Editions

Answer to Woody’s Question, 65 Years in the Making

By Tim Z. Hernandez

All They Will Call You Will Be Deportees: On Sept. 2, the Mexican farmworkers mentioned in Woody Guthrie’s song, “Deportee,” will finally be given the dignity and respect they deserve. A new memorial, listing all of their names, will be dedicated at Holy Cross Cemetery in Fresno. The program starts at 10 a.m., and the public is invited. Tim Z. Hernandez, who has been the driving force behind this effort, recently wrote the following on his blog to bring us up-to-date on the project.

All They Will Call You Will Be Deportees: On Sept. 2, the Mexican farmworkers mentioned in Woody Guthrie’s song, “Deportee,” will finally be given the dignity and respect they deserve. A new memorial, listing all of their names, will be dedicated at Holy Cross Cemetery in Fresno. The program starts at 10 a.m., and the public is invited. Tim Z. Hernandez, who has been the driving force behind this effort, recently wrote the following on his blog to bring us up-to-date on the project.

When Woody Guthrie asked the question, “Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?” I wonder if he ever thought someone 65 years down the road would attempt to answer it? Or that the someone would be the grandson of migrant farmworkers from the same soil that the plane went down.

I wanted you all to be the first to hear…I have in fact located surviving family members for two of the “deportee” passengers aboard the plane that crashed in Los Gatos Canyon.

It only took the first conversation with Mr. Ramirez to realize that he and I have both been slogging our way through years of research (Mr. Ramirez more than I), intuitively working our way toward one another all this time. He is the grandson and nephew of Guadalupe Ramirez Lara and Ramon Paredes Gonzalez, both men who found themselves aboard that fateful flight on Jan. 28, 1948.

Since our first conversation, he and his family have been gracious and beyond cooperative in allowing me to interview them in person and on camera/audio for my book. To say they are excited about the effort to install the new headstone memorial on Sept. 2 is an understatement. They’ve been waiting for this moment since 1948 and, of course, they’ll be present.

I know many of you have been asking me if I have found any of the families, and while I’d like to save some of the mystery for my book, I will let you know that there will be an opportunity to hear the family’s story firsthand.

I recently took Mr. Ramirez, his wife and niece to the crash sight in Los Gatos Canyon to see the exact location where their relatives died. To add to the special occasion, Larry Haws, the grandson of O.D. “Happy” Gaston, who was among the first on the scene to help, was with us. And in a moment I thought might never happen, I found myself entering the canyon creek bed with the grandson of a first responder on my left and the grandson of two “nameless” victims on my right. Both men linked by a single incident that had begun to shape their lives before they were even born. Mr. Ramirez wore his father’s hat for the special occasion.

The public is invited to the Memorial Headstone installation at Holy Cross Cemetery on Sept. 2, Labor Day, at 10 a.m. Below is the list of names of the 28 passengers who were aboard the flight that day.

Jaime Ramirez, Tim Hernandez and Larry Haws at the crash site in Los Gatos Canyon.

Jaime Ramirez, Tim Hernandez and Larry Haws at the crash site in Los Gatos Canyon.

The Names

  1. Miguel Negrete Alvarez
  2. Tomas Aviña de Gracia
  3. Francisco Llamas Duran
  4. Santiago Garcia Elizondo
  5. Rosalio Padilla Estrada
  6. Tomas Padilla Marquez
  7. Bernabe Lopez Garcia
  8. Salvador Hernandez Sandoval
  9. Severo Medina Lara
  10. Elias Macias Trujillo
  11. Jose Macias Rodriguez
  12. Luis Medina Lopez
  13. Manuel Merino Calderon
  14. Luis Cuevas Miranda
  15. Martin Razo Navarro
  16. Ignacio Perez Navarro
  17. Roman Ochoa Ochoa
  18. Ramon Paredes Gonzalez
  19. Guadalupe Ramirez Lara
  20. Apolonio Ramirez Placencia
  21. Alberto Carlos Raygoza
  22. Guadalupe Rodriguez
  23. Maria Rodriguez Santana
  24. Juan Ruiz Valenzuela
  25. Wenceslao Flores Ruiz
  26. Jose Valdivia Sanchez
  27. Jesus Meza Santos
  28. Baldomero Marcas Torres
 

1 comment to Answer to Woody’s Question, 65 Years in the Making

  • Marie

    thanks for writing and announcing this event. I posted on Democratic Underground to let the world see.
    Glad Woody Guthrie honored them.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>