Upsilon Alpha’s Grand Old Man




Mention the name, “Danny” to alumni and one vividly recalls this pillar of Upsilon Alpha.  Danny Romero was our chapter’s mentor from 1927 until his death in 1987.

Danny was born in Clifton, Arizona, a small mining town in eastern Arizona on September 16, 1897, to Joseph C. Romero and Franch Cadello Martinez.  He attended public schools in Clifton.  He enrolled in the University of Arizona and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1922.  He subsequently returned to the University to get a Master of Arts degree in 1942.

Danny began teaching bookkeeping at Tucson High School in 1922.  He subsequently became the head of the Business Education Department and served in that capacity until his retirement from Tucson High School in 1965.  For 41 years, Danny was the Senior Class Advisor; and, he coached, supervised, and produced the Senior Class Follies, a variety show type production.  He was named to “Who’s Who in American Education” in 1951-52.  He was truly a Tucson High School legend.

Those who had the privilege of being part of one of Danny’s “senior classes,” know how much this man’s life centered on making young people good citizens.  He was a perennial favorite of many, many seniors.  He loved his “kids” not only as a teacher and disciplinarian, but also as a compassionate listener.  As Senior Class Advisor, each year he took the senior class on its “Senior Day”—sometimes busing up to a central Arizona lake.  He was a perfect chaperon, in control, but fair and fun to be with.  His concern and love for young people was carried over into his fraternal experience.  He was a true mentor to the men of the Chapter.  His opinions were respected and he served as a “quiet force” in the dynamics of chapter life for many years.

Danny never married and lived for years in a modest apartment on Third Street in Tucson.  Interestingly, he didn’t drive or own an automobile.  He enjoyed books and had an extensive library.

His involvement in Phi Gamma Delta, both locally and at the International Fraternity levels, was exemplary.  Even to this day, members of the International Fraternity officers and staff quickly recognize the mention of “Danny”.  But, he actually became an involved member of our fraternity in 1927, before it became affiliated with Phi Gamma Delta.  He was active in Zeta Delta Epsilon, a local fraternity that ultimately became Upsilon Alpha Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta in 1931.  Danny served in various positions in Zeta Delta Epsilon and Upsilon Alpha from 1927 until his death in 1987.  He was the Purple Legionnaire for 22 years from 1938-1960.  He was Chief of Section XXII, a general officer of the Fraternity, for 19 years from 1960-1979.  In 1974, he received the Distinguished Fiji Award from the International Fraternity.  One can only guess how many Monday Night Dinners and Chapter Meetings he has attended; how many Ekklesiai he has been to; how many Fiji Academies he contributed to; and, the number of pledges throughout all of the Chapters of Phi Gamma Delta who have seen Danny “kissing the pig” in the Purple Pilgrim.

Danny’s contributions to Upsilon Alpha are incalculable, to the Chapter as an organization and to its individual members.  His leadership has resulted in numerous awards to the Chapter for a variety of accomplishments.  He was instrumental in Upsilon Alpha’s twice receiving the Cheney Cup as the most outstanding chapter in the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta.  Under his leadership, Upsilon Alpha was always a force to be reckoned with in the pursuit of the various chapter awards issued by the International Fraternity.  Danny was also active on the University of Arizona campus as a member of Phi Delta Kappa and other honoraries.  He was the founder of Bobcats, a Senior Men’s Honorary at the University.  Above all, Danny was the epitome of a gentleman.  He rarely raised his voice, treated people with respect, and was especially concerned about treating ladies with respect and dignity.  His contributions in chapter meetings were subtle, yet powerful and persuasive.  He knew how to maintain that delicate balance of leading by example and mentoring young men into becoming productive, successful adults.  Once again, one can only guess on the impact and influence this man had on the members of Upsilon Alpha during his life.

On November 21, 1975, Upsilon Alpha held a Testimonial Dinner for Danny. The program included:

INVOCATION———————Robert Vance
THE TEN’S————————-Alex Jacome
THE TWENTY’S——————-Andy Rupke
THE THIRTY’S———————Frank Losee
THE FORTY’S———————Charles Lamb
THE FIFTY’S———————–Bill Kemmeries
THE SIXTY’S———————–Mike Aboud
BOBCATS————————-Chris Cacheris
THE SEVENTY’S——————-Jim Bennett

This was a fitting tribute to a man who had devoted his entire life to Tucson High School and Phi Gamma Delta.

Upsilon Alpha of Phi Gamma Delta has had many distinguished, successful members who were devoted to their Fraternity.  Among them, however, the name “Danny Romero” stands out.  He is , in my opinion,  Upsilon Alpha’s Grand Old Man.

Vinson J. San Angelo  Upsilon Alpha ‘62
Tucson High School ‘58
Updated 8/17/2011