The life of former Winkelman Fire Chief Roger Apodaca

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Copper Basin News

The Apodaca family is well known in Winkelman and the surrounding areas. Roger Apodaca was a caring and compassionate man with a great sense of humor and will be missed by his family and friends. Apodaca had a deep conviction to contribute to the community. Besides his work at ASARCO of 37 years he was heavily involved in the Winkelman Volunteer Fire Department where he retired as fire department chief after 38 years.

Apodaca was born in Phoenix and raised in Winkelman. He graduated from Hayden High School in 1960 and attended Northern Arizona University. He loved playing catcher on baseball teams. Apodaca loved all sports and spend years as president of the Little League. He donated his time to coach Little League and the Senior League. His daughter Monica Badillo said, “I remember one year him and my uncle created a team which consisted of kids that other coaches didn’t want, their team name was the Rejects and they were winners of many games.”

Apodaca married the love of his life Angie and had four beautiful children Monica Badillo, Berdine Apodaca, Patrick Apodaca and Bobby Apodaca.

Monica Badillo said, “My dad was a loving, caring, passionate father, husband, brother, uncle, and grandfather. He taught us by his strong example and community involvement. He was a loving and devout husband. He loved my mom so very much and appreciated everything she did for him and stood by his side and supported his every passion and he loved her all the more. The feelings were mutual.” Roger Apodaca was one month shy of being married to Angie Apodaca for 50 years.

Apodaca was an active member of the church and served as a Eucharistic Minister. He was quite involved as a cursillista and in the movement. The local union also benefited from his efforts and his passion to give back as he was a loyal activist. He was very spiritual and enjoyed performing talks and lectures and helping facilitate events.

Growing up the family would travel to fire conventions. There weren’t many females and Monica and her sister would wonder if this was something they could do or become. When this was brought to her father’s attention he would say no, fire fighting is not for girls. When a female joined the fire department in the early 1990s, Monica and her sister Berdine decided they would give it a try. When they became fire fighters Chief Apodaca really took care of them. There was a time when Chief Apodaca had all four of his children participating in the volunteer fire department. His son Bobby is really following in his shoes as he is the current fire chief for the Winkelman Fire Department. Bobby has been involved with fire fighting for 21 years now and Monica Badillo has been involved for 17 years now.

Badillo said, “I fondly remembers our long summer trips to California. And let me tell you just how much fun it was to make that long drive without air conditioning and with it taking 10 hours because my dad refused to drive over the speed limit! I also remember every summer attending fire conventions. We visited many cities and towns such as Bullhead City, Kingman, Yuma, Williams, Holbrook and many others.”

The funeral was certainly special and several of the events were due to the respect and honor the statewide fire departments had for former Chief Apodaca. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church performed a heartwarming mass, many fire department agencies attended including Winkelman Fire; Hayden Fire; Hayden Police Department; Kearny Fire; Kearny Police Department; Dudleyville Fire; Superior Fire; Globe Fire; Golder Ranch Fire; Mesa Fire; Glendale Fire and Regional Fire. The Arizona Last Alarm and Last Alarm Foundation attended and this was the first time these two agencies came together for such an event.

In honor and admiration to former Chief Roger Apodaca and his truly special family we celebrate his life, the life he lived and hold the memories close to our hearts. It was no coincidence that the family felt as strong as he did to the commitment of firefighting and being involved in the ministries of the church. Chief Apodaca taught his family the meaning of “UN Dia a la vez” (one day at a time). He lived it. The love he has left leaves an indelible imprint in our memories and comfort can be found knowing our lives have been enriched by sharing this love.

Nina Crowder (39 Posts)

Nina Crowder is a resident of Mammoth. She volunteers in several local organizations. She covers events throughout the Copper Corridor and Superior Town and School governance.


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