Father of the Year Honorees 2024 – Jeff Ronstadt

Family and Philanthropy 

By Loni Nannini

In a family known for commerce and leadership in Tucson—not to mention music royalty—Jeff Ronstadt is forging his own path as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and 2024 Father of the Year. 

The fourth-generation Tucsonan is honored to contribute to this community. Jeff counts volunteerism and his roles as husband to Tiana and father to Mia, 21, and Larry, 20, as his biggest blessings. 

“You can easily tell the character of someone by how they treat those who can do nothing for them,” said Ronstadt. “This quote is a measuring stick for how I try to live my life.” 

The Father’s Day Council Tucson will honor Jeff along with four other fathers at its 28th annual gala on June 8 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Jeff credits his father, Jim Ronstadt, longtime director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Tucson—along with grandfathers Ed Ronstadt and John Montano—for instilling a strong sense of family and philanthropy in him and his siblings. Jeff’s father, a 2007 Father of the Year, is the oldest of 12 and his cousin is legendary singer Linda Ronstadt.

“My father never met a nonprofit that he didn’t want to join,” Jeff said. “Watching my mom and dad give back and work to make Tucson a better place made me think that I should give back, too.”

Jeff began volunteering as a member of Phi Delta Theta at the University of Arizona and then joined the 20-30 Men’s Club of Tucson, where he met Tiana through the 20-30 Women’s Club. They’ve been married for 25 years. 

“You talk about giving back and how much you get from that. Well, not only have I made so many dear friends, but I met my wife,” he said. 

After starting Ronstadt Insurance, Jeff took his involvement further at the encouragement of mentors, including the late Chick Hawkins. Jim Click, Humberto Lopez and others also inspired his support of nonprofits including Arizona Daily Star Sportsmen’s Fund, The Centurions, Tucson Conquistadores and Rotary Club of Tucson. 

Jeff is also a champion of Steele Children’s Research Center, where he has served on the advisory board for more than a decade. He and Tiana initially got involved with their children through Kids of Steele, which offers volunteer opportunities for families. After Christmas 2011, that connection became intensely personal when Larry, age 7, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Lymphoma. 

“We were donors and a member family with Kids of Steele and suddenly, our son became a patient and then a cancer survivor,” said Tiana, a licensed financial advisor who owns Power Women Investing. “Larry has also been a research participant with Dr. Fayez Ghishan, the director of Steele Center, and that really changed the dynamics of our relationship. I see it as a privilege that we have been involved on all sides with this organization.”

During Larry’s grueling five-year chemotherapy treatment, Jeff and Tiana gained insight into the lives of families managing serious illnesses. Flexible work schedules, incredible staff, amazing friends and family support allowed them to focus on Larry’s recovery. 

“Dr. Ghishan has colleagues from top universities and hospitals across the country and around the world,” said Jeff. “Because of these international relationships, our children get the most cutting-edge information to support their treatments. His ability to bring all these people together puts him one step closer to sainthood.”

The couple also credited the skilled and caring staff at Steele and Diamond Children’s Medical Center for their tremendous impact.

“In many ways when your kid is diagnosed with blood cancer, your journey is short,” Jeff said. “Tragically, you either have a negative outcome or you have a positive outcome, as we did. When you have a child with a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, it is a lifetime journey that no one signs up for. Thanks to Dr. Ghishan and the amazing people at Steele Center, these kids have access to state-of-the-art treatments right here in our own backyard.”

Looking forward, Jeff has some fatherly advice for his kids and other young people, including the 140 men he supports as chapter advisor for Phi Delta Theta. 

The “lifelong learner,” drummer and optimist encourages kids to read everything they can, seek out mentors they admire and pursue meaningful relationships.

“At the end of the day, whether you have $1 or $1 million, if you have meaningful relationships, you will be happy,” he said.

Pictured above from left – Larry, Mia, Tiana & Jeff

28th Annual Father of the Year Awards Gala

Saturday, June 8, 2024 

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort


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