Charles “Bucky” Steele, the
influential leader of the Tucson High Marching 100 band who
spent 25 years at the podium with the Tucson Pops Orchestra,
died Monday in the Tucson VA hospital’s hospice unit. He was 91
and had battled Alzheimer’s since 2007.
Steele took over the Pops Orchestra
from founder Georges DeMeester, who had clocked in 25 years at
the podium and was ready to dissolve the group if Steele hadn’t
stepped up. Steele, with his wife, Jeanne, as his emcee, went on
to build the orchestra’s financial support and audience for its
“Music Under the Stars” concerts at Reid Park.
“What he did was he saved that
orchestra from falling apart when he took over. It was ready to
dissolve,” Steele’s successor, László Veres, said.
Steele, who was born on a ranch in
rural Scottsbluff, Neb., and was raised around horses and
livestock, came to Tucson in 1958 to teach band at Tucson High.
It took him no time to immerse himself in Tucson’s music scene,
taking jobs in any band that would have him, including the TSO,
the Tucson Opera orchestra and the Flagstaff Festival Orchestra.
“His whole life was music,” Jeanne
Steele said. “His first job was when he was in fifth grade with
an adult band at kind of a dive in the middle of the
countryside. They had the screens up so the beer bottles
wouldn’t hit them.”
Steele led the Pops for 25 years
before retiring in 1997 when he was 75 years old. He had a
reputation for being something of a taskmaster among his
musicians — from the Tucson High Marching 100 band members he
led for 23 years to the professionals who moonlighted from the
Tucson Symphony Orchestra to play in the seasonal Pops
“He liked to yell,” said TSO
violinist Fran Veres, László’s wife, who played in the Pops
under Steele in the early 1980s. “But everybody understood it
because it was a job.”
“He could quickly silence 100-plus
squirrelly students as well as all our horns and drums with one
certain facial expression that we all understood very well,”
recalled Robin Calkins Gwozdz, whom Steele made the first female
drum major at Tucson High in 1977.
But Steele always did it with humor —
often biting and sharp — and rarely did students take offense,
Gwozdz said in an email interview.
“He was always inspiring. He brought
in other artists for us to play with, and he would give us
opportunities outside our comfort zones because he knew we were
excited about trying new things,” added Gwozdz’s sister, Carol
Calkins, who played piccolo and flute under Steele at Tucson
High and on occasion in the Pops after she graduated in 1972.
“He celebrated people’s talents and their unique possibilities.”
In addition to his wife of 44 years,
Steele is survived by three sons, Bruce Steele of Oklahoma,
Chuck Steele of Dos Cabezas and Steve Steele of Tucson; a
brother, Joe Steele of Nebraska; a sister, Ruthanne Hooper of
Nebraska; and seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3
p.m. Jan. 11 at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2450 E. Fort
Steele was the sixth member of the
Tucson Pops family to die in 2013. Dorothy Spence died in early
June, and the orchestra lost its primary cheerleader and
fundraiser, Dave Sitton, and musicians Richard Leek (double
bass) and Rebecca Son (viola) in August. Violinist Harriet
Cirzan died on Nov. 14.
I received an e-mail from Dina
Dias Almazon letting us know that our classmate,
Frank Yslas, passed away a few weeks ago.
received an e-mail from
Rudy DeLagarza with a new e-mail address:
Janice Brooks, now Janice Moore, notified us that
she and her husband John are moving back to Tucson from
Montana. Congratulations Janice, welcome home.
this posted on Facebook. It is the lunch counter menu from
Woolworth from 1957. The most expensive thing on the menu was 65¢.
message from Patti (Dunlap) Cota-Robles:
The refurbishing of the "T" at Tucson High was victoriously
accomplished thanks to all of the loving support we received
from THS Alumni. I have attached a flyer with the before and
The "T" was illuminated last Thursday during the first football
game of the season. There was a special ceremony and John
Warnock, President of the Class of 1959, gave a short
dedication. The Class of 1959 donated the original "T" 54 years
ago. I am sure this "T" will last for another 50-plus years.
have the names of all of the donors and we will give you a great
"T" shirt in gratitude for your support. If you donated to
the refurbishment of the "T" please respond to this e-mail and
your name, address, and the size of "T" shirt
you want. Dickie and I will mail your shirt to
you. The sizes are S, M, L, XL, XXL.
All of you wonderful supporters will also have your name put on
a plaque that will hang in the main hall at THS. How Cool!
Patti (Dunlap) Cota-Robles
Our classmate, Mike Siegel,
is to be inducted into the Badger Hall of Fame in October.
Mike was nominated by Gary Freeman and Gary sent this from
the nomination letter:
Michael Siegel arrived in Tucson in 1954 from New York. He
attended MANSFELD Junior High and graduated TUCSON HIGH
SCHOOL in 1960. At THS he was in the first Advance Placement
courses ever offered for Chemistry and Physics, WAS THE
MASTER OF CEREMONIES FOR THE SENIOR FOLLIES, and the
Baccalaureate Speaker at graduation.
MICHAEL earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell
University, received a medical degree from The Chicago
Medical School in 1968, spent two years as an National
Institutes of Health (NIH) fellow in radiology at Temple
University, FOLLOWED BY a two-year NIH fellowship IN NUCLEAR
MEDICINE at Johns Hopkins University AND THEN FOUR years
there as an assistant professor of RADIOLOGY/Nuclear
Medicine. HE served two years as a major in the Air Force
during the Vietnam War.
