Tucson Alumni Articles

Brother Ward Enters Chapter Eternal


Brother Jim Ward, Beta Phi, ‘60, a UA baseball pitcher and rancher, died Jan. 7, 2018 in Abilene, Texas. He was 78. 

Brother Ward won 30 games for the Wildcats between 1958-60, which ranks him fifth in career wins. He won 13 games in 1960 and led the Wildcats to the College World Series, where he was named to the all-tournament team. He also ranks 10th in career strikeouts with 292.

 The Wildcats’ coach, Frank Sancet, Beta Phi ’33 coached Ward and his catcher was All-American Alan Hall, Beta Phi ’60. Several other Sigs played with Ward, including Mike Longo, Linn Wallace, Charlie Shoemaker, John Colyer, Bill Barraclough, Bob Wilson and Jim Geist.

Brother Ward played pro baseball for nine seasons in the minor leagues, running up a record of 88 wins and 84 losses with an ERA of 3.57.

He was inducted into the Wildcats Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

At that time, Arizona Daily Star sports columnist Greg Hansen noted that Ward was given to finishing most conversations with the two-word declaration:  ‘Bear Down.’ ”

“Isn’t that strange for a man who graduated from college 54 years ago? Bear Down? Still?

“Ward isn’t one to be awed or cling to an old rallying cry unless it has a deep meaning. He routinely shared a dugout at Dodger Stadium with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. He struck out 16 Oklahoma State batters in the College World Series. He raised cattle. Owned a printing company. Graduated from the UA by taking 21 units his final semester.

“There isn’t much Jim Ward hasn’t seen. His baseball career was delayed while he learned to be a soldier at Fort Ord. His first wife, Nancy, died of cancer 22 years ago. He lost his first ranch, his cattle business, after four years of a Texas drought.

“Can you imagine what it would take to move a man to tears after all that?”

“It was a phone call from (UA associate athletic director) Phoebe Chalk in August,” he says. “I thought, ‘Well, they’re going to ask me for some money,’ but that wasn’t it at all. She said, ‘Congratulations, Jim, you’ve been elected to the UA Sports Hall of Fame.’ ”

Ward broke down in tears.

“I was speechless,” he told Hansen. “I started bawling. My son was in the room, and he said, ‘What’s the matter, are you OK?’ I just couldn’t express myself, but, you know, it’s the greatest thrill of my baseball life.”

“Much like predecessors Lee, Thomas and Baldwin, Ward became a Big Game pitcher.” Hansen wrote. “He went 30-7 in 39 career starts, including a breakout 13-1 season in 1960 when he was itching to pitch against defending national champion Oklahoma State in Omaha.” He struck out 16 Cowboys and beat them 2-1.

 “My years at Arizona set the foundation for my life,” Ward told Hansen. “I’ve had a lot of adventures, but as I think back, almost nothing was as satisfying as the day I got my degree. My mom and dad were in the audience. They were so proud. I was a Wildcat for life.

All Honor to His Name.

Brother John Colyer Enters Chapter Eternal


Brother John Colyer, Beta Phi ‘59, a baseball player at the UA and a businessman, died  June 14, 2017, in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 80.

Brother Coyle was born Jan. 27, 1937, in Phoenix. After graduation from North Phoenix High School in 1955, he attended the UA where he played varsity baseball from 1956-59 under Brother and coach Frank Sancet and joined Sigma Chi, where he became Consul. He received a degree in mechanical engineering.

He served briefly in the US Air Force and then went on to a career in the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning industry until his retirement in 2006.

His wife, Virginia Kay, predeceased him in 2015.  He is survived by four children and seven grandchildren.

All Honor to His Name.

William "Bill" Earl Evans Sr. Enters Chapter Eternal

Earl Evans Sr.

Brother William "Bill" Earl Evans Sr., Beta Phi ’52, who worked in the cattle business in the Phoenix area, died June 21, 2017. He was 88.

He was born on October 15, 1928, in Mattoon, Illinois, and later moving to Tucson, where he attended Tucson High School. Brother Evans attended the University of Arizona, where he joined Sigma Chi Fraternity. Upon graduation, he was commissioned second lieutenant and served 14 months of his time in Korea as a tank commander in the 82nd and 102nd Airborne Division at Indian Patch.

Afterward, he returned to Arizona and entered the cattle business, starting as a feed representative to the numerous feed yards, eventually acquiring his own feed yard east of Scottsdale on the Pima Indian Reservation. He was active in the Arizona Cattle Feeders Association.

Brother Evans was married to Julie Catherine Perry on August 19, 1955. They had five children:

In 1973, he moved his family to Florida to become a cattle rancher. He was chairman of Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. He died in Lakeland, Florida.

All Honor to His Name.

Brother Dawson Burns Enters Chapter Eternal

D Burns

Brother Dawson Burns, a longtime Tucson dentist, entered the Chapter Eternal on Oct. 1, 2017. He was 80.

He was born in Tucson on June 23, 1937, and raised in Tucson and Grand Prairie, Texas. He graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1955 and transferred to the UA, where he became active in Beta Phi. Sigma Chi/ He graduated in 1959. He then enrolled a Loyola University of Chicago, graduating from dental school in 1963.

Brother Dawson entered private practice as a dentist in Tucson in 1964 and treated patients in Tucson and Green Valley for more than 40 years. He was well known across Tucson as a Little League dad, reluctant horse ranch owner, wine aficionado, western art collector, skilled woodworking craftsman, and humorist.

He was preceded in death by Jean, his wife of 57 years. Brother Dawson is survived by a daughter, Diane of Scottsdale and two sons, Jack of Tucson and Brad of Las Vegas. 

All Honor to His Name

Brother Robert S. Svob, ’41, Enters Chapter Eternal

Robert Svob

Bob Svob, one of the most important figures in University of Arizona and a member of the Beta Phi Hall of Honor, died Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. He was 98.

He was the youngest of nine children of a Jerome miner, who died of lung disease in at the age of 56. His high school football coach was Waldo Dicus, Beta Phi ‘30, who helped him get a football scholarship at the UA, where he was mentored by coach J.F. “Pop” McKale in 1937. He played fullback and halfback for the Wildcats. He pledged Sigma Chi and major in physical education. He also earned a master’s degree in administration.

In 1942 he became director of intramural sports. Brother Svob served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and when he was discharged he resumed his positon as director of intramural sports. He also was coach of the freshmen team in 1947 and ‘48. He became assistant athletic director from 1959 until 1966, when he was selected as dean of men. In 1972 he became dean of students, a position he held until he retired. From the 1950s until early 1960s he was commissioner of Interscholastic High School Athletics in Southern Arizona.

He was a charter member and vice president of Big Brothers of Tucson, board chairman of the Arizona Boys Ranch, chairman of the YMCA Triangle Y Ranch Camp, chairman of the YMCA Metro board, chairman of the YMCA Youth Foundation, board member of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona and a deacon of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church.

Brother Svob was inducted into the Beta Phi Hall of Fame in 2002, the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. He was an honorary Bobcat, and an honorary life member of the YMCA. He was inducted in 2014 to the YMCA Hall of Fame.

Each year the outstanding sorority and fraternity are honored with the Bob Svob Award. A scholarship n his name is given yearly by the Alumni Association.

Arizona Daily Star Tribute Article

All Honor to His Name