Jose “Lupe” Guadalupe Esparza, 81, of Phoenix passed away on Saturday, May 31, 2014.
Lupe was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He came to Arizona with his father in 1953 and began working for Kennecott Mining Company.
Although he devoted over 43 years of service to the mine, it was his love and passion for Mariachi music that he was most known for. Soon after arriving to Arizona, Lupe formed the first Mariachi group in Arizona, Mariachi Alma Jaliscience; later he formed his second group, Mariachi Colonial de Lupe Esparza. Lupe provided the Valley (as well as the Superior and Copper Basin areas) with authentic, professional Mariachi music for over 50 years and was recognized by the City of Phoenix with a proclamation stating Sept. 25 as “Lupe Esparza Day”. He was also recognized by the Arizona Musician’s Union with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Pedro and Maria, and his wife, Estella of Ajo, Ariz.
He is survived by his brother, Arturo; his sister, Aurora; his sons, Samuel (Renee) and Marcus (Andrea); and grandson, Alex.
Services were held at Green Acres Mortuary in Scottsdale on Monday, June 9. A Mariachi procession guided Lupe to his interment.