitous coaching route, serving as an assistant here and a coordinator there before finally landing his first head coaching job, taking over a woefully bad Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors program. Through force of will and grit, he turned the Warriors into a winner, going 63-46-4 over a 10-year period. What’s funny is that his record on the island averages out to just a little bit better that 6-5, a season record that would follow him around.

While Tomey was building a winner in Honolulu, three time zones to the east, Larry Smith was working wonders in Tucson. Smith had taken over a program that was in the dregs of the Pac-10 AND was in the NCAA doghouse for a variety of violations committed during the previous coach’s tenure. Smith became a local hero when his underdog Cats knocked Arizona State out of a berth in the Rose Bowl in 1982. Smith then built Arizona into something of a power and twice nearly took the Cats to Pasadena on New Year’s Day. It seemed inevitable that Smith would leave for a bigger program. When he did, he did so rather inelegantly to in-conference rival USC.

Arizona then hired Dick Tomey, who was met with a collective “Who?” by Arizona fans. Smith’s last Wildcat team had gone 9-3 and finished the season ranked 11th in the country. Tomey’s first team was the absolute picture of mediocrity, finishing 4-4-3 (back in those days, college games could end in a tie). His next two teams went 7-4 and 8-4, respectively, and Cat fans began to warm to the coach with the folksy charm and preternatural calm.

There was nothing flashy about his teams. The offense scored when it could, special teams did their jobs, but the members of the defense played like their butts were on fire. Two members of the vaunted “Desert Swarm” defense—Tedy Bruschi and Rob Waldrop—are in the College Football Hall of Fame. That 1993 team started a six-year streak in which the Cats won 48 games. (In the 1990s, Tomey’s Wildcats would win more games than any other team in the Pac-10.) It culminated with the 1998 team that went 12-1, missed the Rose Bowl by the flukiest of flukes and ended the season ranked No. 4 in the country.

But when his next two teams went a combined 11-12, the fickle fans called for a change, something most have probably regretted to this day. What has followed is 18 years with a combined record of 103-119 for Arizona football under three coaches (John Mackovic, Mike Stoops and Rich Rodriguez) who won occasionally but mostly brought shame to Arizona with their sideline antics.

A lot of long-time Tucsonans remember Tomey for the way he was off the field. He played in a men’s baseball league, competing against people half his age. And he didn’t play first base or right field; he played catcher, a position that is brutal on an older guy’s knees.

One time I took my daughter to see Tucson legend Linda Ronstadt in concert with Aaron Neville. As the crowd waited for the Tucson Convention Center doors to open, I spotted Tomey and his wife, Nanci. Other coaches might have Big Timed it, huffing and puffing as to why he wasn’t being given special treatment. But Tomey was just part of the crowd. He made small talk with the people around him, always including his wife in the conversation.

I had seen him at press conferences, but I have no idea if he recognized my face. But he asked how I was doing. I introduced my daughter, Darlene. He got a big smile on his face and said, “Father-daughter concert date. That’s so nice.”

I turned to the couple standing behind us and said, “Dick Tomey approves. I’m Father of the Year!”

Tomey’s overall coaching record of 183-145-7 in 29 seasons averages out to 6.3-5. His Arizona record of 95-64 averages out to 6.8-4.8. But those are just numbers. Dick Tomey once won the Provost Award as the UA’s best teacher. I’m pretty sure that’s a record that will never be broken.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tucson Says Goodbye to Don Diamond

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 7:30 PM

RIP, Don Diamond - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • RIP, Don Diamond
He was an influential leader, a charismatic entrepreneur and man who loved Tucson until his final days.

That’s how friends and family described the legacy of the late Donald R. Diamond, a prominent Tucson-based real estate developer and philanthropist, during a memorial held on Wednesday afternoon.

Diamond died on Monday, March 25. He was 91.

More than 300 people packed the Catalina Room at the Jewish Community Center Tucson. Although the required garb was dark the tone of the ceremony was playful and light-hearted, keeping in step with Diamond’s temperament.

“My father couldn’t afford a rabbi for the service, so I will be officiating this afternoon,” his eldest daughter Rabbi Jennifer Diamond told the piqued crowd.

She further said Donald Diamond would be pleased to know that he’ll finally recoup for paying for her the five years of rabbinic school.

Both comments sweetened the heavy mood of the day with warm laughter.

