Happy birthday, Jesus Ross – the Copper Corridor’s newest centenarian

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Jesus Ross, 100 years young, with his family celebrating his centennial birthday.

  In 1919, the President of the United States was Woodrow Wilson. World War I had just ended in November of 1918, a loaf of bread cost 10 cents, sirloin steak 39 cents per pound and a gallon of gas 25 cents. 

  On June 20, 1919, Jesus Ross was born in the small farming community of Eloy, Arizona. His mother and father worked in the fields. He is the last of 11 children.

  On Saturday, June 22, Jesus celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at a barbecue at his home near Winkelman. 

  Jesus attended school in Eloy and Casa Grande. His family moved back to Mexico for a while. Jesus returned to the United States to live in Tucson when he was in his 20s. He worked as a gardener at the old El Conquistador Hotel which was built in 1929 on Broadway where the El Con Mall was located. In Tucson, he met his wife, Lydia Soto. They were married in Sacramento, California. They would raise a family of seven children.  

  Some relatives from Winkelman told Jesus about some job opportunities with the smelter in Hayden. Jesus moved to Winkelman and went to work for ASARCO. He worked his way up to a supervisor position and was in charge of the reverb. One day at work, an overhead ladle of molten copper spilled. Jesus and another employee were standing underneath the ladle. Jesus saw the bucket spilling and shoved the other employee out of the way. Molten metal fell on Jesus, severely burning him. One witness told his family that Jesus’ safety helmet was melting on his head.

  Jesus was rushed to a hospital in Tucson. He spent two weeks in ICU where doctors did not expect him to live. After a number of skin graft surgeries, he was able to return to work and later retire. 

  He has seen many changes in the world in his lifetime and lived through the terms of 17 different presidents. He says his favorite president was John F. Kennedy. Jesus has 11 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. 

  Happy birthday, Jesus!

John Hernandez (760 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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