Raúl Héctor Castro

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Raúl Héctor Castro
Raul Hector Castro swearing in as Ambassador to Argentina.jpg
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
November 16, 1977 – July 30, 1980
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Robert Hill
Succeeded by Harry Shlaudeman
14th Governor of Arizona
In office
January 6, 1975 – October 20, 1977
Preceded by Jack Williams
Succeeded by Wesley Bolin
United States Ambassador to Bolivia
In office
September 3, 1968 – November 3, 1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Preceded by Douglas Henderson
Succeeded by Ernest Siracusa
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
In office
December 11, 1964 – July 17, 1968
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Murat Williams
Succeeded by William Bowdler
Personal details
Born (1916-06-12)June 12, 1916
Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
Died April 10, 2015(2015-04-10) (aged 98)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Resting place Sedona Community Cemetery, Sedona, Arizona
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patricia Steiner (1959-2015; his death)
Children 2
Education Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff (B.S.)
University of Arizona (J.D.)

Raúl Héctor Castro (June 12, 1916 – April 10, 2015) was an American politician. He had served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including United States Ambassador and the 14th Governor of Arizona (1975–77). He was the first Mexican-born American to be elected governor of Arizona. At the age of 98, he was the oldest living former United States governor following the death of former Washington governor Albert Rosellini on October 10, 2011, at age 101.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Cananea, Sonora, Castro lived in his native Mexico until 1926, when he moved to the U.S. state of Arizona and later became a United States citizen. Through grueling physical labor and self-denial, he saved enough to enter Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, from which he graduated in 1939. He worked for five years for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service clerk at Agua Prieta, a border city in his native Sonora, but he never forgot his dream of becoming a lawyer. Accepted by the University of Arizona College of Law, Castro earned his Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the Arizona Bar in 1949.

In 1959, he married his long-time girlfriend, Patricia Steiner. Together, they had two daughters.[2]


With his J.D. degree, Castro practiced law in Tucson for two years, then served as deputy Pima County attorney. In 1954, Castro was elected County attorney and served in that capacity until 1958, when he became a Pima County Superior Court Judge. His national stature grew over the years, and President Lyndon Johnson appointed Castro as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador in 1964. After four years there, he served as Ambassador to Bolivia until the end of 1969.

Returning to Tucson, Arizona, in 1969 to specialize in international law, Castro continued to rise to the top in Arizona Democratic politics. Seeking state office for the first time in 1970, he won the Democratic nomination for governor, but narrowly lost the general election to Republican incumbent Jack Williams. In 1974, Castro was elected governor. In 1977, after two years as governor, he was selected by President Jimmy Carter to be ambassador to Argentina. Castro held that post until 1980.


In 2007, Castro's alma mater, now known as Northern Arizona University, named the home of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in his honor. As a student, he competed in track and boxing for the school; he was inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the College of Social and Behavioral Science Hall of Fame in 2011.


On June 12, 2012, Castro was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents after they detected traces of radiation in his vehicle. After explaining that the radiation was due to a medical procedure from the previous day, the ex-governor was released after a short detention.[3]


On April 10, 2015, Castro died in his sleep while under hospice care in San Diego, aged 98.[2]


  1. ^ "Former Arizona Gov. Raul H. Castro dies at 98". KTAR.com. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Ruelas, Richard (12 April 2015). "Raul Castro, Arizona's only Latino governor, dies at 98". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Eng, James (6 July 2012). "Raul Castro, 96-year-old former US ambassador and Arizona governor, detained at Border Patrol checkpoint". MSNBC. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 

Additional sources[edit]

  • Goff, John S. (1983). Arizona Biographical Dictionary. Cave Creek, Ariz.: Black Mountain Press. OCLC 10740532. 
  • Interview with R.H. Castro for the newspaper Clarín of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 December 1998 concerning the Beagle conflict: Clarín.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Murat Williams
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
Succeeded by
William Bowdler
Preceded by
Douglas Henderson
United States Ambassador to Bolivia
Succeeded by
Ernest Siracusa
Preceded by
Robert Hill
United States Ambassador to Argentina
Succeeded by
Harry Shlaudeman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Goddard
Democratic nominee for Governor of Arizona
1970, 1974
Succeeded by
Bruce Babbitt
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Williams
Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Wesley Bolin
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Albert Rosellini
Oldest living American governor
Succeeded by
Edgar Whitcomb