Newspaper Archive of
The Superior Sun
Kearny, Arizona
March 4, 2015     The Superior Sun
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March 4, 2015

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lO I Superior Sun www, March 4, 2015 = ability to infiltrate criminal organizations as an undercover agent. In 1994, Mr. Gomez received the Investigator of the Year Award from the AZ Attorney General's Office. In 1995, Ronald accepted a position with the AZ Department of Gaming as a special agent regarding compliance and compact requirements. He then moved to Investigations and Inspections Manager within the department, and in 2Oll retired from the agency as Deputy Director for Tribal * Operations. Mr. Gomez firmly believes that his greatest personal accomplishment is his marriage of over 50 years to Annie, SHS 1962 graduate. They are both very proud of their falIlily (2 sons, 2 daughters, 14 grandchildren and 3 great- grandchildren). Yolanda Najera-Ewing, Superior High School dass of 1965 graduate, has always been proud of being a lifelong resident of Superior, and also living in the same house in which she was born. Very active in high school, she graduated HALL OF FAME Continued from Page 6 as a member of the National Honor Society. She has been married to Robert for over 48 years and they have two daughters, each living on the East and West coasts of the United States. Some of her fondest local memories are of riding her father's "1929 Ford Model A', in the Superior 4th of July parades. Her professional career began as Special Education Secretary for the Superior School District in 1976. For 12 years she served as editor for the Superior Sun, covering all types of local events from birth announcements, obituaries and major town activities. Followed by 2 years at Superior's Esperanza Boys Ranch, Yolanda went on to work for 17 years as a Paralegal/Translator-Interpreter with the Pinal County Public Defenders' Office. While with Pinal County, she was recognized by the AZ Public Defender Association for "Outstanding Performance & Exceptional Achievement" in 2006, and again in 2oo9 for "Extraordinary Contribution to Indigent Representation". Yolanda feels very privileged to LEDGER have had the opportunity to help those with limited resources. Mrs. Najera-Ewing served 32 years on the Superior Unified School District Governing Board (13 years as Board President). She waspresident of the school board the year,he new junior/senior high school was completed. She served on the Superior Town Council for 7 years, and also the Town Planning and Zoning Commission for 2 years. Appointed by Judge William O'Neil in 1996, Yolanda served as a member of the Pinal County Juvenile Court Community Advisory Board, volunteering to work with court services for young people. James A. Ray, a graduate of the Superior High School Class of 1965, began his professional career in law enforcement while still attending NAU, working as a Campus Security Officer. During this time he married his wife Terry (they have two children), and worked 2 to 3 part-time jobs until graduating from college. In early 1969, James was hired by the Phoenix Police Department, where he served as a patrol officer for almost a year, before taking a position with the federal government. In 197o, Mr. Ray was hired as a Special Agent by the U.S. Secret Service. While assigned to the Phoenix Field Office, James conducted criminal investigations, performed undercover work and traveled extensively in support of the President, Vice-President and foreign dignitaries. By 1973, James was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he worked in a protection assignment with the President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury, until he was permanently assigned to the Vice-President's Detail. Mr. Ray worked at the White House when Vice-President Agnew resigned due to a criminal investigation, followed by President Nixon a year later because of Watergate. In 1976, James was transferred to the San Diego Field Office, where he again conducted criminal investigations and traveled in support of protection obligations. After 21 years of investigative work and detail, Mr. Ray retired from the U.S. Secret Service Department. In 1991, James was hired by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office as a DA investigator, where he conducted criminal investigations and ultimately was promoted to a supervisory position. Fernando M. Vender, graduate of the Superior High School class of 1958 was the son of Gustavo and Esperanza Vender, and the youngest of seven siblings. His father taught him how to read at an early age, and also advised him to make his dreams come true through education. Though growing up in a small town, Fernando did not think small. Involved in many high school activities, Mr. Vender developed a great interest in literature, drama and music; so much so that he was a singer in a local band named "The Lonely Ones". After college, Fernando started his professional career as a teacher in Nogales, AZ, focusing on the Upward Bound program (assisting low-income first-generation college students). He was loved and very well respected in Nogales, and was known as "El Profe". While in Nogales, he married Maria Michel. They had four children and eventually moved to PhoenLx, AZ, were he taught Special Education for one year at McClintock High School, and also taught English to adults, with one special student being his mother. In 1981, Fernando suffered a great loss with the passing of his wife Maria, wherein he raised his children as a single parent. Mr. Vender left the educational field and became Deputy Director of the Guadalupe Organization and Continued on page 11 oo