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Sunday memorial service in Phoenix to honor Rose Mofford

A public memorial service on Sunday in Phoenix will celebrate the life of former Arizona Gov. Rose Mofford, who died last month at 94.

The event will be held at the Orpheum Theatre at 1:30 p.m., with doors opening one hour prior, organizers said.

According to a statement from Gov. Doug Ducey's office, "Rose loved Arizona and its people deeply. Family and friends ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to one of the following community service organizations:"

  • St. Mary’s Food Bank, 3131 West Thomas Road, 85009
  • St. Vincent de Paul, 119 South 9th Avenue, Phoenix, 85007
  • Hospice of the Valley, 1510 East Flower Street, Phoenix, 85014

Mofford, who served as Arizona's first female governor, died Sept. 15.

She fell into the job of governor in 1988 when she was serving as Secretary of State and succeeded Gov. Evan Mecham after he was impeached on charges of obstruction of justice and misuse of public funds.  She did not run for a full four-term term in the election in 1990 and retired from government in 1991, spending the rest of her life doing charitable work.

Her brief stint as governor was sandwiched between two controversial governors, Mecham and Fife Symington III, who resigned after being convicted of bank fraud in 1997.

Mofford, was born Rose Perica on June 22, 1922 in the mining town of Globe. The daughter of Austrian immigrants became the first female class president of Globe High School and an All-American softball player.

After graduating from high school in 1940 as valedictorian, she began working as a secretary for the state treasurer. Mofford then held several jobs in and out of Arizona government and ended up as Secretary of State in 1977. She was elected and reelected in 1978, 1982 and 1986.

Her marriage to T.R. "Lefty" Mofford, a Phoenix police captain, lasted a decade and ended in divorce in 1957. They had no children.

On the day of her death, social media immediately lit up with condolences and praise from Democratic and Republican politicians alike for the woman known not only for her political achievement and her trademark white beehive hairdo, but for her generous, funny and feisty personality.

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, also a Democrat,  wrote, "With her abiding love for our state, steady leadership, no-nonsense approach and good humor, it's no wonder Rose Mofford was a role model to me and so many other women and girls across Arizona."

Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted that "Arizona has lost a true trailblazer and dedicated public servant with Rose Mofford's passing. "

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he joined Arizonans in mourning her.

And John Correia, a Phoenix pastor, lamented, "She was a gem, for sure. Oh how I wish we would go back to days of disagreeing with civility and care!"

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What, where & when 

  • Memorial and celebration of the life of Gov. Rose Mofford
  • Sunday, Oct. 30, 1:30 p.m. (doors open 12:30 p.m.)
  • Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix

Free parking is available in the Adams Street Garage on the northwest corner of Third Avenue and Adams Street.