Cover photo for Maria Elena (Helen) Martinez Verdugo's Obituary
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Maria Elena (Helen) Martinez Verdugo

Maria Elena (Helen) Martinez Verdugo

, 74, entered eternal life on February 4


, 2022, in her Mesa home.

She came into the world on January 31


, 1948, in Yuma, Arizona and was raised in Somerton, Arizona. Attending Kofa High School in Yuma, Helen was a four-year varsity member of the King’s Regiment Marching Band, playing the clarinet. She completed her education at Arizona Western Community College with a degree in business management, class of ’69. She was employed as a purchasing agent at Tucson Electric Power Co., retiring after 18 years of service. She was legendary for the lunchtime card games of “31” where she schooled the younger crowd on how to be a master card player. During her time as a purchasing agent at TEP, Helen was appointed President of the National Association of Purchasing Management of Apache County, an organization that promotes the education of purchasing managers. She was also a key part of the Up With People organization in Tucson, empowering young adults to “make a difference” through volunteer work and travel. During the 25 years she lived in Springerville, Arizona, Helen’s favorite pastime was trout fishing and camping in the White Mountains with her husband and beloved daughters.

Helen is remembered as a loving, fierce, whimsical spirit, and a passionate storyteller with an infectious laugh. You never needed a radio, because she could keep you company by talking to you the whole way, once speaking non-stop for a full 132 miles. She could tell you any basketball fact or statistic, and was always rooting for the Golden State Warriors, much to the dismay of her daughters who are Suns fans! When it came to food, Helen could paint a culinary picture with her vivid descriptions of the preparation and taste of her favorite dishes. Her grandchildren will especially miss her stories of grandeur that she told to pass the time.

Helen was the deeply loved wife of Jose Alfredo Verdugo, having recently celebrated 51 years of marriage. Her legacy will live on in her children: Alana Verdugo-Noto (George); Linda Bigelow (Jared); Patricia Paris (Branden), and her five grandchildren: Maya Noto, Thomas Bigelow, Nathan Bigelow, Maurielle Noto, and Leonidas Jason Verdugo Paris.

Helen is also survived by her siblings: Andrew (Andy) Joseph Martinez, Linda Easley, Alfredo (Freddy) Martinez.

Te amamos para siempre, Paloma. Nombre sea de Dios.
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