How does one begin to thank everyone who has offered guidance in life?
The thought is daunting and the task more so, but here is my sincerest thank you in what is my final column as Tucson Citizen editor and publisher.
Family comes first. Thanks to my wife, Hilda Oropeza Chihak, standing strongly and lovingly beside me in all circumstances.
Thanks to my father, Frank A. Chihak and my late mother, Ofelia Islas Chihak, for instilling in me a thirst for learning, allowing me to be the first in my large extended family to enroll in college and earn a degree.
My heart and soul are filled with gratitude for:
• Those who taught me, including my college adviser, Professor Donald W. Carson.
• My first bosses at the Citizen when I was a high school sports correspondent: Bob Crawford, followed by the late Ed Jordan.
• My first bosses when I came to work as a photography and reporting intern when enrolled at the University of Arizona: Clyde Lowery, Tom Duddleston, Keith Carew, Dale Walton and John Hemmer.
• The late Jim Geehan, editor and publisher of the Citizen who hired me in 1981.
• Gerald Garcia, Citizen editor and publisher who promoted me to management in 1982.
• C. Donald Hatfield, Citizen editor and publisher who graciously handed me the reins upon his retirement on June 30, 2000.
• A newsroom full of top-flight journalists and professionals, past and present. Intelligent, hardworking and loyal, they have always made me look smarter than I really am and braver than I really am.
• The executives, managers and staff at Tucson Newspapers, who consistently find creative and efficient ways to deliver our information in print and electronically.
• Readers and online users. Good Lord, we would be nothing without you. Thank you!
Many people have served as mentors, advisers and friends in Tucson over the years.
Edith Auslander, Raúl and Corrina Aguirre, Lupita Murillo and Don Gutzler, Hank and Barbara Peck, Richard and Maria Miranda, Susan Small, Betty Geehan, Joel Valdez, Don and Charlotte Martin.
Liz Rodriguez Miller, Bill Holmes, Monique Soria, Raúl Bejarano, Sixto Molina, the late José Canchola, Clarence Dupnik, Ed Donnerstein, Ginny Healy.
Carlotta and Ray Flores, Jim Griffith, Ellen Hargis, John Huerta, Hank Oyama, Gina Izzo, Dot Kret, Michael Keith, Shirley and Jim Kiser, George Masek, Cele Peterson, the late Richard Salvatierra.
Jacqueline Sharkey and Bill Wing, the incomparable Esther Tang, her daughter Liz Tang, The late Rev. Charles Polzer, John Olsen, Virginia Yrun, the late Emory Sekaquaptewa and Mary Sekaquaptewa.
Surely, more than one name has been left off of this list, by no means purposefully.
In my heart and soul, there are lessons, love and the fondest of memories for all who have allowed their lives to touch mine.