OCTOBER HISTORIC LEGEND: ROSA KEEME (1911-2008)

She was known as “Mama Rosa,” and her green and red enchilada sauces attracted tens of thousands through the decades to her Tempe family restaurant, Rosita’s Fine Mexican Food.    Rosa Morena Keeme was a beloved fixture in the community. Rosita’s has been an anchor on the west side of Tempe. At the Mexican restaurant, Rosa could proudly use old …

OCTOBER LIVING LEGEND: JANE NEUHEISEL

Jane Neuheisel has been the face of Tempe Sister Cities, the Hackett House, Shalimar Country Club, the city’s Oktoberfest, and a force of civic involvement throughout the community.    Proud of her Wisconsin roots, she has kept up with her globetrotting lawyer husband, Dick Neuheisel, in a partnership of 62 years of marriage.  Together they were honored with the Don …

SEPTEMBER HISTORIC LEGEND: DR. SANTOS C. VEGA (1931-2021)

A collection of titles and descriptions comes together to identify Dr. Santos C. Vega: educator, historian, author, civic leader, father of nine, and a spiritual guidepost.   The Tempean lived to be 89 until his passing on January 2, 2021, from natural causes.   Perhaps, his hallmark was how he captured the Mexican culture in his exhaustive writings, most especially …

SEPTEMBER LIVING LEGEND: JEFFREY GLOVER

Tempe City Manager Andrew Ching went straight for broad and proven experience in law enforcement when he named Jeffrey Glover as Interim Police Chief in 2020. Jeff had spent 20 years on the Tempe Police Department force where he held roles in virtually every segment of the department’s operations.  He had just retired last February as a police commander and …

IN MEMORIAM: VIRGINIA S. THOMPSON (1919-2021)

Virginia S Thompson passed peacefully on July 24, 2021, at home with daughter Sharon Miller and daughter-in-law Joyce Thompson by her side. She was born on July 18, 1919, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Michael and Louise Occhiuzzi Santoro.  Virginia graduated from Greensburg High School in 1937 and before graduation was hired by owner Joe Laufe as a bookkeeper at …

AUGUST HISTORIC LEGEND: DR. JAMES “JIM” MCBRIDE

Educator, U.S. Air Force veteran, historian, and writer, Dr. James David “Jim” McBride had a way of joining and staying – a tenacity to choose what he found important and excelling.  Time after time, others came to him and enlisted his skills. That manifested itself in a life filled with purpose, a life well-lived, such as teaching while in his …

AUGUST LIVING LEGENDS: DR. RALPH & ALICE GOITIA

The names Dr. Ralph and Alice Goitia immediately conjure “education” and wide public service in Tempe and the state. The Tempe residents since 1965 have left a legacy in Tempe Elementary School District 3, where Ralph was superintendent from 1977 to 1989, and Alice taught and was the bilingual specialist for the Phoenix Elementary School District.  Ralph led the district …

IN MEMORIAM: HENRIETTA SOZA AGUILAR (1934-2021)

by Dr. Christine Marin Henrietta Soza Aguilar’s obituary appeared in the Arizona Republic on June 9, 2021. She was 87 years of age, born in Tempe on March 13, 1934. The obituary states the names of her parents, Henry and Victoria Soza; and recognizes her many children, grandchildren, and three siblings.   Henrietta was known among her family as “Keta”, the …

JULY HISTORIC LEGEND: LEONARD MONTI SR. (1912-2016)

The late restaurateur Leonard Monti Sr. once told a newspaper interviewer he wanted to be a “top-notch boxer,” but he broke his hand, putting an end to that ambition.  The article’s headline borrowed from the famous film line of Marlon Brando: “I coulda been a contendah.”    Instead, Leonard became Tempe’s best-known restaurant operator where just saying “Monti’s” was enough …

JULY LIVING LEGEND: DAVID SAAR

David Saar is forever identified as the founding artistic director of Childsplay, a beloved theater company launched in 1977 in Tempe that has flooded the imaginations, minds, and memories of people of all ages.    At last count, Childsplay has performed for more than 3.7 million children and adults throughout the Southwest.  He has directed and taught actors for Childsplay …