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Henry (Hank) Cartwright (89) passed away of natural causes on April 27, 2021 at Banner Baywood Hospital in Mesa. His children were both by his side.
Hank was born in Ray, Arizona on October 16, 1931, the middle son of John and Minnie Cartwright, who were also blessed with four daughters. Hank resided in Arizona his entire life, spending his younger, wilder years raising Hell in Coolidge, Winslow, Ray and Superior. With his father and mother busy operating businesses which ranged from restaurants to retail stores much of the responsibility of raising Hank fell to his older sister Catherine with whom he always had a very special bond. The job of raising younger brother, Jack, however, fell largely to Hank. Jack and Hank developed a deep and lasting friendship with each other and with their sister Betty, who was often part of their adventures.
At the tender age of 18 while skating at an outdoor roller rink near the Galloping Goose in Coolidge he spied a young lady with whom he fell in love at first sight. Her name was Doris Harmon and she was from the neighboring town of Valley Farms. That was the beginning of a beautiful, life-long love affair that would last almost 70 years. They married in 1950 and had two children, Michael in 1951 and Marcia in 1954.
While in Coolidge and later in Winslow Hank did all kinds of jobs. He worked at a bottling plant, helped his father with construction projects, assisted with farming and ranching, drove, loaded and unloaded delivery trucks and whatever other work he could find. Some say he developed his incredible physical strength by doing these jobs. As just one example, he could single-handedly load a 500 pound bale of cotton onto the back of a flatbed truck and frequently did so during picking season. Everyone worked hard and when the sun went down they played hard. When field hands came into town to unwind after a long day at work, there was frequently trouble. Fistfights were a nightly occurrence and knives and guns were frequently brandished. These were rough times involving the toughest of men. In 1954 he landed a job as a copper miner in Ray where he became a heavy equipment operator. Marcia was born there the same year he hired on with the Kennecott Copper. For the next 38 years he worked his hands to the bone in that hot, dusty mine literally moving mountains to provide for his family and slowly worked his way up the ranks to become a Senior Mining Operations Foreman. Hank never complained. He was the best role model a son or daughter could ask for. After retiring in 1992 he relocated to Apache Junction where he lived for the rest of his life.
Hank feared no man. He never went looking for trouble. However, when trouble found him, which was frequently the case in the rough and tumble towns in which he lived and worked, the situation was usually settled by a single blow or sometimes two from his mighty hands. No man dared to challenge him twice. Some called him “The Baddest (Expletive Deleted) in the Valley.” But most of us knew him simply as father, friend, coworker, relative or neighbor. A man who could tell a story and make you laugh until your sides hurt; a man who loved people; a fair man with a friendly smile, a man who did business with a handshake, a man who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it; a real person and a real man in the truest sense of the word.
Hank is preceded in death by his wife (Doris,) his parents (John and Minnie,) four sisters (Bernice, Catherine, Helen & Betty,) brother (Junior) and a set of twin siblings who died as infants. He is survived by his brother (Jack,) son (Michael,) daughter (Marcia,) two grandsons (Michael & Steven,) and five great grandchildren (Meghan, Shannon, Christian, Nathan & Karah.
No formal services are planned. Hank let it be known that he did not want a bunch of people looking at him in his weakness or “blubbering, bawling or applauding over his grave.” He and wife Doris will eventually be laid to rest at Mountain View Mausoleum in Mesa at which time the family envisions holding a celebration of their lives. Details to follow.