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Fernando J. Martinez, Sr. I was born at New Cornelia Hospital on July 10, 1945, in Ajo, Arizona. I grew up at the Village of Moik Wahia (“Softwell”) or Darby Wells, five miles south of Ajo. My mother is Josephine Carmillo Martinez, and my Father’s name is Jose Juan Martinez. He was from the Gu-Vo District (deceased). My father was killed along with four other friends of his, in a railroad train automobile accident. I was then nine years of age (1953). I attended Ajo Curley School while I was raised by my grandmother Menuela Ortega Carmello, wife of Alfonso Carmello (deceased), a Sonorian Papago. My schooling ended early when the Ajo Curley School Officials terminated bus transportation to and from their school. I did receive later on in my life an Arizona State High School Certificate Equivalency dated December 7, 1990.
My employment began early with Tom Alley’s Bread Baking Company; I was a helper, delivery boy, and store stocker. After that, I worked seasonally as a harvester of cotton crops. I moved from town-to-town: Gila Bend, Buckeye, Stanfield, Maricopa, Casa Grande, Eleven Mile Corner, Eloy, San Xavier, and Tucson. I stopped working as a harvester when I applied for a job for the Tucson Pioneer Hotel. There, I was a temporary maintenance helper. My supervisor liked my work and helped me into a houseman’s job. It was there where I met my future wife, Ms. Raymalee Rose Johnson. After a couple of years, I asked her to marry me. She said she would after graduation from Pueblo High School (June 1963). I applied to the Federal Government Relocation program the same year where I was sent to Los Angeles, California. I requested upholstery vocation employed as an assembly line worker. After two years, I switched jobs to work for Frito-Lay where I drove gas and electric forklifts to load and unload semi-trucks, distributed locally and statewide. After three years, I returned to Tucson and obtained a job working for Western Electric Co. as a Telephone Equipment Installer. I then enlisted into the Untied States Marine Crops and served for 6 years (1970-1976). I was honorably discharged as an E-5 Sargent. I returned back to Tucson where I eventually retired after 25-years with the Department of Economics (2003). I have worked with the Tohono O’odham Nation in many capacities, from 2004 to the present.
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