Committed family, community and military member Gilbert Robles Figueroa, 95, of Solomon, Morenci and Safford passed away in his home on Nov. 17, 2016 in the presence of his family. He was born November 29, 1920, in Solomonville, to Juan and Adela Figueroa.
Gilbert exemplified the age of the Greatest Generation. He endured and contributed much, constantly withholding complaints while generously sharing of himself. At the age of six he began working to support his family as he continued to do throughout the Great Depression. He was forced to leave school after eighth grade but later returned to complete his GED in May of 1977.
After enlisting in the marines in 1943, Gilbert ultimately served his country in the Army, fighting in the 11th infantry division until January 18, 1945 and thereafter in the 63rd armory infantry division. He proudly fought in the historic Battle of the Bulge, sacrificing his body and awarded two Purple Hearts. He continued his commitment to country and community as Commander of the American Legion Post 28, ultimately amassing 71 years of membership. In this role he was well known at many community events, including Christmas food donations, as a sometimes Santa Claus, and announcer for the Fourth of July races, his deep voice often rendering amplification superfluous.
While he held many professional positions throughout his life, his longest role was as Roadmaster, at the Phelps Dodge Morenci Copper Mine, a position he held for 45 years, retiring in 1978.
Gilbert was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Hortensia Chavez Figueroa. Their love and commitment to one another was admired by many and their reunion much anticipated. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Juan and Adela Figueroa, his brother Roberto, his sister Virginia Dominguez, his infant twin daughters Anne Marie and Maria Elena Figueroa, and his great grandson Jack de Leon. He is survived by his three children, Gilbert (Janet), Estella (Dennis) and Roberto (Rochelle); his eight grandchildren, Marya, Jerod, Serena, Leela, Paloma, Aurelia, Evan and Solomon; and four siblings, Alicia, Juan, Miguel and Jose.
A ceremony will be conducted at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, at 11:00 AM. A celebration of Gilbert’s bold and magnanimous life will immediately follow at the Solomon American Legion Post 95.
Funeral arrangements are being made by McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be made at http://www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.