Remembering Rose Mofford

Yesterday, Arizona said goodbye to former Governor Rose Mofford, so we’ve been spending time with some of our favorite materials related to her long career of service here in Arizona. Stop by and see some of the treasures we have on display here at the archives, including Mofford’s 7th grade yearbook in Globe.

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“Sat., 30 Sep. 1978 – Arizona Secretary of State Rose Mofford takes a turn on the serving line at Hays Ranch, Peeples Valley, Ariz. – during 45th Annual Yavapai Cattle Growers calf sale and barbecue.” Lloyd Clark Collection, MG 86, Series 1, Box 11, File 69, Image 057.

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One of Rose Mofford’s legendary holiday cards.

Rose Perica was born in Globe, Arizona on June 10, 1922, the youngest of six children of Croation immigrants Frances (Oberstar) and John Perica. She attended Globe High School, and exceled both academically and athletically. Rose played basketball and softball, including earning  All-American status as a member of the Arizona Cantaloupe Queens, and turned down a contract to play basketball.

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She married Lefty Mofford in 1957, and although the couple divorced ten years later, they remained friends and she kept his surname. She never remarried, never had children, but dedicated her life to civil service in Arizona for more than 50 years. After high school, she began working as a secretary for the State Treasurer, and later as business manager for Arizona Highways. She was appointed Secretary of State in 1977 following the resignation of Raul Castro and Wesley Bolin’s subsequent appointment as governor, and was elected to a full term in 1978. She served as Secretary of State until 1988, when she was elected as Arizona’s first female governor.  A Democrat, she served as Governor from 1988 until 1991, and did not seek re-election.
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After leaving public office, Rose Mofford continued to dedicate herself to civic and charitable activities. She passed away on September 15, 2016 at the age of 94. She is remembered for her beehive hairdo, for answering her own phone, and for having a “heart as big as her hair.”

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