In Memoriam: Robert (Bob) Carter Cauthorn


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Former Tucson City Councilman and all around nice guy, Robert (Bob) Carter Cauthorn, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91.

Bob was a sergeant in the Signal Corps of the 102nd Infantry Division of the US Army during the WWII, landing in Cherbourg, France in September, 1944. He earned an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech, and graduate degrees from Princeton and Tulane. Dr. Cauthorn taught at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and West Virginia University. Bob served as a City Councilman in Tucson in the early 1970s.

Bob was one of the Tucson City Council members with the courage to raise water rates to preserve Tucson’s long term water prospects, and apportion the costs for using water more fairly on high water users in the foothills. This effort got him and three other "reform" Democrats recalled in 1976. Bob resigned his council seat in November to take a job in Florida; but his three colleagues were defeated in the recall election in January 1977. The recall was the first and only nonpartisan city council election in Tucson history. The political victors did not have long political lives, and were all replaced by 1979. The recall movement did not stem rising water rates. See, Cover Story: Down The Drain – Tucson Weekly (January 16, 1997).

Bob was a compassionate, kind, funny and a life-long learner who was
much loved by his family and many friends. He is survived by his loving
wife and great companion, Joan Kaye Cauthorn, as well as by his sister,
Margaret Cauthorn Stevens (Pierce) and children, Robert (Paulette),
James (Julie), Daniel, Matthew (Arlene), Jennifer Kaye Marsden (Steve)
and Jill Kohl (Randy). He was the proud grandfather of Luke, Michael,
Emma, Max, Rebecca, Sarah, Eli and Nate Cauthorn, Ayla Marsden and Siena
and Jeremy Kohl.

Bob's wife Joan Kaye Cauthorne has been a mainstay of the Democratic Party in Arizona, and is an influential fund raiser for progressive issues.

Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Josephine Giudici Cauthorn, who was one of a handful of genuinely progressive legislators elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1974. That was the same “class” of progressive legislators from Tucson including Sister Clare Dunn and current representative Bruce Wheeler. It also included current Tucson resident Sue Wachter, then known as Sue James, who represented a mid-town Phoenix district.

Bob was a great, loving soul who will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Arizona Theatre Company. A Memorial Service will be held at Robert and Joan's Cauthorn's home, Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY.

h/t Barry Kirschner who contributed to this post.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Thanks for telling us (those of us who weren’t here in 1976) about this vanishing breed of public servant–a brave one. Paying for the cost of water as the scarce resource that it is should be front and center on every desert dweller’s agenda. Thanks to Bob for a courageous stand and condolences to his family on their loss. It sounds like Tucsonans experienced their loss in 1976.

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