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 …

New THS Board Member: Dr. Christine Marin

Christine Marin, Professor Emeritus. Archivist-Historian, Arizona State University.  Dr. Marin is the founder of the prestigious archival repository, the Chicano/a Research Collection and Archives at the Hayden Library in Tempe, Arizona. As Adjunct Faculty Associate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she taught courses on the history of Mexican Americans for the History Department and the School of …

JUNE HISTORIC LEGEND: MARY BISHOP (1930-2017)

Her flame burned brightly for public education, civil rights, and the dignity of work.  Mary Bishop did her part in getting Arizona to embrace equal rights and social justice. She experienced school segregation and prejudice, but she took satisfaction at the results of the tenacious work of many to make change.   “I marched around Phoenix to open up counters …