Y’know, it hurts to realize the fantastic humans who have vanished from our midst here in Cental Arizona in the not-too-distant past. Three Bills come to mind right off the bat: Bill Hardt, Bill Taylor and Bill Schminke. Each of these guys had a special part in Central Arizona’s history.
Bill Hardt, one of the longest-serving of Arizona’s Legislators, was always able to make things happen by bringing people together. Part of his ability was his grace and charm – not that he couldn’t be as nasty and threatening as any politician – it’s just that he was one of those genuinely nice guys who could flash a knowing grin at the right time and things would fall smoothly into place. Hardt was one of the good guys.
Bill Taylor was notorious for poking the politicos on behalf of the public. He made fun of elected officials and called them out continually for all kinds of perceived wrong-doings. He always called a spade a spade and when one turned out to be a club, a heart or a diamond, he had the character to back off and apologize for wrongful allegations. Taylor was also an unabashed supporter of his community, giving time and hard-earned booty for all sorts of causes, including the annual 4th of July fireworks off the tailings.
Bill Schminke was another one of those guys that seemed to always be a part of everything good about this part of America. He built his car dealership, Cobre Valley Motors, starting from almost nothing to one of the most respected businesses in Arizona. Schminke was a Rotarian, member and supporter of the Chamber of Commerce – he donated the property where it is today – a board member of the YMCA, Salvation Army, and the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association. He, like Hart and Taylor before him, was a good man … someone who left a mark in the history of Globe-Miami and the great Southwest.
While remembering these guys, it brings a certain ache to one’s heart. But, that goes without saying, It’s just that there are so many of us whose breasts swell with pride, having known and been able to call each of these good men a friend.
J E Ted Thayer