Thursday, May 15, 2014

Manny Cruz and Bob Drye: RIP

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been taking an unscheduled hiatus from blogging due to the fact that it's an even-numbered year (meaning that campaign-related activities have eaten up a lot of my time recently).

The hiatus is coming to an end because of two pieces of sad news - the passings of Manny Cruz on May 12 and Bob Drye on April 29.

Cruz was the 2010 Democratic nominee for State Mine Inspector and was planning a second run for the office when he was diagnosed with cancer.  He withdrew from the race late in 2013 in order to focus on fighting the disease.

While he gained notice as a candidate in 2010, he was far more than that.

More importantly, he was an advocate for improving the safety of Arizona by closing abandoned mines.

Most importantly, he was a beloved husband and son (and one of the warmest, most genuine people that folks who knew him had ever met).

His funeral services are tomorrow, Friday, May 16.

The funeral (both service and burial) will be at noon at Greenwood Memory Lawn, 719 N 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009.

There will be a reception after at Bitzee Mama's, 7023 N 58th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85301.

I didn't know Manny as well as some, so here are some words about him from Terry Goddard (via Facebook) - 
"Very early this morning, Arizona lost Manny Cruz -- a big man in soul and heart, a champion for mine safety and for more responsive, responsible government. Manny, a fighter to the end, is at rest after a courageous battle with cancer. In politics and in the field closing abandoned mines, Manny made things happen. He liked to do things with a bang. But most of us will remember his great smile and gentle persistence. Truly, a happy warrior. He lived a remarkable life. We miss him already. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Valerie, and his mother, Sally, and all his family whose love surrounded him through the hard months. They are heroes."

The other tragic loss that hit our community recently was the passing of Bob Drye.

Most of us knew him as a dedicated and ever-present activist in Tempe, volunteering his wisdom, time, and energy to support Democratic candidates, the Democratic Party, and the community in any way he could. 

Long before he came to Arizona he was a family man (seven children, 18 grandchildren, and five [and counting] great-grandchildren) and an accomplished psychiatrist.

A service will he held Saturday at 10 a.m. at University Presbyterian Church, 139 E Alameda Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282.

Via email, from Phil Amorosi, one of Bob's many friends and someone that Bob mentored:
"Long time PC Robert Drye passed away on Tuesday, April 29. He was 86. Dr. Drye was one of the people that believed in me when I became chair and was instrumental in turning Dist. 27 (at the time) blue. He was the district secretary for many years, got signatures, always canvassed, a State Committeeman. He did whatever was asked. He was a life long Democrat from Vermont. He was very smart, started MIT when he was 16! He was a military man and as a psychiatrist helped set up the evaluation forms to recognize mental illness in troops. In his younger day he was a featured speaker at many forums."

My deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of both Manny and Bob.

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