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Former Tempe Union superintendent to be remembered on Saturday

A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Marcos de Niza High School for former Tempe Union High School District superintendent Steve Adolph, who died unexpectedly Nov. 8. He was 60 years old.

The Tempe Union governing board on Wednesday had a moment of silence to commemorate Mr. Adolph, who was assistant superintendent of the Collidge School District at the time of his death.

"He left me a wonderful school district, a wonderful staff and wonderful schools and students," said Tempe Union Superintendent Kenneth Baca, who succeeded Mr. Adolph in 2011 after he announced his retirement.

Mr. Adolph spent nearly three decades of his at Tempe Union during his more than 40 years in education.

A graduate of Marcos de Niza High School, the Valley native held several positions throughout Tempe Union.

He was a social studies teacher at Corona High from 1981-93, then assistant principal at Corona until 1998, when he became principal of his alma mater.

He took over as superintendent in 2007 after six years as associate superintendent at Tempe Union.

When he announced his retirement, he indicated he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The father of two grown children and grandfather to five, he said, "While I love this job, it's the issues that face the district that are the last things I think of before I fall asleep and the first things I think of when I wake up. I still remember when my kids were the age of my grandkids. I want to make sure I don't miss it."

Coolidge Superintendent Charlie Wallace was quoted as saying the district was "still reeling" over Mr. Adolph's passing.

"It is horrible," Wallace said. "We are heart sick."

He and his wife of more than 40 years had been living in Queen Creek.

As superintendent, Mr. Adolph guided the district through a number of fiscal challenges, including a failed override and bond election in 2007, and severe state budget cuts.

In that time, he also saw the district's enrollment increase by more than 1,000 students, the implementation of an online education program and the addition of a second campus at the district's alternative Compadre High School.

When he turned 60 in March, Mr. Adolph wrote on his Facebook page:

For most of you who haven't reached this age yet, 60 isn't so bad! It does sneak up on you, but here I am so that's ok! ...especially when I'm so completely blessed to have such wonderful family and friends, and a delicious home-made apple pie."

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