Peter M. Guzman, 69, passed away Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in San Tan Valley following a hard fought battle with colon cancer.
Peter was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Pedro and Anita Guzman, and son, Paul Robert Guzman. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Roberta. He is also survived by daughters, Jennifer (David) Elvira and Lisa Guzman; son, Preston Guzman; grandchildren, Paul Robert, Preston Daniel, Alexandria Renee, Julianna Sariah, and Alicia Marie; and great-granddaughter, Audrina Selene. Peter is also survived by his brothers, Ysidro, Jesse (Margie), and Aaron (Celestina).
Peter grew up in the Hayden-Winkelman area and graduated from Hayden High School in 1969. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northern Arizona University (NAU). Peter later earned his Administrator’s Certificate and Principalship/Superintendency also from NAU.
To say Peter’s passion for helping to facilitate proper education and motivation to the youth is an understatement. He knew children are the future. Peter was a man who wore many hats. Throughout his career that began at Hayden-Winkelman Schools in 1973, he was a teacher, coach, athletic director, curriculum director, and principal until 2001. During his time at Hayden, Peter was a long-time football and basketball coach. He loved motivating kids to always do better. To this day, he had friendships with many of his former players and students. In 2002, Peter was excited for the challenge of becoming the inaugural Cobre Valley Institute of Technology Superintendent. He remained in this position until his passing. Always ready to take on more, Peter was hired by the Superior Unified School District in 2002. Peter was the elementary, junior high, and high school Principal and Superintendent during his tenure in Superior that ended in 2013.
He and Roberta raised their children in Winkelman and Kearny, Arizona. Peter was one-of-a-kind. He was one of the good guys. He loved his family to the fullest, and he let everyone know they were his priority. Beginning when his children were young, he involved them in sports and coached their teams. For many years, Peter and Roberta moved their family to Flagstaff for the summer months for Peter to pursue his higher education. He remained very involved in his children’s education and was able to keep up with their activities since he was employed at the school. Once he became a Tata, he loved following his grandchildren’s sporting events and made sure to drive in the importance of their education. He loved sitting on his bed having many conversations about history and politics. Peter’s television was sure to be locked in on CNN or the Discovery Channel. He was an avid reader, runner, and even after his diagnosis, Peter still managed to take his miles-long walks.
Peter was a humble and selfless man. Those who knew and loved him, will miss him dearly. A few of his earned accolades are: Arizona School Boards Association Superintendent of the Year, All-Arizona Superintendent Award, All-Arizona Hispanic Coach of the Year, Arizona Coaches Association All-Star Coach for Basketball and Football (Head Football Coach, 1992), Arizona Coaches Association Coach of the Year, and a member of the Hispanic National Task Force selected by then-U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini to represent Arizona.
A viewing/rosary will be held on July 16, 2020 from 4-7 p.m. at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery and Funeral Home, 1562 E. Baseline Rd., Mesa, AZ 85204. The rosary and eulogy will begin at 6 p.m. The funeral services will be live-streamed online at Queen of Heaven’s website: https://www.qohcfh.org/obituaries/obituary-listings. Please contact funeral home and church for COVID-19 restrictions.