John Martinez Ortega, age 88, was born on June 24, 1930 to his beloved parents, Jose Agripine and Esperanza “Hope” Ortega in Aravaipa, Arizona. He was a life-time cowboy and bronk buster. John was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather. John worked for Ed Bowman on the Hook N’ Line Ranch below Coolidge Dam. Lewis Bowman was Ed’s nephew and foreman. Then he worked for the 3V’s near Seligman. It was a huge outfit over 1 million acres, now it is reduced to 5,000 head of cattle. John said the Winters were too cold there, so he came back and went to work for the San Carlos Apache Tribe Cattlemen’s Association. He broke horses for them.
The Korean War broke out in 1950 and he went off to war. He was a Sergeant First Class with the 25th Infantry as a machine gunner. He received a Bronze Star and National Defense Service Medal. When he returned from war, he went to work for Steve Bixby on the Bixby Ranch north of Globe. He worked under Lewis Boman who was Steve’s foreman, then when Lewis Bowman left, Steve Bixby, Jr. was his foreman. John worked at the Bixby Ranch for fourteen years.
During this time, he met and married Esperanza (Hope) Macias. They were married 48 years. He then went to work for Oxide Mine operating scrapers and dozers and as a pit foreman for Inspiration.
John missed the ranching and cowboy life and went to work for Hollis and Elana Crim when they bought the Hicks Ranch. A few years later, they bought the Bixby Ranch and added it to the spread. John loved working for them there until he couldn’t go anymore.
John is preceded in death by his beloved parents, Jose and Agripine Ortega; his loving and devoted wife, Esperanza “Hope” Ortega; his parents, Jose Dutch and Agripina Ortega; his brothers, Teofilo, Freddie, Joe, Ray and his sisters, Mary, Pauline, Eusabia, Mercy, Lucy, Helen, Augustine, Lind and Lewa.
John is survived by his son, Thomas John Ortega; his daughter, Christina, brothers, Dutch and Pete; his sisters, Sarah, Teresa, Rosie, Alice and Stella; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, sixteen great-great-grandchildren; and five great-great-great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service in John’s honor was conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Bulman Miles Globe Chapel, 237 South Sutherland Street, Globe, Arizona 85501.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to the Veterans of Foreign Affairs (VFW) at https://www.vfw.org and/or the American Legion Henry Barry Post 4 at https://www.legion.org.
The family was assisted by Bulman Miles Funeral Services Globe.
Family and friends are encouraged to visit the online memorial at www.BulmanMiles.com.