Gila County Manager Steven Besich, of Globe, lost his eight-month battle with cancer late last week. He was 58.
“I feel this is a great loss to Gila County,” said Supervisor Shirley Dawson. “Steve was a leader in the political maze of getting things done in Arizona.”
Besich had served as the county manager for more than 20 years. He started his career with Gila County in 1985 as an economic development specialist and was eventually promoted to community development deputy director before reaching the managerial post.
Besich also served under former Gov. Janet Napolitano as liaison for rural affairs.
County employees affectionately called him “Mr. B” or “Boss,” besides his full name.
Besich was diagnosed in late May with cancer, and died sometime after midnight Friday, Jan. 29.
He continued to work until the end, though frequently from home. “I talked to him every Tuesday,” said Dawson.
Besich had been absent from Tuesday supervisor meetings for months, though he briefly reappeared late last year. He had lost considerable weight, and Dawson said he sounded weak the last time she spoke to him, the Tuesday before he passed.
“He will be sorely missed by Gila County,” she said.
A funeral will be held Wednesday, Feb. 3 at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, 844 Sullivan Street in Miami, Ariz.
Visitation begins at 9 a.m., followed by a 9:30 a.m. rosary and 10 a.m. Mass. The burial is private.
A reception at the Globe Elks Lodge, located at 1910 E. Maple in Globe will follow the services.