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Final Word: Death of Eddie Basha, a Valley great

I was sad to hear this morning that Eddie Basha had died.

When we talk about great Arizonans, my Karie & Chuck co-host Chuck Powell often asks if Arizona were to have a Mount Rushmore, who would be on it?

Eddie’s face surely would be.

Eddie Basha was a family man who made his living in the most every day of occupations: Running grocery stores. His friendly face and kind voice were a part of most Basha’s commercials. He was a great community man and, behind the scenes, was one of the biggest givers to the Valley’s needy.

He supported St. Vincent de Paul both personally and professionally, showing up in person to serve meals, and using the resources of his grocery stores to help ensure that if he could help it, no Arizonan would go to bed hungry.

Passionate about education, he and his wife put their money and their talents behind Arizona’s school children.

And he even made a run at politics, too, with a bid for governor in 1994.

Interesting, considering the timing of Wednesday’s arguments about same sex marriage at the Supreme Court, to remember the campaign. Eddie was asked on a Valley talk show, if a bill was passed, would he sign a law saying “OK” to same sex marriage in Arizona. He didn’t think twice about answering what was in his heart. He said yes, he would.

Political historians debate the importance of that statement, but Basha HAD been leading the race prior to that, and in the end, the race went to Basha’s Republican opponent, Fife Symington. That social issue may have been one of the big reasons. I wonder what would happen today.

You might not know, but Eddie’s friends and “victims” do: He was famous for his practical jokes. Some of them went on for weeks.

If you are new to the Valley, and didn’t get a chance to experience Eddie, I am sorry. You missed a real gem.