Federico José María Ronstadt

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Federico José María Ronstadt
Born 1868
Las Delicias, Sonora, Mexico
Died 1954
Nationality US
Occupation Business
Known for Public figure in early 20th century Arizona
Spouse(s) Sara Levin
Maria Guadalupe Agustina Dalton
Children Luisa Ronstadt Kassler (1892-1963)
Laura M Ronstadt Popkin (1895-1975)
Frederick A Ronstadt (1897-1947)
Alicia R Ronstadt Retes (1901-1986)
Alfred F. Ronstadt (1909-1986)
Gilbert Ronstadt (1911-1995)
Edward F Ronstadt (1916-2001)
William E. Ronstadt (1906-1990)

Federico José María Ronstadt (1868 - 1954) was a business and cultural leader in Tucson, Arizona, USA, in the early 20th century.

Life and career[edit]

Ronstadt was born in Las Delicias, in the municipality of Banamichi, Sonora, Mexico, in 1868, the son of Margarita Redondo Y Vasquez and Friederich August Ronstadt. He moved to Tucson in 1882 to learn the blacksmithing and wheelwright trades. He eventually formed the F. Ronstadt wagon and carriage company, which later changed its name to the F. Ronstadt Hardware and Machinery Company and became the largest business of its kind in southern Arizona.[1]

Though he declined many invitations to run for high political offices, Ronstadt was an active community leader. He served a two-year term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, was chairman of the Water and Agricultural Committee of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Tucson Rotary Club and supported numerous political campaigns and causes.[1]

Music was essential to his life. A guitarist and vocalist, he founded what was probably Tucson's first professional orchestra, the Club Filarmonico Tucsonense, in 1896.[2] In the mid-1920s Ronstadt was among the organizers of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and he directed a production of Victor Herbert's The Red Mill.[1]

Music and stories always filled Ronstadt's home and inspired his children and grandchildren. He was married twice. Once to Sara Levin, the daughter of Tucson City Pioneer Alexander Levin (1834-1891) and Zenone/Zenona Molina. Levin was born a Jew in Bahn, Prussia, he later converted to Catholiscim, his wife's religion. Together Federico and Sara had four children Luisa, Laura, Frederick, and Alicia. He was married a second time to Maria Guadalupe Agustina Dalton, who was of one-quarter English and three-quarters Mexican ancestry.[3] Federico and Maria had four children together William, Alfred, Gilbert, and Edward. Federico's daughter, Luisa, professionally known as Luisa Espinel, and granddaughter, Linda Ronstadt, became internationally acclaimed singers. Each paid tribute to their creative family tradition by publishing works entitled Canciones de mi padre (Songs of my Father).[2]

Ronstadt remained active in business, writing and music up to his death in 1954.[1][2] The City of Tucson dedicated its central transit terminal to Ronstadt on March 16, 1991, for his early contribution to the city's mobility which included six mule-drawn streetcars delivered in 1903-1904.[4] The Tucson Musicians Museum is dedicated to the legacy of Ronstadt for his fundamental contributions to Tucson's cultural identity.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Borderman: The Memoirs of Federico José María Ronstadt, The University of Arizona Library
  2. ^ a b c James S. Griffith.Tucson's Ronstadt Family, The University of Arizona Library
  3. ^ "Descendants of Gonzalo Zamorano." www.familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Transportation Research Board, TRID Database
  5. ^ Federico José María Ronstadt Tucson Musicians Museum