Tempe Historical Society Lunch Talks


The Tempe Historical Society is proud to present a free lunchtime lecture series commemorating the development of Tempe and the state of Arizona. Lunch Talks feature various speakers from around the state.

Bring your lunch and enjoy these presentations monthly from January - April, 2016. Coffee will be provided. 


Wed., February 10; 11:30 a.m.           Speaker - Cliff Jones

Hanging around fire stations and making rounds with Tempe Volunteer Firefighters as he was growing up paid off for young Cliff Jones. His interest and experiences as a youth led to his being hired by the Tempe Fire Department in 1971- without having had to go through a formal recruit-training academy. In February 1988, he became the third Fire Chief in Tempe Fire Department history, a post he held for 22 years. Under his watch, the department became the first to be internationally accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). He later served as a commissioner and, from 2000-2003 as chairman of CFAI. Jones has received numerous honors over years including the Ray Picard Award for “superior leadership and outstanding contribution,” the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association Lifetime Achievement Award and been named a Center for Public Safety Excellence Chief Fire Officers Designee.

Cliff Jones

Wed., March 9; 11:30 a.m.       Speaker - Larry Mishler & Peggy Bryant

Peggy Bryant and Larry Mishler lives have crossed paths over the years. Both got early experience in their crafts, a few years apart, on ASU's State Press newspaper. In 1953, Peggy began her career in community newspapers as reporter/woman's page editor for the Mesa Daily Tribune - and at the same time, Larry was honing his photography passion working in his father's camera shop where Peggy occasionally dropped of photo plates for developing. In 1959, Peggy began a 22-year affiliation with the Tempe Daily News as variously report, editor and managing editor. In 1963, Larry Mishler began a 10-year TDN affiliation as a process cameraman/stripper for the commercial printing department and a sports photographer. After retiring from the newspaper business, Peggy became Tempe Elementary School District's community relations director and Larry was head of the District's print shop. Both have written about and photographed Tempe over the years - including its celebrations.

Tempe Daily News Office

Wed., April 13; 11:30 a.m.   Speaker - Ron Pies

In his 30 years with Tempe’s Parks and Recreation and Community Services programs before retiring in 1998, Ron Pies developed most of the recreation and leisure time opportunities that Tempeans still enjoy today. In the process, he earned himself and his department numerous awards - among them two National Gold Medals for Parks and Recreation Management excellence, and a National Aquatics Gold Medal. Ron also earned an Arizona P&R Association’s Distinguished Life Member Award and, in 2000, was named by that association one of its first “Five Leisure Legends.” Hired as Tempe P&R Director in 1969 and named Community Services Director in 1984, Ron started the development of the 125-acre Tempe Kiwanis Park, developed the first computerized park maintenance tracking program in the nation, wrote and received the first grant of $100,000 from the State of Arizona for the Tempe Rio Salado Project, as well as began negotiations to bring the California Angels to Tempe for spring training.

Ron Pies


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