After leading a traditional service, Jennifer Diamond offered their personal guests a glimpse into her family’s life.

Diamond was a scrappy preteen, who always returned home to his family’s Park Avenue apartment in ragged condition, she explained. He was eventually relegated to using the service elevator due to his appearance, which didn’t alter his behavior.

“So from an early age it was clear that he was going to go his own way,” she said.

Diamond, a New York native, initially relocated to Tucson in the 1940s to attend Brandes Boarding School, but went to high school in Washington D.C. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II at age 17, lying about his age in order to serve.

He attended the University of Arizona from 1947 to 1949, where he majored in business and met his wife, Joan; the pair began their 64-year marriage in 1952.

Joan Diamond died on Dec. 28, 2016.

Diamond spent the beginning of his professional career as a commodities trader on Wall Street. In 1965, at age 37, he retired from trading and relocated to Tucson with Joan and their three daughters Helaine, Jennifer and Deanne.

After he made Tucson his home, Diamond would become of one of most influential private landowners in Pima County. And in 1988, he founded Diamond Ventures, Inc., a company that aims to engage in high quality real estate investments while considering the environmental impact of land development.


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Monday, March 25, 2019

Gov. Ducey Issues Statement on Passing of Don Diamond

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 4:28 PM

Don Diamond, Tucson land developer and philanthropist, passed away at 91 today. He is known for his decades of real estate development around Tucson and Pima County, as well as his philanthropic efforts. 
COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Upon news of his passing, Gov. Ducey issued the following statement:

“Arizona is saddened by the loss of Don Diamond. Genuine, generous, and respected by all, Don displayed a deep love for Arizona and commitment to Tucson dating back to his earliest days. Through his business and real-estate career, Don — possibly more than anyone else —helped develop Arizona’s metropolitan areas into the growing cities they are today. He will also be remembered for his extensive philanthropic efforts, which included supporting causes such as promoting higher education, expanding access to children’s healthcare, and protecting natural habitats. No doubt, Don’s legacy will have a lasting impact on Arizona for many years to come. Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the entire Diamond family during this difficult time.”

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Tucson Remembers Karl Eller

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 3:03 PM

Karl Eller with his wife and fellow Wildcat, Stevie. - COURTESY UA
  • Courtesy UA
  • Karl Eller with his wife and fellow Wildcat, Stevie.

The UA's Eller College of Management is a household name across Arizona, and its namesake Karl Eller is remembered by many after his passing on Sunday, March 10.

"Karl Eller was a true pillar of this community and an inspiration to the many people whose lives were positively impacted by his generosity, dedication and Wildcat spirit," said UA President Robert C. Robbins in a release.

Eller was born in Chicago in 1928 and grew up in Tucson. Growing up across the street from Arizona Stadium, Eller's mother rented rooms to UA students and Eller's connection to the university was born. He enrolled in the U.S. Army after high school and later attended the University of Arizona to study business.

About a decade after graduation, Eller founded Eller Outdoor Advertising. He later went on to lead the Gannett Company and Columbia Pictures as board chairman and CEO. In the early 1980's Eller took over the Circle K Corporation.

In 1998 the UA School of Business was renamed the Eller College of Management to recognize the legacy, philanthropy and impact Eller had on the school.

UA President Robert C. Robbins, Karl and Stevie Eller and Eller College of Management Dean Paulo Goes. - COURTESY UA
  • Courtesy UA
  • UA President Robert C. Robbins, Karl and Stevie Eller and Eller College of Management Dean Paulo Goes.

"What an honor it has been to know Karl Eller. He used his education, intelligence and a deep commitment to integrity to achieve the highest levels of success, while always keeping a little bit of Tucson ruggedness and authenticity," said Paulo Goes, dean of the Eller College of Management.

COURTESY FIESTA BOWL.
  • Courtesy Fiesta Bowl.
Over the course of his career, Eller and his wife Stevie donated millions of dollars to UA to develop the Entrepreneurship Program, fund student career development and more.

Eller was also involved with Arizona athletics, helping bring UA into the PAC-12 and the Fiesta Bowl to Arizona. The Fiesta Bowl released a statement remembering his impact.

Eller is survived by his wife, Stevie, their two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is remembered and honored by many in Tucson and his legacy will live on through the Eller College of Management. 

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