Cover photo for Ben Joseph Tuchi's Obituary
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1936 Ben 2023

Ben Joseph Tuchi

March 2, 1936 — December 5, 2023

Phoenix

Ben passed peacefully after spending his last day surrounded by very loud loved ones. Born and raised in Hazelton, PA, Ben joined the Navy in 1953 right after graduating from Hazelton High School and served three years on the U.S.S. Wisconsin, then nine more years in the Navy Reserves. His first real travel experience, Ben loved everything about the Wisconsin except its food, its bunks and its cold saltwater showers. In 1956 he returned to Pennsylvania and, with the benefit of the G.I. Bill, earned a Bachelor’s in Finance and an M.B.A. from Penn State University before moving to teach at St. Francis College in Loretto PA. There he met the love of his life, Patricia Gail O’Brien. Ben and Patricia married April 8, 1961 and were inseparable for the next 62 years. The quality of his life, his decisions, and his fashion sense improved a lot with her at his side. The arrival of their two sons then complicated the quality of his life, his decisions, and his fashion sense.

In 1969, after earning a Ph.D. in Finance from St. Louis University, Ben moved with Patricia and the boys to West Virginia University in Morgantown, where he taught in the College of Business, managed the M.B.A. Program, and eventually became Vice President and CFO of the University. In 1985, Ben moved to the University of Arizona to serve as Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance as well as member of the business faculty. He held similar positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1989-92) and the University of Pittsburgh (1992-96).  He also operated a consulting firm of peer educators and administrators to turn around and restructure foreign and domestic universities and their programs from 1988 until retiring to Tucson in 1998. Ben served on the boards of directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of West Virginia, US West, Tucson/University of Arizona Technology Parks, the Cemetery Board for the Roman Catholic Church’s Tucson Diocese, and RISE Services Inc. (providing innovative housing solutions to low-income families).  He also was named to the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Advocacy Panel.

Ben loved traveling with Patricia, military history, bocce, all Italian food, a good glass (or glasses) of wine, a good laugh, taking his buddies’ money at poker, cheering the Pittsburgh Steelers when they were good and deciding whom to blame when they were bad, and spending time with family.

Ben is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Ben and Mary Rose, and his sister Marie Angela. He is survived by his wife Patricia, his sons John (Maria) and Matt, grandchildren Alexander, Ben, Katherine and Grace, his siblings James and Barbara, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and his hundreds of students, whom he loved to help and mentor.

The family anticipates a celebration of life in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Ryan House in Phoenix, Arizona.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ben Joseph Tuchi, please visit our flower store.

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