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Former Arizona Gov. Raul H. Castro dies at 98

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Raul Hector Castro has died.

The governor’s office made the announcement Friday morning. Castro, the state’s only Hispanic governor, was 98.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Arizona’s cherished former Governor, Raúl Héctor Castro.

Arizonans will never forget Governor Castro. He was an honorable public servant, a history-maker, a beloved family man and a strong friend and fighter for Arizona. Whether as a county attorney, a superior court judge, a United States ambassador or – as we will best remember him – our 14th governor, his life and legacy of service is forever ingrained in our history. The thoughts and prayers of all Arizonans are with Governor Castro’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.

While our state will grieve this immense loss, it’s also important to celebrate the esteemed life and legacy of a great man who lived a full life of exemplary service to Arizona and its people.

In honor of Governor Castro, I have ordered that all state flags be lowered to half-staff.”

Castro, who born in Mexico, was governor from 1975 to 1977. He resigned to assume the ambassdorship to Argentina, chosen by President Jimmy Carter.

The Democrat was a graduate of Northern Arizona University.

Castro was famously stopped at the border a few years ago after returning from Nogales in 100-degree heat.

The family also released a statement:

“It is with profound sorrow that I share the news that my beloved grandfather, Raúl H. Castro, has passed away.

At 98, my grandfather lived as full and meaningful a life as any man could imagine. He made history though his public service while helping to improve the lives of the countless numbers of people with whom he came in contact—though my family simply knew him as our beloved patriarch and a man to be cherished and respected.

Raúl H. Castro lived his life guided by the simple philosophy that if he treated other people with respect that he would earn their respect in return. He believed that a quality education brings us every opportunity in life, and well into his 90s he never hesitated to take the time to encourage young people to stay in school and pursue their professional and creative goals.

He believed passionately in service to his community. He loved Arizona and the people he had the honor of representing as its 14th governor. He was proud that he was the first Hispanic elected to serve as Arizona governor and his service overseas as a U.S. Ambassador. He was proud of his Mexican heritage and his American citizenship. He believed the United States of America is the greatest country in the world.

While we are gravely saddened by his loss and will miss him dearly, we ask that his family, friends and admirers in Arizona, across the nation and around the world mark his passing by celebrating his many and varied achievements and the dignity with which he lived his long and extraordinary life.

Rest in peace, grandfather.


Donald Daley, III