John R. Ornelas Sr.

March 8, 1925April 17, 2014
Play Tribute Movie

John R. Ornelas (1925 - 2014)

John Ramirez Ornelas Sr., 89, of Somerton, AZ, left his family early morning on Thursday, April 17, 2014. He was born on March 8, 1925 in Somerton, AZ. John was a WWII veteran stationed in Belgium during the 1940's and later retired as a truck driver for Bruce Church, Inc. He had a love for music, being with his family, having fun with friends, and telling stories about the past.

John touched the lives of many people with his smile and generosity, and maintained his trademark sense of care and humor all the way to the end. He enjoyed watching baseball, reading the paper, and spending time with his dog Mickey.

John is survived by his wife, Luz Ornelas of Somerton; daughters, Rose Medina of Somerton, Isabel Blair of Louisville, KY, Grace Molina of Brownsville, TX, Nellie Tafolla of Brownsville, TX, Cleo Avila of Phoenix, AZ, Annie Ortiz of Phoenix, AZ, and Veronica Franco of Phoenix, AZ; sons, Hugo Busane-Ornelas of Yuma and Danny Ornelas of Yuma; 38 grandchildren; and 58 great grandchildren along with countless other friends and family whom were blessed to know him. John was preceded in death by his parents, Porfirio and Anita Ornelas; as well as his son, John Ornelas Jr.

Friends and family are invited to attend the visitation scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 and Rosary will follow at 7:00 p.m. at Johnson Mortuary, 1415 S. 1st Avenue, Yuma. A Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at St. Francis Catholic Church, 1815 S. 8th Avenue, Yuma. Final resting place will be at Desert Lawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers: Ethan Christensen, Alex Sevilla, Fred Medina Jr., Hugo Busane-Ornelas, Julian Rodriguez, Issac Rodriguez, Derek Ornelas.

John R. Ornelas's Biography:

If there was ever a person who wanted to heal all the wrongs in the world, it was John Ramirez Ornelas Sr. he was an idealist who sought to bring harmony to those around him. Even though John was enthusiastic and generous, it was sometimes difficult for him to boast about his accomplishments. John had strong personal convictions, making it hard for him to relinquish those ideals he held dearest to himself. John's life motto was always to hope for the best and work hard towards that end, but be prepared for some of life's disappointments. This philosophy was a continual driving force in his life, but it did not extinguish the bright light that defined, something that was always there and that he readily shared with everyone around him.

John was born on March 8, 1925 in Somerton, Arizona. His parents were Porfirio and Anita Ornelas. John was raised in Somerton, Arizona. He was a compassionate person, a quality that he would carry with him throughout his life. Even at a young age, John was sensitive to his parents’ moods and worked hard to please them and live up to their expectations.

Throughout his life, John showed a remarkable ability to build relationships. This was true even with his siblings. John was caring, diplomatic and tolerant of the feelings of those around him. John was raised with four siblings. He had Jose, Tita, Victor and Connie. John was constantly involved in activities with his brothers and sisters. John and his siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up, but they cared deeply for one another.

The desire for romance was always present in John's life. His first wife was Avelina. Later in life John succeeded in finding love for a second time when he exchanged wedding vows with Maria Luz Busane. John cared passionately for Luz. His deep loyalty and a strong commitment to his vows brought a sense of completeness to their marriage.

John was a gentle person who held deep feelings for his children. He enjoyed having fun with his kids and was at times fiercely protective of them. John showed great empathy in his willingness to give every family member a voice in family decisions. He was blessed with 9 children, Rosie, John, Isabel, Grace, Nellie, Cleo, Annie, Hugo, Danny and Veronica. They were also blessed with 38 grandchildren, Lillian, Amanda, Abby, Freddy, Valerie, Michelle, Stephanie, Trisha, Ronnie, Richard, Jesse, Noemi, Sandra, Andrea, James, Joey, Cynthia, Connie, Alex, Gabby, Derek, Monique, Griselda, Alejandra, Hugo Jr., Desiray, Danika, Jayden, Eli, Ethan and Eden. John also leaves behind 58 great-grandchildren.

