Cover photo for Frank Martin Barrios's Obituary
Frank Martin Barrios Profile Photo

Frank Martin Barrios

Frank Barrios, Arizona historian, engineer, community activist, author, retired St Vincent de Paul President, and a heritage family descendant of Phoenix AZ passed away after a battle with a year-long illness. He was born on April 8, 1942, to Alphonso Barrios and Dolores (Gold) Barrios.

Frank’s Arizona Sonora lineage ran deep, with his father’s family originating from Tecate, Mexico, and his mother Dolores Gold native of Arizona, and Phoenician daughter of local agribusinessman and entrepreneur Martin Gold.

Arizona native son Frank Barrios attended St Mary’s Elementary School graduating in 1956 and then Brophy College Prep in 1960. He first attended Phoenix College, then graduated from ASU in 1966 with a degree in civil engineering. His lifelong career of service to his beloved Arizona began with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Arizona Department of Water Resources. After graduating from Arizona State University, Frank worked at the BOR Phoenix Development Office in 1966. He left BOR in 1975 and moved to the state office called the Arizona Water Commission, later transitioned to the Arizona Department of Water Resources. He spent time as a Director for both the Pinal and Phoenix Active Management areas.

Frank worked in Colorado River Planning until he retired in 1998. In 2003, Governor Janet Napolitano appointed him to the CAWCD Board of Directors, where he served for three years. Most people who know Arizona’s water history agree the state’s sustainable growth has only been possible because of the tireless work of Frank Barrios and many others in the water community during that critical time of anticipated Arizona population growth.

In 2017 Frank was honored by an organization that he cared for deeply, KBI or the Kino Border Initiative. He enthusiastically supported KBI from its origination. Frank did all this without hesitation because he recognized that KBI’s aid and advocacy programs are truly a manifestation of “God’s work” for our brother and sister migrants crossing the border.

After retirement, Frank served on countless boards over the years, serving as president of seven of them. He has received the Hon Kachina Award, the Kino Border Initiative Pope Francis Award, and the Valle del Sol Hall of Fame Award, among others. He is also an author who has written “The Mexicans of Phoenix,” “A History of the Phoenix Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” and co-authored “Reflections from a Community: The History of Chicanos Por La Causa, 1960-2009.”

Frank’s life reflects the teachings of St. Ignatius who asked that we show our love through deeds more than words and that we pray that God will take care of all but act as though it is up to each and every one of us. Brophy College Prep recently recognized Frank Barrios as the recipient of the 2020 St. Ignatius of Loyola Award for Distinguished Service.

Frank is preceded in death by his father, Alfonso Barrios, and Dolores “Lola” (Gold) Barrios. His many cousins survive him and will miss him tremendously. He was the patriarch, a point of light and pride for the Gold-Barrios-Killeen family.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 20th between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. with rosary at 6:00 Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix, on September 21st, at 9:00 am with a gathering in Anderson Hall to follow. Interment will be held privately.
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