Celaya, Frank "Art" Jr.
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Frank "Art" Celaya, Jr., of Florence, Arizona, left this life peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Sunday, July 8, 2012. He was born in Florence on December 13, 1926, the eldest of eleven children of his late parents, Arturo and Consuelo Celaya. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Connie, son-in-law Kevin Davis and grandson Jonathan Celaya, brothers David and Eddie, and sister Angie. Art is survived by his daughters Pauline Caldwell (Dennis), Rita Davis and son Frank III (Melissa), grandchildren, Dennis Jr. (Jennifer), Constance (Todd), Kathryn, Rebecca, Christopher, and Kaylee, great-grandchildren Isabella, Jackson, Sophia and Connor, brothers Alfred (Julia), Pete (Sally), Louie (Margie), Tony (Marian), and Tom, sisters Flora Montano (Richard) and Carmella Anchondo (Eddie). A lifelong resident of Florence he graduated from Florence Union High School in 1945 before serving honorably in the U.S. Army in Panama. After returning from his military service he attended Phoenix College before transferring to the University of Arizona where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees in education. He also attended Northern Arizona University during the summers to help build his education background. He began his teaching career as a Social Studies teacher at Florence Junior High School in 1952 and would serve the school until his retirement in 1988 as Superintendent of Schools. During his 36 years of service to the district he also served as a guidance counselor, football and baseball varsity coach, athletic director and principal. A partial list of his professional associations include his membership in the Arizona and National Education Associations, National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Arizona and American Association of School Administrators, Phi Delta Kappa, Rotary Club International, the Arizona Interscholastic Association where he served on the Legislative Council and Executive and Coordination Committees, Class 'B' Athletic Conference President, City of Florence Vice Chairman of TRIAD and Planning and Zoning Commission, Pinal County School Superintendent's Association President, Executive Board of the Arizona School Administrators and Membership and Policies Committees, President and Board Member of the Central Arizona Vocational Institute, the Legislative Committee of the Arizona School Board's Association and a member of the Phoenix College Student's Hall of Fame. He committed his life to improving educational opportunities to all. Along the way he made many friends and touched the lives of countless students, teachers, parents and his community. After retiring he was elected to serve two terms in his central Arizona Legislative district in the Arizona State House of Representatives where he continued his work to improve education and public welfare in our State. He will be remembered as a tireless advocate for all those who sought to improve their lives through education and hard work. His family will honor his legacy as a mentor and example of integrity throughout his life. The love he shared with his family will continue to inspire future generations. He touched the lives of many. He will be remembered at a viewing and rosary on Friday, July 13, 2012 beginning at 6:00 pm. His funeral mass will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 9:00am. Both services will be held at the Assumption Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 241 East 8th Street, Florence, Arizona. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a donation to the Art and Connie Scholarship Fund for graduating high school seniors. Call 480-430-3446 for information.
Published in The Arizona Republic on July 12, 2012