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Joe T. Barrales

Today's obituaries

Date published: 10/4/2013

Joe T. Barrales

Joe Tena Barrales, 72, of Fredericksburg passed away Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at Mary Washington Hospital.

Now in the arms of Jesus, he will always be loved by his wife of 48 years, Marge; two sisters, Yollie Luna and husband Jose of Tucson, Ariz., and Lupe Marquez and husband Eddie of Salt Lake City, Utah; six brothers, Raul, Carlos, David, Francisco, Ruben and Jorge Barrales of Tucson; two uncles, Ricardo and Salomon Tena; two brothers-in-law, Paul Kienow and wife Penny and Ken Kienow and wife Ellie; sister-in-law Karen Pinkstaff and husband Tom; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Maria; father, Jose; and nana, Manuela.

Joe was a most special and unusual man. He led an extraordinary life and made the most of every opportunity, both challenges and blessings. He was born into poverty on March 19, 1941, in Nogales, in the Mexican state of Sonora, living in a house that did not even have indoor plumbing. His mother was born in Jerome, Ariz., but had returned to Mexico several years before his birth. Joe came to the U.S. at age 8, but was put in the kindergarten class at school because he spoke no English. By year's end he was ready for second grade. He grew up in the mining town of Bagdad, Ariz., and was the first of his family to graduate from high school. He surprised them all by wanting to go to college, and spent his holidays and summers working in the Bagdad Copper Mine, saving his money and tending to his dream. When he turned 18, he proudly took steps to become an American citizen. In 1960, his uncle drove him to the highway carrying a small suitcase, where he boarded a Greyhound bus and headed for the University of Arizona in Tucson. Joe had some small scholarships, but none were specifically aimed at helping Hispanic students. He lived carefully and worked every vacation and summer in the copper mine to fund his education. When he met his wife during his senior year year in 1964, he was living on candy bars. His persistence paid off, and he earned two bachelor's degrees, one in international relations and one in Spanish literature, and a master's degree in languages.

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