One of three Americans killed in a raid by Al Qaida in Algeria called the Valley home for many years.
Gordon Lee Rowans lived in Mesa for about nine years according to neighbors. He moved to Oregon last year after his wife died.
"I'm still in shock," said longtime neighbor Gwen Eckholm. She just found out Monday that Rowans was among the dead.
"I asked him the last time I saw him if he felt safe working over there and he said 'we are in a remote area with security, I'll be fine.' I guess you can't be secure anywhere," she said.
Rowans was a petroleum engineer who lived in the Middle East for approximately six months a year.
He was at the gas field when it was raided by about 40 Al Qaida members last week.
They demanded an end to French air strikes in Mali.
67 people were killed before Algerian forces put a stop to the raid on Saturday.
Three Americans are among the dead. Seven Americans escaped the attack.
Reports show Al Qaida was willing to trade the Americans for two terror suspects held in U.S. jails, but the White House did not negotiate.
Rowans leaves behind two sons both living in California.