Jose Ignacio Torres
May 5, 1939 – June 25, 2020
Born May 5,1939 in Miami, Arizona, he passed away at his family home in Tempe, Arizona on June 25, 2020.
José grew up in Superior, Arizona, where he developed lifelong friendships. His commitment to his hometown was recognized through his induction into the Superior Hall of Fame in 2017. He was an Army Veteran - an Airborne Ranger (Ranger Class no.8, 1964, Fort Benning, Georgia). After graduating with a BA in 1962 and an MA in 1970, he affirmed a family commitment to Arizona State University that runs deep. He still drove a 1969 Ford Bronco he bought new. He rebuilt jeeps, could fix anything, was an avid hunter/fisherman, and loved going ‘out to the sticks’ for camping or hiking. He hiked the Grand Canyon four times; once with his son rim-to-rim in one day.
He was a lifelong educator and unapologetic supporter of education as the change agent for students. He started as a middle school teacher at Scottsdale’s Tavan Junior High School and with a commitment to higher education served as a History faculty member at Mesa Community College from 1971 to 1996 when he retired.
José loved teaching class and only missed one class session in his career. In 1986, he and two colleagues started an international education trip to Guanajuato, Mexico, mostly due to his love for travel, adventure, and to teach students about Mexican History. He fought for diversity and inclusion and helped establish representation goals for faculty diversity at Mesa Community College.
José is survived by his wife of 55 years, Teresa Jorquez Torres, his three children, María (Juan), Jose (Sylvia), and Tamara (Chris), seven grandsons Diego, Mateo, José Fernando, Agustín, Maximino, Gavin, Aiden and his favorite granddaughter, Solana. He is also survived by his sister Armida Torres Sainz and his brother Manuel Torres. He is preceded in death by his beloved family members Lazaro Lomeli Torres (father), Flavia Macias Torres (mother), and Otilia Torres Gonzalez (sister).
To honor his demonstrated and unwavering advocacy for education, the family established the José I Torres Memorial Scholarship to support first generation Latinx students at the Maricopa Community Colleges through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. Donations can be made at https://mcccdf.org/give/ (under Designation tab please select "Other" and type in José I. Torres Memorial Scholarship) or donate by check to Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation 2419 West 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 (payable to: MCCF).
In addition, during his long time battle with Parkinson’s Disease he benefited from and supported many organizations such as the Michael J Fox Foundation (501c3). https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/baehrchallenge/Donate
The family appreciates donations to support these non-profit efforts.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Jose Ignacio Torres
July 3, 2020
I can remember a camping trip my family took with the Torres family when I was a young child. Josè and his family slept in a pop-up camper that I thought was the coolest thing I had ever seen! My family slept in a regular old tent, I remember asking my Dad several times after that trip if we could afford one of the cool pop-up tents like the Torres family had! Such wonderful memories of him at the college, in Guanajuato and the visits we took to their home when I was a kid. May God wrap you in his arms and hold you forever!
July 3, 2020
José recruited me to teach at MCC in 1989. One day, the English Department secretary at El Paso Community College (where I was teaching) said I had a call.
"From whom?" I asked.
"A man named José Torres. From Mesa Community College."
"Never heard of either," I told her.
"He insists," she said.
That's all she wrote, as they say.
He insisted I come teach at MCC, sight unseen. Thirty years later, here I am, still trying to do right by his educational mission. He and his lovely wife (and lovely kids) hosted my wife and I when we came out to look for an apartment.
He also insisted I go to México to teach in the summer program. I knew better by then; I said "Yes" before he could finish asking.
Both that trip and being hired at MCC have defined my career over the last thirty years and though many good people have been involved over the years, José's role was always pivotal.
A couple of years ago I had the honor of taking one of his grandsons, Mateo, to México with us on the study abroad trip that he helped found. Right before we left, José called me, asking that I take good care of Mateo. "I will take as much care with him," I told José, "as you have shown me as I have made my way at MCC." He knew we were good. Mateo was a great part of that program (and came back in one piece, as promised).
It has been a pleasure and an honor for me to have worked with José and to have gotten to know him and his lovely family.
From all of us Herreras, our deepest sympathy and condolences to Terry and their children.