Save the Scenic Santa Ritas is very grateful to the many people who give their time and energy by standing up for what they believe is best for Southern Arizona and have fought and continue to fight tirelessly to prevent new mining projects from ever becoming a reality. As a grassroots organization, we rely almost entirely on the efforts of our many volunteers, including our very dedicated board of directors, all of whom give countless hours each month. Thank you to all of our volunteers for the amazing work you do – together we WILL save the Santa Ritas!
Volunteering with SSSR
If you are interested in learning about our many volunteer opportunities, please fill out our contact form and let us know you would like to help and we will contact you with a list of volunteer opportunities.
Friends of SSSR
SSSR has been fighting mining projects since 1996, and in that time we have been very sad to lose some dear friends who have been instrumental in the fight. We would like to dedicate our future success to the memory of these outstanding individuals:
William (Bill) Cook, who painted the watercolor of the Rosemont Valley that became our logo, died on July 24 at the age of 85. Bill was a longtime resident of Sonoita and Tucson where he designed many award-winning public buildings and private residences and taught in the U of A School of Architecture. A superb watercolorist, he expressed his deep feeling for nature in his many land and seascapes. Bill and his wife Nancy were also ardent travelers, visiting and working–often pro bono–in several countries of Central and South America, and he depicted these places and peoples with great affection and sensitivity. (Some 500 of his watercolors are in public and private collections around the world.)
Bill loved the Santa Ritas and the Rosemont Valley. The painting he made of Rosemont was a precious gift, his special contribution to our struggle to preserve it. Nothing better sums up that contribution–and Bill’s life–than this deathbed remark: when Nancy, noting that he had many visitors and well-wishers, said that the world loved him, Bill replied: “We loved the world.”
Bill was born in Evanston , IL in 1924 and grew up in Glen Ellyn , IL . After spending one year at Iowa State College with his twin brother Ed, he joined the Navy in 1943 and received his naval commission at UCLA. As a Lieutenant he served on the escort carrier USS Saginaw Bay in the South Pacific. Bill returned to UCLA and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947. Having gained an interest in the field of architecture he was accepted at the University of Michigan , College of Architecture & Design where he received his degree in 1952.
While at the Uof M he met his future wife, Nancy Dean. They were married in 1949 and took a 2 year detour accepting a position as Chief Designer at the oldest furniture industry in Bogota , Colombia . He also designed several stores and bookstores in Bogota, Medellin, & Cali.
His first architectural employment was with Orus Eash, AIA, working in Traverse City , MI and Ft. Wayne , IN from 1952-1960.
The family moved to Tucson in 1960 where he accepted a position as associate architect with the firm of William Wilde, Architect, FAIA , Several projects included the U of A Steward Observatory on Kitt Peak , the College Shop, and the Irving Street Fire Station.
In 1961 Bill formed a partnership with Robert J. Swaim, AIA. Their principle projects were private custom residences, small commercial buildings, public school classroom additions, and the Catalina Foothills district elementary school on River. Rd. In 1962, the firm, Cook & Swaim, received the 1 st place award in the Horizon Home National competition, sponsored by the Portland Cement Association for a house design constructed of primarily cement products. In 1968 they merged the firm with Cain, Nelson, Wares, Architects.
Bill took a leave of absence (1968-69) to oversee an international loan to the city of Buenos Aires , Argentina , from the Inter-American Development Bank for major slum and community redevelopment (3,000 units) based on Cooperative Housing concepts.
Cain, Nelson, Wares, Cook, Architects, were recognized by their peers as innovative and creative contemporary architects, and the new firm was able to offer greater productivity and do larger projects. Bill was president of the firm from 1972 to 1982. CNWC gained recognition with some 20 local, state, and national design awards. The Tucson US Federal Building was given a General Services Administration Award of Merit. Among the projects was the expansion and doubling in size of the Tucson Medical Center.
Another CNWC project was for the Bolivian Ministry of Education with funding by the USAID consisting of 6 small rural teachers colleges. This was a joint venture with Bill’s twin brother, Edward A. Cook, Architect.
Bill joined the faculty of the College of Architecture , University of Arizona , in 1981 as a part time adjunct professor teaching architectural design and watercolor painting for architects. He also coordinated the exchange program for U of A architectural students to study at Universidad La Salle in Mexico City alternate years 1983-91.
In 1983, Bill left CNWC Architects and began private practice in Tucson and Sonoita , AZ. With Nancy as his manager, his work was dedicated to custom residences as well as a greater focus on watercolor painting.
In May, 1984, he was honored by receiving the title of Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, the highest recognition given to AIA members. Previously, Bill had received the Arizona Architects Medal and had served as president of the Arizona Society of Architects and the Southern Arizona Chapter, AIA.
During his architectural career, Bill helped several organizations with pro-bono architectural services. These included The House of Neighborly Service, La Frontera Center, and The Haven.
Watercolor painting has been a major part of his professional life. Bill has had art shows since the 1970’s including three at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. His most recent exhibit of new work was at the San Pedro Chapel gallery. More than 500 watercolors are in private collections here and around the world. In 1981 two of his paintings were selected for the permanent collection of the American Institute of Architects’ gallery, the Octagon, in Washington . D.C.