Blessed with a strong sense of integrity, John was as loyal and committed in his work as he was in the rest of his life. John worked well with fellow employees and showed great cooperation in reaching common goals. Though he had a tendency to take on too many tasks, himself; John showed great patience with complicated situations. He was ingenious and trusted his intuition. For John, the application of logic could be optional, and while that sometimes bothered his co-workers, John always seemed to be able to get the job done. He was most comfortable working on the projects and jobs that he strongly supported. His primary occupation was agricultural truck driver. He was employed for more than 25 years. John always tried to be a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

John was an Army veteran of World War II. He spent over a year during the 1940's stationed in Belgium. John served honorary in the US Army Air Forces during World War II. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of Corporal. John was extremely loyal, and that was a quality that others noticed and appreciated.

John enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. He had a love for music, being with his family, and having fun with friends. He had a gift for telling stories about the past; he would captivate the audience and take everyone back in time. John was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but he was also willing to share his interests with others.

John's tremendous enthusiasm for the activities he enjoyed also influenced the pleasure he drew from sports. John enjoyed watching sports and liked following his favorite team whenever he got the chance to do so. Tops on his list was baseball, the Diamond Backs and he loved to watch boxing as well.

John was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of John's favorites was Mickey a deer Chihuahua. They were best friends for 5 years.

Though John always appeared to be dreaming of greener pastures, he was accepting of retirement when it finally came. Long-range planning skills served him well in preparing for the “golden years.” In retirement, he found new pleasure in spending time at home with his little dog Mickey. Even in retirement, John continued to stay in touch with his old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities that retirement offered him.

John passed away on April 17, 2014 at his home in Somerton, Arizona. He is survived by his wife, Luz Ornelas of the home; his children, Rosie Medina, Grace Molina, Isabel Blair, Nellie Tafolla, Cleo Avila, Annie Ortiz, Hugo Busane-Ornelas, Danny Ornelas and Veronica Franco; 38 grandchildren; and 58 great-grandchildren. The Funeral Mass was held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at St. Francis Catholic Church, John was laid to rest in the Garden of St. Joseph at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Yuma, Arizona.

John Ramirez Ornelas Sr. was someone who was able to see the world as a good and honorable place. He viewed the people who inhabited it as essentially good. A person who tended to see the world in terms of black and white, John tried to focus on the good he saw, knowing that there were times he would have to compromise. He was selfless and deeply committed to all things positive and good. John was a person who would keep his eye on tomorrow and constantly held onto his dreams. He was a very friendly person; everywhere he went he was able to capture people’s hearts. He touched the lives of many with his smile and generosity, and maintained his trademark sense of care and humor all the way to the end. It was this exceptional insight and quiet reserve that emphasized John's trademark qualities for all who knew him and it was one of the many reasons why all who knew him loved John Ramirez Ornelas Sr..


  • Visitation Wednesday, April 23, 2014
  • Recitation of the Holy Rosary Wednesday, April 23, 2014
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, April 24, 2014
  • Commital Service Thursday, April 24, 2014

John R. Ornelas Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted


April 28, 2014

The Yuma Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution recognizes the sacrifices your loved one and family made for the freedom we all share. Thank You and May God Bless your family.

Judy Busane

April 25, 2014

I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful father-in-law. John had a heart of'll be missed.

April 24, 2014

Our deepest condolences to Family Ornelas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this time of need. God Bless you.
Yoly(Ibarra)Ponce and Family.

claudia mallett

April 24, 2014

Danny, prayers to you and your family. We're sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort knowing he's in a better place now.

Sincerely. The Mallett Family. .

April 24, 2014

Rest in peace mr john. love always the garcia family

Jessie Blair & Family

April 24, 2014

No words can express the sorrow I feel for the family right now. The world has lost a good man, but he truely lives on through each and every one of us. Keep strong and although you mourn, you must also celebrate the wonderful life he lived. My family's thoughts and prayers are with my Mom, Isabel, as well as the whole family in this time of need. I really wish I could've been there with all of you, TaTa, I love and miss you. God Bless!

Ray Flores

April 23, 2014

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at the loss of your dad. We have many wonderful memories about your dad and all of you from our Somerton days.

Ray & Christine Flores