Rodolfo “Fito” R. Saenz

Rodolfo “Fito” R. Saenz, 92, of Chandler, AZ, passed away September 10, 2019.  He was born on November 2, 1926 in Metcalf, AZ to Eleodoro Saenz & Mariana Rodriguez Saenz. Rudy was one of 11, his siblings include, Angela, Lillie, Tony, Teresa, Carol, Ester, Amy, Alice, Bobbi and Ernie.

Rudy attended schools in the Morenci area schools until being drafted into WWII as a junior at Morenci high. Though he loved defending his country his one and only regret was not being able to graduate.

Rudy and Lillie “Lydia” Chavez married on October 4th in Bisbee, AZ. Having 5 children, Rudy, Mark, Rene, Kenny and Annette. Living in Morenci, AZ until 1964, transplanting his family to Safford, AZ for the next 50+ years until recently relocating to Chandler, AZ with his beloved Lillie. It was quite evident that Rudy love for family, friends and strangers alike was so great you could see it by the way he welcomed everyone into his home.

His military friendship was quite evident during his tours in WWII and Korean war as he kept in touch with his comrade Glen Pucket of Kentucky until Rudy’s passing.  Their bond was so incredible that they called each other for birthdays and holidays. Rudy would travel to Kentucky with his wife just to visit Glen.  Glen, in turn, would travel to Safford.

He was an avid lover of sports (eventually enlisting his wife to share his passion), with baseball, basketball and football, whether it be high school, college or professional, his knowledge of the trivia involved in those sports was unbelievable! He was like a kid in a candy store when it came to attending sporting events throughout the country, whether traveling to New York, Dallas, Baltimore, LA or other cities. Another passion of Rudy’s was his love for animals, raising his beloved chickens until no longer able.

Rudy is survived by his loving wife Lillie Saenz of Chandler, Mark (Mercy) Saenz of Tucson, Rene Saenz of Florida, Kenneth Saenz & Billy Miller of Baltimore, MD and Annette Saenz of Chandler, his siblings Angela Padilla, Tony Saenz, Amy Rodriguez, Ester Vallejo, Bobby Sanchez and Ernie Saenz, 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his son Rodolf “Rudy” Saenz, his parents, Mariana & Eleodoro Saenz, and sisters; Lillie Garcia, Teresa Villareal, Carol Westley and Alice Gomez.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to the “Lillie of the Valley Garden Trust Fund” in care of Saint Rosa Lima  Catholic Church at 311 Central Avenue, Safford, AZ  85546.

Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory.  Online condolences may be extended at