Dr. Siegel, a FULL PROFESSOR, has been on the faculty of the
Keck (USC) School of Medicine for 37 years. He founded their
nuclear medicine residency program, is the immediate past
Director of the USC Division of Nuclear Medicine AND CHIEF
OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE AT FIVE HOSPITALS SIMULTANEOUSLY. He has
authored over 250 peer-reviewed publications and contributed
chapters to 23 medical textbooks. Dr. Siegel has been
married for 47 years to Marsha. They have a TWO CHILDREN AND
He INVENTED THE Amplatz Siegel Pneumatic Radiology Pressure
System to visualize smaller arteries of the extremities on
angiography. Dr. Siegel PERFORMED the world's first
Multigated Acquisition Scan, (MUGA) a test to look at
cardiac function without dyes or catheters AND THE FIRST
THALLIUM SCAN in the US. BOTH OF WHICH NOW ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT
50% OF ALL NUCLEAR MEDICINE PROCEDURES PERFORMED DAILY
THROUGH THE WORLD. He pioneered Peripheral Vascular
PERfusion Imaging USED to determine whether a leg ulcers
caused by NARROWED blood vessels can heal with medical
therapy , rather than amputation.
Last June he was awarded the most prestigious honor given by
the American College of Nuclear Medicine, a Lifetime
Achievement Award. Leading up to their award, while Chief of
Nuclear Medicine at USC, Dr. Siegel traveled the world
sharing his expertise, making over 180 presentations at
I received an e-mail from Cenobio (Pete) Robles
with a new e-mail address:
August 25, 2013
Cenobio (Pete) Robles also reported
that he was looking at the obituaries on the Arizona
Daily Star's web site and saw the name Gloria
Galarza Duarte there. She passed away on April
The obituary reads as follows:
Gloria Galarza Duarte peacefully went to be with our
Lord surrounded by family. She is survived by husband,
Andy Duarte; son, Raymond Pacheco; daughters, Gloria
Pacheco and Tracy Cavazos; brothers, sisters, eight
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was a
Tucson High graduate, retired from TMC after 38 years.
Those who knew her loved her personality and good sense
of humor. Her life was strong and so was her heart. Our
lives are now torn all apart. We will miss you a lot and
you are so loved. Our beautiful mom, an angel above. Mom
rest in peace, we love you and God Bless you. Mass will
be offered Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 10:30 a.m. at St.
Augustine's Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave.
Larry Ellermann sent in his
new e-mail address.
Arizona Daily Star
in the Sports section:
(read down the list until you see a familiar name):
Pima County Hall of Fame: Cats coach
Lopez heads class of 14 set for induction
Andy Lopez has spent more time as the
UA baseball coach than anything else. He has plenty of reasons
to consider Tucson as his permanent home, and now he has
another. The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame announced Wednesday
at the Holiday Inn that Lopez, a three-time national coach of
the year, is included in its 14-member Class of 2013, which will
be formally inducted on Oct. 27.
"This is special," said Lopez, who
has coached the Wildcats since 2001 and led them to a national
championship in 2012.
"Our kids have grown up here, our
kids have graduated from the UA, and we feel like this is home
so it is kind of neat to be honored."
More than half of the inductees were,
like Lopez, selected for their success as coaches, including
longtime Pima College men's soccer coach David Cosgrove. Here's
a look at them:
• Graduated from Tucson High and then
the UA with a degree in education before going on to become a
successful youth and elementary school coach in several sports
• Before he became a member of the
professional rodeo, Clifford played football and wrestled at
Pueblo High from 1955 to 1959. He holds the single-season school
records for points and touchdowns and the single-game mark for
rushing with 206 yards.
• Once ranked the No. 34 tennis
player in the country by the USTA, Cohen won a singles, doubles
and team title with Canyon del Oro High from 1983 to 1986 and
then helped Northwestern win its first Big Ten title in any
men's sport in 25 years.
• Has been the Pima College men's
soccer coach since 1998 and has led the team to 10 top-15
finishes nationally and more than 200 wins. Cosgrove, who also
co-founded the Tucson Soccer Academy, led the team to the
national finals most recently in 2011 and is a five-time
conference coach of the year.
• Won eight state swimming titles at
Palo Verde High and, after serving in Vietnam with the Army,
returned to Tucson to teach and coach for more than three
decades where his biggest accomplishment was leading the Cholla
boys basketball team to the 1993 state title.
• Running back helped lead Tucson
High's football team to back-to-back state titles in 1951 and
1952 and was selected to play in the All-American game before
going to Oklahoma A&M where he suffered a career-ending injury
and went into coaching.
• Coached Pueblo High's wrestling
team to the 1968 state title and had more than 20 individual
• Umpired numerous baseball games at
every level over 50 years, including more than 80 UA-ASU games.
• Spent more than 35 years coaching,
most of which came at Eastern Arizona College, where he
accumulated more than 500 wins in men's and women's basketball.
• Crowned 14 wrestling state
champions and won two team titles over 36 years at Pueblo High
and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in
• A three-sport standout at Tucson
High from 1965 to 1969, Petroshus was an All-America, All-State
and All-City half back in 1968. He went on to play football at
the UA where he led the team in rushing as a junior but had his
career cut short with an injury.
• Taught and coached for more than 30
years at Apollo Middle School, Rincon/University High and
Sahuaro High where he is still helping out with football and
John G. Ruiz
• Coached Canyon del Oro High to six
golf state championships and 13 division titles over 23 years in
addition to being an assistant for the state championship
football teams in 1976 and 1977.
Thanks to Steve Lew for sending me a new
e-mail address for Sammy Lee.