Scottsdale Diversity Champions: Silverman Family

Carole, Ray, and Tom Silverman

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Frances Burruel, but from the little bit I know Tom Silverman and his family, she’s in good company being named along with them as Scottsdale Diversity Champions for 2015:

A family long-rooted in service to the community and a civil rights advocate have been named the 2015 Diversity Champions by the nonprofit group Community Celebrating Diversity. The Silverman family – Ray and Lee and their children Tom, Richard and Carole, along with Frances Burruel, will be honored at Scottsdale’s 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. The event takes place Wednesday, Jan. 14, at Chaparral Suites, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road.

The Silverman Family: The Silverman family members are community icons respected by people throughout Scottsdale for their loyalty to residents, visitors and local businesses. As the recent owners and operators of the Chaparral Suites Resort, the Silverman family used their influence in the community to steadfastly support the many people, programs and diverse communities present here today. Their individual and cumulative actions have embodied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s spirit by embracing the “how can you serve” mantra. The family walks the talk by initiating and showing incredible support through their extensive volunteer activities and dedication to several local efforts. Their list of community involvement is long and includes activities with these organizations: the city of Scottsdale, STARS-Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Service, Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club, Partners for Paiute, the Mayor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Community Celebrating Diversity and the Scottsdale Unified School District. Nominator Clif McKenzie says, “By any measure, the Silverman family easily meets the definition of Diversity Champions.”

The Silverman family history is intertwined with the modern history of Scottsdale, starting with Ray’s purchase of the small, 12-suite Paradise Valley Guest Ranch in 1953. Ray and his family grew that operation into one of Scottsdale’s major resort properties: Chaparral Suites. It sounds like Ray sort of invented the Scottsdale “stay-cation,” by marketing Scottsdale’s then-cooler summer temps to Phoenix residents!

Ray Silverman died in 2008, but left quite a legacy. In addition to the citations in the Diversity Champion award, he founded a nursing scholarship program that has assisted more than 500 nursing students [Donations can be made to the Ray Silverman Nursing Education Endowment, c/o Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation, 10001 N. 92nd Street, Suite 121, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85258].

Ray’s son Richard recently retired as general manager of Valley water and power utility, Salt River Project. Ray’s son Tom started out on the Guest Ranch switchboard at age 10. After performing many duties at the resort, Tom is now general manager. Tom also served on the Scottsdale City Council from 2000-2004.

Ray’s granddaughter Amy Silverman is an award-winning journalist and managing editor at Phoenix New Times.

I recently had the pleasure of participating in the Police Officers of Scottsdale 2015 Shop with a Cop event, for which Tom graciously provided his conference center and a hot breakfast for all. That event alone provided a brighter holiday for more than 350 kids from across the Valley. It’s just one example of the many community events that the Silverman resort has hosted over the past six-plus decades.

As I recall, Tom is a US Navy veteran, and he is a supporter of veteran-related philanthropy. A few years ago when Chaparral Suites hosted one of the final reunions of the US 1st Air Commando Group (China-Burma-India theater, WWII), Tom enthusiastically supported my efforts to record my interviews of these pioneering airmen.

Tom’s ongoing enthusiasm for Scottsdale has been a big part of driving our hospitality industry, which was the foundation for Scottsdale’s success:

While details have yet to be released, it looks like the Silverman family will be closing the sale of Chaparral Suites in the near future. I hope that Tom and sister Carole will continue their affiliation with the property, and I wish them happiness in whatever endeavors await them.

New owners will undoubtedly continue celebrating the heritage of the property. Regardless, as the Chaparral Suites website says:

Be sure to visit the 4th Floor Grille & Sports Bar for a pleasant surprise of historic Scottsdale photos and old time charm. The 4th Floor Grille and Sports Bar is Scottsdale’s hidden gem.



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