Colorado Loses One of its Senior Cattle Ranchers

Longtime Ordway resident Joe Rodriguez, 89 passed away September 30 unexpectedly in his home following a brief illness.

Rodriguez was a lead cattle rancher in the Arkansas Valley beginning in the 1950’s raising Hereford cattle, but later turning his passion toward Black Angus.  His herds roamed many areas of Crowley County marked by the “Backwards Lazy J R” brand.

Born on March 10, 1929 to Petra and Juan Rodriguez, he was the oldest son of 12 children.

He attended school in Channing, Colorado, and later attended school in Sugar City, Colorado.  After graduating high school, he attended Otero Junior College.

His family moved from Lamar, Colorado where he was born, to make their home in Ordway where he later raised his own family.

With his father, Rodriguez farmed in Sugar City where German prisoners of war were housed.  Working alongside the Germans, he learned basic German.  Here the family raised onions, beets, cantaloupe, and tomatoes.

Rodriguez’ government service began at the Pueblo Ordinance Depot in the 1950s.  From this position, he accepted an offer to join the Army Material Command in Cam Ranh Bay in 1967 during the Vietnam War.  He retired in 1978 after the Pueblo Ordinance Depot was renamed the Pueblo Army Depot.

In the 60s he was on the founding board of the Parent Child Center in Ordway that served local residents with needed social services.  The Center became the first early childhood education center in the area.  During this time he also organized for civil rights during the civil rights movement of the 60s.

He is survived by his wife, Hortense of the home; six children and three stepchildren: Eugene Madrigal of Denver, Rita Madrigal Hankus (Alan) of Elizabeth, Colorado, Rosalie Madrigal Hankus (Norbert) of Elizabeth, Connie Rodriguez Wilson (Robert) of Englewood, Joe A. Rodriguez of Ordway, Irene Rodriguez of Boulder, Sandra Rodriguez Sandoval (Paul) of Aurora, Mario Rodriguez of Ordway and Mercedes Rodriguez Schwall (Brendan) of Highlands Ranch. He is also survived by three brothers: Gilbert of Rocky Ford, Johnny of La Junta, and Pete of Pueblo; plus two sisters, Katie Beruman of Azusa, California and Delores Farris of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Four grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews also survive. 

He is preceded in death by his twin sister who was stillborn, his parents Juan and Petra of Ordway, brother Paul, and sisters Marie, Susan, Elizabeth, and Cecilia.

A graveside service is scheduled at the Lakeview Cemetery in Sugar City, Friday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.

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