Citation given at the investiture into the College of Fellows, The American Institute of Architects in 1984:
“His extraordinarily keen sense of proportion, balance and color is reflected not only in the contemporary design of his buildings but also in his sensitive and lovely watercolor paintings. With an ability to work patiently and unselfishly for the good of the profession and his community, William H. Cook has distinguished himself in his professional and public service for many years.”
On Sept. 9, 2008, the Pima County Board of Supervisors named the Starr Pass trailhead in honor of Rich.
Rich was a former Board Member of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, and a tremendous help in our efforts to protect the Santa Ritas. He was an active member of the Rincon Group of the Sierra Club, and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him will never forget his wacky sense of humor, his boundless generosity, his passion for protecting the environment, and his great love of everything out doors. He was a great inspiration to me, and I’m grateful to have known him and his wonderful wife Claire. We send our deepest sympathy to his family. We all will miss Rich greatly.
We have lost a good one, and my heart goes out to his family.”
–Carolyn Campbell, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
“Our dear friend Rich Genser died yesterday. He was back visiting friends and family in Tucson when he had a heart attack a couple of weeks ago. There were subsequent complications and yesterday, life support was removed. His family was with Rich when he died. Rich was a good friend to so many here in Arizona and in the Sierra Club and I can think of no one who was more full of life. He loved Arizona, he loved the Earth, and he loved the Sierra Club and all of his many friends here.
Rich also loved a good fight (for the environment) and helped us with numerous efforts — some of them successful such as fighting the first takings battle – and some of them less so such as our Growth Management Initiative in 2000. He did so much for the Sierra Club, for our chapter, and for our local group, that it is difficult to know where to start. He stepped up to chair the chapter when needed, stepped up to chair our fundraising committee when needed, and chaired our local Rincon Group. He also helped lead and support the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. He would go to meetings when we needed a representative there. He would come help with a service project when we needed help. I could go on . . . .
Rich was a truly caring person and would worry a lot about how people were doing. If he was going to be gone and often on email after he moved to Vermont, he would ask us to look out for someone who he thought might be a little down or having a difficult time. After a tough day at the legislature a few years ago, he surprised me with a lovely Jack Dykinga photo that is hanging over my sofa. (Seeing the desert in bloom cannot help but lift your spirit.) Our deep sympathy goes to Rich’s family. Good-bye to our good friend Rich. We shall miss you and wish so much you could have stayed with us longer.”
–Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club
Mickey McArthur, one of our very first Board members of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, passed away on April 6, 2009, in Tucson, from complications of a stroke. He was 81 years old.
Mickey was our secretary during the early years of SSSR, the land swap days. Although he had not been active with us in the last few years, we still saw him at events, and appreciated his continued support. He will be greatly missed.
From The Bulletin, April 15, 2009:
Mickey, born Marshall Earl McArthur, Jr., lived in Sonoita with his wife Karol. He was a proud graduate of Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he became a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. He had many business interests in a long career. He worked in an oil business; pioneered the use of anhydrous ammonia as the most efficient and economical source of agricultural nitrogen; sold a wide variety of farm supplies; and was in the egg production business. Eventually, those businesses were sold and replaced by his main interest – the profitable production of corn and soybeans on his farm near Eldridge, Iowa.
Mickey established lifelong friendships everywhere he lived, from Omaha, Nebraska, to Davenport and Eldridge, Iowa, to South Laguna Beach, California, to Indian Wells, California, and finally to Sonoita. He established strong ties in each community, most recently with his involvement in and service as president of the board of Sonoita-Elgin Emergency Services Incorporated, which has since become the Sonoita-Elgin Fire District.
Mickey was a lover of the outdoors – an avid hunter, hiker and body surfer. He also loved western art and collected it over many years, serving on the Western Art Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum when he lived in Indian Wells, California. He particularly enjoyed his long association with Cheley Colorado Camps. He and his sisters were campers, as have been his children and grandchildren. He was also pleased to have played a role in the formation and success of the John Austin Cheley Foundation, which provides scholarships for children to attend summer camp.
Mickey was an engaging, gregarious person who loved to talk with and keep in touch with people. He was a stalwart member of a group of men who met every Wednesday for lunch in order to discuss the important issues of the day. Mickey had few frustrations in life, but those he did have included the following, in no particular order: garlic, onions, smoking, and political liberals. Above all, he was an enthusiastic optimist who believed that anything in life is possible.
Fred Tahse, an active member of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, and our Advisory Committee, passed away on July 2, 2009, at his home in Green Valley. He will be dearly missed.
Fred was a retired exploration geologist who helped SSSR unravel the intricacies of the geologic and hydrologic reports on the Rosemont Mine. His input was invaluable in our understanding of these issues, and was the basis of many of our comments to the Forest Service on the mine.
George Arille Trigaux, one of the founders of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas and a member of its original Board of Directors, died on May 29, at the age of 83 after a long struggle with cancer. George, was an avid birder, lover of nature and conservationist, passionate about protecting wildlife habitat. After he retired from business, he and his wife June traveled the world to visit the great birding sites as well as to learn about other cultures and environments. At home, in spite of declining health, he worked steadily to inform people about the devastating impacts open pit mining would have in the Santa Ritas. George tempered his ardor with a gentle, friendly, modest demeanor. His many friends in SSSR will miss his passion and his wisdom.