was one of a kind. He had a heart of gold and cared for everyone, no matter what their station in life. During his 18 years on the Pima County Board of Supervisors he was a fighter for social justice, for our environment and for those of limited means.
Born on December 24, 1958, a son of Albert M. and Viola Elias, Richard was a fifth-generation Tucsonan and a seventh-generation Southern Arizonan. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Emily Velde Elias and daughter, Luz; his sister, Ana Elias Terry (Thad, deceased); his brother, Albert F. Elias (Sarah) and his nieces and nephews, Elena Quach (Josh), Arianna Terry, Matt Elias (Shannon) and Ben Elias (Chelsea).
Richard also was a husband, a father and a friend to many from all walks of life in our community. He cherished his family, cousins and extended family. He was a dedicated Deadhead, but his love for and knowledge of many genres of music was extraordinary. His sudden demise in his sleep at the age of 61 on March 28, 2020 shocked and saddened us all.
On the Board Richard championed the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, fought to keep a public hospital on the southside, advocated for affordable housing, and stood up for immigrants and the downtrodden. He was a lifelong progressive Democrat.
A strong public speaker, Richard won five elections to the District Five seat after his colleagues chose him to replace Raul Grijalva, who had resigned to run for Congress. He had filed the final paperwork last week to seek another four-year term this November.
Before assuming his Board seat, Richard enjoyed a long career in the field of affordable housing, with Pima County, Chicanos por la Causa, and the City of South Tucson.
He earned a degree in History from the University of Arizona after he had labored in the grocery business as proud member of the Retail Clerks Union, later known as United Food and Commercial Workers. He remained a solid union supporter through his years on the Board.
Due to current restrictions a celebration of Richard's life has been postponed and will be announced at later date. Family asks you to consider honoring Richard by making a financial or volunteer contribution to Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network, Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, No More Deaths or Literacy Connects. Arrangements by CARRILLO'S TUCSON MORTUARY.
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Published by Arizona Daily Star on Apr. 1, 2020.