Remembering Eddie Basha: "We All Mourn the Loss of an Arizona Giant"

Eddie Basha
  • Eddie Basha
Eddie Basha, the grocery-store magnate and one-time Arizona gubernatorial candidate, died yesterday at the age of 75. Basha was a philanthropist who offered support to children and those who were down on their luck.

The Basha family released this statement yesterday:

It's with the heaviest of hearts that my family and I share news we'd hoped never to have to share: Eddie passed away today.

We want to share with you just how much Eddie loved Bashas', its members and its customers. From our earliest childhood, he always reinforced to us the importance of our members and giving back to our community. Some of his fondest times were being with Bashas' members and customers, whether at the office, the Distribution Center or in the stores.

To us, and to many of you, Eddie was always larger than life, and he gave his heart and soul to Bashas' Family of Stores. Ironically, Eddie never saw himself that way. He considered himself to be a Bashas' member, no different than any other, and he considered all Bashas' members to be a part of his family.

During Eddie's lifetime, he faced many challenges, the last few years being among the most challenging. But his desire to serve the people of the state he loved so well, and to take care of the members that he cared for so much, always gave him strength in the face of adversity.

It is our collective strength that has seen us through difficult days. This strength will continue to move us forward, even though we have suffered such a tragic loss. As a family, we want to thank you for your devotion, thoughts and prayers.

Bill Roe, chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, remembers Basha's many contributions:

We are all saddened by the death of Eddie Basha. Eddie’s life was a wonderful example of kindness, generosity and humor. He liked to refer to himself as your “friendly neighborhood grocer,” but he was so much more. Eddie was a champion of education. The entire state of Arizona benefited from Eddie and his wife Nadine's unwavering dedication to improving our education system. We wish to convey our sympathy and prayers to Eddie’s family. Tonight we all mourn the loss of an Arizona giant.

Gov. Jan Brewer remembers that he was "genuine in his beliefs and a gentleman in his actions":

It was with sadness that I learned this afternoon of the passing of Eddie Basha. I had known and worked with him throughout my 30 years in public service. Regardless of the issue - and we did not always come down on the same side - I invariably found him to be genuine in his beliefs and a gentleman in his actions.

Eddie was Arizona through and through. Born of a pioneer Arizona family, Eddie grew to become one of our state's giants in business, politics and community service. He loved Arizona, and it showed in his decades of devoted work on behalf of Arizona schools and students.

Eddie Basha showed all that could - and still can - be accomplished in Arizona with hard work, dedication to community and love of family. That may be his most lasting legacy, and it's one for which his family can be proud.

The gang at the Children's Action Alliance, which received tremendous support from Basha, shares

We are so very saddened at the loss of our friend, Eddie Basha. Eddie was a life-long champion for children, families and education. He and Nadine were instrumental in the creation and growth of Children’s Action Alliance. Eddie’s heart was as big as his smile. He leaves an incredible legacy of love and community action that have changed Arizona forever. We smile through our tears at our memories of Eddie’s humor and kindness and we know that his spirit lives on in the laughter and learning of children across Arizona. Our thoughts and hearts are with Nadine and the whole Basha family.

The Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts recalls Basha's generosity:

Basha was often the first to step forward when someone was in need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written about a person hurting and like clockwork, the phone would ring.

“This is Eddie,” he would say, and no further introduction was needed. He would then offer to pay for whatever it was that was needed on one condition: that nobody ever found out it came from him.

That was charity to Eddie, something you gave with no expectation for credit or glory or even thanks.

The Republic's E.J. Montini recalls a column he didn't write—at Basha's request:

It’s not just about the money.

It’s not the volunteer work.

It’s not the love of the place and the loyalty to it.

It’s knowing that we live in a town with some really good people, with people who understand what’s important in life and know how to celebrate it — quietly.

Eddie Basha was one of those guys.