When Debbie and I read the news of the death of Jeff Grant, longtime Amphitheater Public Schools Governing Board member, we reacted with the same disheartened countenance combined with a dollop of denial and, for me, a little fright.
It's hard for us to comprehend that Jeff is no longer with us. Debbie and I viewed him as one of "the usual suspects" who do so much for our community. He seemed to always be there when he was needed.
I met Jeff when he was involved with the changes that were going on in the late 1990s and early in the new millennium. It was a very hectic time for Oro Valley and the Amphi school district.
The town was in the midst of a huge growth spurt. And the Amphi school district had just gone through the recall of 1999. A new superintendent and a new board were in place. They needed direction to stabilize the district.
Jeff's calm demeanor and businesslike approach were much needed during this challenging time.
We interacted many times with Jeff both at the town level and after he became a member of the school district Governing Board.
Jeff was one of those people you knew you could count on to be there working to do the right thing.
"Boy, this is a big loss," Deb said. "Now what?"
We sat at the breakfast table and could not believe that a cohort like Jeff would no longer be at important community meetings. At our age, he is gone!
The thing I will miss most about Jeff his calmness compared to Deb's and my high energy. He could always see both sides of an issue in a nonjudgmental way.
Jeff was a businessman who had worked in the system and had a firm grasp of all aspects. He knew that changes are part of the process and that it takes time and input to keep our schools on the right track.
What amazed me most about Jeff was that I never knew which side of an issue he was on. His style of examining both sides and making a case for both was important to his decision-making process.
Jeff was 67 when he died Jan. 27 of cancer.
With his passing came the recollection of the many changes our community has undergone in the 17 years we have lived here.
We will miss him and will never forget his steadfast leadership when it was so sorely needed.
Enjoy the journey,
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