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Former Tucson City Manager, Joel Valdez, dies at 87

University of Arizona Joel Valdez.jpg
Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 22:07:25-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Former Tucson City Manager Joel D. Valdez died Wednesday afternoon.

Valdez was Tucson's city manager for 16 years and a business administration professor at the University of Arizona for 20 years.

“I want to offer my condolences to the Valdez family on behalf of my family and the city of Tucson Family. In addition to Joel’s distinguished service to the city of Tucson and the University of Arizona, he was a hardworking man, devoted to his family and to public service. His contributions to our community and the many people he mentored will be felt for a long time,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

He was born in Tucson on July 2, 1934. His parents, Luis F. Valdez, deceased, and Miriam L. Valdez, were natives of Sonora, Mexico.

Education was a priority since his parents didn't graduate from high school, and that's what made Valdez successful.

Delivering newspapers was Valdez's first job, helping his parents pay the bills while he saved up for college.

Valdez graduated from Tucson High School and attended the UArizona where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 1957.

After graduation, he became a probation officer at the Pima County Juvenile Court for eight years then was promoted the position of Superintendent of Detention Services.

In 1966, Valdez was recruited as the Administrative Assistant to the Library Director by the City of Tucson.

During his role, he enrolled in advance studies at the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the prestigious Harvard University Senior Managers in Government Program.

Valdez then moved up to city manager in 1974.

He became one of the country's top managers, efficiently administering various millions of dollars worth of projects.

In 1990, Valdez retired and became a top business administrator at the UArizona where he also served as Vice President for Business Affairs until he retired in 2010.

Bivian Contreras is a real-time editor for KGUN 9. Bivian graduated from the University of Arizona School of Journalism with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast and is currently pursuing a degree in Broadcast Operational Meteorology. Share your story ideas and important issues with Bivian by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.