Profound sadness, both personal and professional, prompts me to write concerning the passing of Eddie Basha (on Tuesday, March 26), a community leader, a philanthropist, a champion of education and a great man. Not only has Chandler lost one of its best but all of Arizona has lost a man dedicated to making where he lived a better place.
For me, growing up in Chandler, Eddie Basha was a larger-than-life figure. I saw the television commercials for his stores but I also witnessed his contribution to the arts, to charity, his leadership in education and to his community as a whole. I saw firsthand what a good man he was. A personal experience with him was very defining for me. I ran as a write-in candidate for the Chandler City Council years ago. Eddie invited me into his home, talked with me candidly and shared his specific views on government. Although Eddie did not support my efforts to run as a write-in candidate, he offered to produce my campaign signs. He shared how he in the past had helped produce signs for those that were running against those that he was supporting. He felt he could help the democratic process by helping candidates get their message out.
By offering to help with the campaign signs, he clearly epitomized Voltaire’s saying, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” What a great lesson of truth to me and a wonderful example of principle.