Miners Memorial Organization

Map of area The Mammoth Miners Memorial Organization is a newly formed group of people from Oracle, Mammoth, and San Manuel, three communities neatly tucked in the mountains about sixty miles north of Tucson, Arizona. The main mission of the group is to build a memorial in honor of the miners who lost their lives during the decades of copper mine operations in San Manuel, St. Anthony and Tiger. The group is inviting their neighboring towns of Superior, Winkelman, Globe, Miami, as well as the cities of Tucson and Phoenix, to join them in their endeavor.

photo of smelter at San Manuel
San Manuel Smelter.   Photo by Alicja Mann

Oracle, Mammoth and San Manuel are bonded strongly by hard rock mining operations in this area. In one way or another, the existence of the San Manuel copper mine and smelter influenced people's lives here. In fact, it was the source of employment for most of them. That is until the spring of 1999, when a 45-year-old copper mine was closed due to the dramatic drop in the price of copper on the world market. Over 2,200 people lost their jobs, the majority of them from the Tri-Community area.

The fact that the San Manuel copper smelter is one of the largest, cleanest and most efficient in the world made many miners live in hope for over a year that something would change, that some day another copper company would buy this one and their lives would be back in order. But that has not materialized.

Stope Miners
Stope Miners
Photo circa 1940, courtesy of Pete Madrid.

Many people, especially young ones, left the area in search of different employment. They left their homes and memories behind and walked into a new and unfamiliar way of life. Retired miners and their families stayed behind. They are the ones who could afford it. They love these hard rock mountains; they are proud of their profession, their homes and community. Now they would like to preserve the memories of their work for future generations.

Sketch of proposed monument. Sketch of proposed monument by Mick Garcia.
1939 Manuel Z. Jaramillo
1945 Luis Montano
1955 William H. Marum
1956 Carlos T. Flores
1956 Elton E. Bertsch
1957 Hilario Lerma
1958 Walter J. Schmiezer
1959 G. L. Leddege
1960 D. R. Orta
1960 F. Velasquez
1960 K. L. Mcguffee
1960 C. L. Romiti
1961 Ray G. Contreras
1962 K. W. Marshall
1965 Joe A. Romero
1969 Alfred Vasquez
1970 Harvey Hendrickson
1970 Lucianne Robles
1971 Ebert S. Johnson
1971 Richard Torres
1971 William G. McInnis
1972 Joe A. Pursley
1972 William Boyd
1972 Ricky L. Wannebo
1973 Alexandro L. Ahumada
1974 Robert Mclean
1974 Luis Canez
1974 Teodoro Pesqueira
1974 Bruno Vargas
1975 Reynold C. Duran
1975 Daimian A. Quijada
1976 Charles C. Lopez
1977 Bruce L. McGinnis
1978 Donald B. Hitt
1978 Jerry P. Neff
1978 Edward V. Valdez
1979 Terry Bunning
1981 Robert Brown
1981 James J. Green
1981 Joe J. Armenta
1984 Carlos Cuester
1985 Hector Frias
1987 Willy J. Cox
1988 Donald Riggs
1993 Antonio Martinez
1993 Leonardo Dias
1997 Alberto Aquirre
1998 Arlo Wade
Last spring the Senior Citizens of Mammoth, lead by Onofre (Taffy) Tafoya, who worked in the mining industry for over 30 years, decided that "Now is the time to bring back to mind the men who lost their lives doing the same work that we did. Each tragic death forced changes to be made and resulted in a safer, better mine for each of us. Now is the time and we are the people that must remember and thank them." The idea of building a special memorial to honor these miners was born.

"Every ounce of gold, silver, copper and precious metals that has been extracted from the San Pedro watershed, from the early 1800s to the present time, has its mark in the public records, yet the names of the miners who lost their lives in that process are recorded mostly privately. Their names are etched in the hearts of widows and orphans, their fellow workers, and on the headstones scattered around different graveyards." The Mammoth Miners Memorial organization, initiated by the Senior Citizens of Mammoth, wants these names to be etched more visibly and permanently. Building the memorial is the way to achieve it.

To fulfill their goal, the Mammoth Miners Memorial will need a lot of support and help in the near future. The purpose of this Web site is to inform you, the public, and ask for your support.

What can YOU do to help?

  • If you have any suggestion or advice, please contact the leading team of the group:
    Onofre (Taffy) Tafoya (520) 487-2039
    Victor Borboa (520) 487-2780  
    Enrique (Wero) Ramirez
    Nora Webber (520) 487-2676  
    Gilbert and Lydia Castillo     (520) 487- 2727  
  • If you have any questions about this Web site, please call or email Alicja Mann
  • If you want to join and/or support the group, please print out and fill a contribution form. Mail it to:

Mammoth Miners Memorial Organization
P.O. Box 381
Mammoth, AZ 85618

Web site text and design by Alicja Mann of Word Studio.
Implementation by Jennifer Kano of WebWorks Design.
Copyright © 2001 Mammoth Miners Memorial Organization