Johnny Auza, born in November 1941, passed away this past week, April 24. He would have been 78 years old this November. The following are just a few things I learned about Johnny as I interviewed him for his father and mother to be inducted into the Arizona Ranching and Farming Hall of Fame March 2019.
Johnny was born the fifth of eight children to Frank and Elsie Barrerras Auza. Johnny was a native Arizona, of Basque descent as his father, Frank, had been born in the Basque area of Spain. Johnny worked in the sheep business from an early age with his father, and then as a partner with his brothers, Frank, Pete, in the Auza Brothers Sheep Company. Counting the time he worked for his father and then partnered with his brothers he spent 50 years in the sheep business in Arizona. Summer jobs included delivery boy for the Babbitts and deliverer of Budweiser. His father believed that if a son had no summer job, they would be put as camp tender or some other job working with the sheep. Johnny told me it was always best to find a summer job and not work the sheep. Later Johnny would be a heavy equipment operator.
Johnny was a great athlete at Flagstaff High School, graduation in 1960. While a student at the school, he played football, participated in track and field and was a wrestler. He received six varsity letters during those years at the high school.
I am still in the process of transcribing the interview I had with Johnny and will add more stories as have time.