Magdalena Gonzales Sigala, Queen of Fiestas Patrias, Tempe, 1897. THM Collection 1999.28.28

Joaquin Bustoz, Jr.: ASU Mathematics professor; mentor to countless numbers of students of color; became a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the Universidad Nacional de Columbia; a Visiting Professor of Mathematics at Universidad Coimbra in Portugal; and a Visiting Mathematician at the Mathematical Association of America; founder of ASU’s Joaquin Bustoz Math-Science Honors Program; honored by President Bill Clinton in 1996 with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.  

Frank Carrillo: Widely recognized and honored with numerous awards for his community service and civil rights advocacy and as a teacher; decorated Army veteran of the Korean War and long-time President of Tempe’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council # 361. As vice chairman of the Arizona Civil Rights Board in 1985, Carrillo and others agreed to help pass a law prohibiting employment discrimination for those with disabilities.

Escalante brothers: Enrique, Manuel, Ramón, born in Tempe in the late 1800s. Manuel and Ramón served in World War I and in the European front lines. Their sons participated in World War II: Manuel’s sons, Cipriano and George were killed in action. As was Enrique’s son, Gabriel. Ramón’s sons, Henry and Ramón, Jr., served in battle on the Pacific front. The Escalante Community Center in Tempe’s northeast neighborhood known as “La Victoria”, or Victory Acres, bears the Escalante name. Zarco Guerrero is the legendary sculptor/artist whose sculpture of the Escalante family at the Escalante Community Center was unveiled in 1980 at the World War II Memorial by Silvestre Santana Herrera. He is Arizona’s World War II recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Narcisa Monreal Espinoza: The first woman to hold the position of President of Arizona’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in 1967, an activist-oriented civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination against Mexicans and Mexican Americans; elected as Vice President of the national LULAC, which enabled her to form more LULAC councils in California and Maryland; Acting Director, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in Phoenix; organizer and Chicana movement activist, Phoenix chapter of La Comision Feminil Mexicana (Mexican Womens’ Commission), dedicated to improving the lives of Hispanic women through education and demanding their equal rights as American citizens.

Johnny Guerra Martinez : (1938-2012) Born in Tempe in 1938 and worked for the City of Tempe for 42 years, retiring in 1998 at the age of sixty. The city honored him by re-dedicating the Papago Water Treatment Facility and renaming it the Johnny G. Martinez Water Treatment Facility. This surface water treatment plant was constructed in 1965 and continues to treat water coming in from the Salt River
Project’s crosscut canal.

Dr. John Ward Molina, MD: The first tribally enrolled Yaqui to become a physician. He is a gynecology and obstetrics physician in Guadalupe, Arizona; received his medical degree from the Univ. of Arizona, College of Medicine in 1990; completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 1994 at Texas Tech University in Odessa, Texas; the founder of the Las Fuentes Clinic in 1995 in Guadalupe; a graduate of the Department of Public Health, Maricopa County; has over 31 years of medical experience; has Board membership with the Arizona Kidney Foundation; the Arizona Inter-Faith Movement; and is the former Chairperson, National Council of Chief Executive Officers, Indian Health Services. Dr. Molina is admired and well-respected for his long-time medical service within the racially and ethnically mixed community of Guadalupe, populated by Mexican, Mexican American, Yaqui Indian, and white residents.

Gilbert V. Montañez: In 1964, Gil campaigned to represent the Hispanics of Tempe and was elected to the Tempe City Council. He was appointed Postmaster of Tempe by President Lyndon B. Johnson in August 1966. Gil helped organize the Arizona National League of Postmasters branch and served as the host postmaster of the National Convention of Postmasters in 1976. Gilbert “Gil” Montañez was named the Arizona Postmaster of the Year in 1980.

Samuel B. Muñoz: Teacher/Educator, Tempe Elementary School District # 1, 1957-1989; Master of Arts, Administration and Counseling, ASU, 1962; popular and admired public school teacher known for teaching American History and writing and producing numerous original student-plays for children and staging them as school productions, enabling his students to become participatory student-citizens and learn trust-building as they progressed in their education; a well-known writer and author; former Miami (Arizona) High School basketball star and member of the Arizona State Boxing Commission. In 2015, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell issued a city Proclamation designating September 4th as Samuel B. Muñoz Day, recognizing Sammy’s contributions as an author, athlete, and educator in the Tempe Public Schools. As a sixth-grade student in the Tempe Public schools, Mayor Mark Mitchell’s teacher was Sammy Muñoz.

Dr. George Sanchez: Optometrist; a member of the city’s legislative body, known as the Board of Freeholders, who wrote the Tempe City Charter in 1964. The George Sanchez Administration Building for Tempe School District # 3 on south Rural Avenue bears his name; a popular, well-respected, and skilled long-time eye-health care practitioner who treated his patients and their families with respect and kindness.

José María Villagomez and his spouse, María Villagomez: Entrepreneurs who built and managed their Chema Place Café in La Victoria, the “Victory Acres” neighborhood in northeast Tempe. Their café served a variety of Mexican food, pastries, hot meals, and coffee to farmers, neighbors, laborers, students, and families during the Homefront era of the 1940s. Chema Place Café became the community’s gathering place and became its own unique community center. There, they learned about the well-being of the sons and daughters, friends, relatives, and neighbors who supported the World War II effort abroad in service to their country, and on the home front.

By: Dr. Christine Marin and Al Quihuis. Members of the Board. Tempe Historical Society. September 1,