Amy Bhola

Devoted Volunteer, School Board Member, Mentor

By Tara Kirkpatrick

Whether in career or community service, it’s common to boast about accomplishments, spotlight them on social media and bask in the compliments and love that follow.

And then, there are people like Amy Bhola. 

Educator, school board member, volunteer, mentor, beloved wife and mother of two, Bhola was the last to herald herself. Her legacy is rather the no-nonsense, no-drama, nose-to-the-grindstone hard work and service to this community that is easily measured by the many blessings she left behind. 

After a brave battle with glioblastoma, Bhola died on Mar. 28. She was 58.

“In every community, there are those rare individuals whose light shines so brightly that it illuminates the path for others,” said friend and interior designer Lori Carroll. “Amy Bhola was one such beacon in Tucson, whose kindness and compassion touched countless lives.”

“Amy Bhola to me is a woman of strength, leadership, positivity and power,” added friend Laura Hisey. “Everything she did was with grace and purpose.”

Growing up in Phoenix, Bhola attended Colorado State University before transferring to University of Arizona. With her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, Bhola would teach math and science for 11 years in three different school districts in Arizona. She returned to Tucson with her husband, Khushvant Bhola, and brought all her dynamo to this community. 

Bhola was a steadfast supporter of the Catalina Foothills School District where her son Mason, and daughter Lily, would grow up and graduate. Over 18 years, CFSD benefited from her experience and knowledge as a volunteer leader in the classroom, on Family Faculty Organizations, and on the CFSD Foundation board of directors. 

Bhola was elected to the CFSD Governing Board in 2014, fighting for adequate funding for public education and ensuring that all students had equal access and opportunities.

“It was my privilege to work with a governing board member as thoughtful and dedicated as Amy,” CFSD Superintendent Mary Kamerzell posted on Facebook. “Her teaching background provided an insider’s perspective on the challenges and rewards of the work. She was a vocal champion of public education and the professionals who make it their life’s work. I will really miss her.”

Added Julie Farbarik, CFSD director of alumni and community relations, “For nearly 20 years, Amy was a mentor and a source of constant inspiration to me. She exemplified what it means to live a life of service.”

Bhola was especially passionate about serving as an advisor for Chi Omega sorority at UArizona–a position she relished for more than 20 years, mentoring and counseling countless classes of young women. 

“Amy’s willingness to go above and beyond exemplified the true spirit of service and sisterhood within Chi Omega, and her legacy will be remembered fondly by thousands of women throughout the years who had the privilege of working with her,” said Elizabeth Moreland, who served as an advisor with Bhola. “It is so difficult to express the loss the Chi Omega Chapter at the U of A feels. We have lost our leader, confidante, mentor, and most importantly, our friend.”

A member of Silver & Turquoise Board of Hostesses, Bhola was chair when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Her resolve helped steer the historic organization through two years of uncertainty before resuming its annual ball in 2022.

“Amy led with hard work, vision and grace,” said Jennifer Harris, an S&T member and longtime friend of Bhola. “Silver & Turquoise, and many other Tucson organizations, were lucky to have her as a member.”

While her service was so evident, her humanity shined even brighter. 

“She was always teaching the next generation how important it was to give back,” said attorney Keri Silvyn, another longtime friend of Bhola. “One of the things that I learned from her personally…is it can sometimes be really difficult to meet people where they are in life, emotionally and otherwise. And she just was always really good at doing that.”

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