For nearly three decades, Rob Dietz was the creative heart and mind behind dozens of schools in the East Valley.
The outgoing architect designed or renovated several high schools in the area, including Gilbert High School, and had is hand in dozens of other educational facilities throughout the Valley and Arizona.
Dietz died after a brief illness Saturday. He was 61.
He was a co-founder of HDA Architects, which began in Gilbert in the early 1980s.
"Through his designs, he served the needs of thousands of teachers and students over many, many years," said David Gillespie, director of new construction for Gilbert Public Schools. "He was one of the top architects of educational facilities in the nation."
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Gilbert High School auditorium.
"Gilbert High was his pride and joy," said his daughter, Kerry Nelson.
Dietz designed Highland High School, Mesquite High School and Desert Ridge High School in Gilbert and Perry, Basha and Chandler high schools in Chandler. In addition, he created Thunder Mountain High School in Apache Junction.
Besides architecture, Dietz was also active in the East Valley community. He contributed his time to the development of the Child Crisis Nursery and the San Marcos Elementary School amphitheater and served four years on the board of directors for the East Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association.
Dietz earned his bachelor of architecture degree in 1971 from the University of Cincinnati and was a registered architect in Nevada and Ohio as well.
Besides Nelson, survivors include his wife, Gale, and daughter, Robin Allen. He also is survived by two sisters, Donna Wildey of Tempe and Katie Haubert of Hamilton, Ohio.