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Leading the way

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Angela “Angie” Tewksbury

Angela_8Growing up in Globe, Arizona, Angela “Angie” Tewksbury was passionate about children receiving the best education possible in a safe and nurturing environment. When her own children came home injured due to poor school equipment or unable to receive college counseling because they were Latino, she blazed pathways to educational achievement and equality for all students. She was the first Hispanic on the Globe School Board, earned the prestigious All Arizona School Board Award and was named Woman of the Year by the Arizona Record and the Arizona Silver Belt newspapers.

Leading others to the principle of fairness, she served as president, clerk and as a member of the Board of Education, Globe Unified School District No. 1, for 13 consecutive years. Her decisions were sometimes controversial, but her exemplary record makes it clear that she was a fearless advocate for equal education.

Among her many accomplishments are the provision of college counseling for Hispanic students (resulting in an increase in Latinas with degrees), a school pedestrian bridge over a major highway, a track team for girls, scholarship opportunities, assistance with college admission forms, co-ed use of the new track facility and fair treatment of Hispanic educators. When, during football season, the school padlocked one of the only safe play areas, she borrowed bolt cutters and kept removing the locks until it remained open.

Angie’s parents were long-time Globe residents, Dionicio and Rosaria Ruiz. A mason, Dionicio was originally from Durango, Mexico, and Rosaria was a Yaqui from the Florence area. Born in 1926, Angie was one of nine children growing up in a little adobe home on Ash Street. Times were a struggle for the town’s Hispanic families in the 1930s and 1940s. But, they always had plenty of family love, a strong work ethic and humor. Angie’s daughter, Barbara, said that her father, Jimmy Tewksbury, used to laugh and say that when the Depression hit, they didn’t know it because they were always economically depressed.

Angie’s mother Rosaria lived the example of hard work and love for family. She stayed home raising the nine surviving children of her 11 pregnancies until her husband passed away. Then, she had to take in washing and ironing and sell tamales to make ends meet. When the children were older, she was a housekeeper at the El Rancho Hotel on the edge of Globe.

Bucking the trend for the eldest Hispanic daughter to leave school after the eighth grade, Angie was the first in her family to graduate from Globe High School in 1946. In 1947, she married Jimmy, who was in the Coast Guard and a WWII veteran. He was the son of Edwin, the only survivor of the infamous Tewksbury-Graham feud over cattle rustling near Payson. They had four children: Barbara, Bernice, James (“Buddy”) and Taryn.

In high school, and later when she was expecting her youngest daughter, Angie worked at the El Rancho Hotel. Later in life, she served as a medical transcriptionist for Dr. Charles Bejarano.

As she became involved in the Parent Teacher Association, Girl Scouts, Little League and the everyday lives of her children, she became more and more interested in local issues. Neighbors urged her to run for the school board and, in 1969, she won a seat. To help her change policies, Angie reached out to locals, such as her high school classmate, Governor Rose Mofford.

While the school board was a platform for change, Angie’s daughter Barbara points out that her mother’s style was very one on one, reaching out to the youth in Globe one student at a time. Hundreds of young Latinas saw the successful path Angie traveled and heard her message that they were worthy and able to make something wonderful of themselves. 

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