George Redondo Proctor (1918-2015)

George R Proctor - Madera Canyon Ranch 1945

George Proctor – Madera Canyon Ranch before WWII

George Redondo Proctor was born March 1918 in Tucson, AZ. He lived at the Proctor ranch near Madera Canyon and went to school at Continental. After Continental school, he went to Tucson High School (’38) and graduated from the University of Arizona with degree in Agriculture (’46).

When cattle were not selling during the depression, George and family would find alternatives. They had a copper mescal still and would sell to locals. A young George became the delivery boy and was told where to go and pick up the cash. It was a trendy thing to do as there were a handful of stills in the Santa Ritas at that time. The Proctor copper still and related materials are on display at the Historic Canoa Ranch.

George recalls the extraordinary times on their ranch:

As I look back, it is hard for me imagine how we survived. One incident I remember very vividly was when Charlie and I were in the corral when a steer took after Charlie, my older brother, and roughed him up rather badly. The steer had run a horn through his pants and punctured his leg just below the groin, the flesh had squeezed through the skin. I was not in school yet, so I must have been about five years old. I looked up into my brothers’ face – he was changing completion and probably going into shock from the steers manhandling. No one had to tell me to get out very cool and industrious mother. I took off, after hearing my story, she got some clean white cloth and a gallon can of kerosene oil and hurried to Charlie. He was stretched out leaning against a rock, I watched Mother as she examined the wound. She shook her head as she look at me and asked me to pour kerosene oil on her hand for she had no time to wash her hands. I then poured oil on the wound as she gently pushed the flesh back in. As she applied pressure a piece of cloth. Mother proceeded to wrap the cloth around the leg. When she finished she poured more oil on the wrapped wound, reassured Charlie and walked him home. My brother received no other treatment and recovered very nicely. That steer, I believe, taught him a lesson – he always respected the horns on any animal. [1]

A few ranchers in the area, like his Dad (Charles R) and uncle (Henry P) assisted with the Santa Rita Experimental Range, a rangeland research facility established in 1903. The goal was to provide better management of the land; grazing practices, watershed studies and vegetation management. The family could see changes in the environment. George says, “My granddad and dad cut native grass as late as 1913. Later much of the area would hardly feed a jack rabbit with the encroachment of cactus, burro weed and mesquite.” He was dedicated to the land and a skilled horsemen riding through the country. As a teenager there was a wildfire in the Santa Ritas and he hoped to get a free meal from the Forest Service. He got his meal but it was hard work. It made an impression on him as he would later work for the Forest Service for 33 years.

George Proctor Forest Ranger

George Proctor Forest Ranger

In 1941, George scouted a trail in the Santa Ritas for the Forest Service (Kent Springs to Pine Pass). His studies at the University of Arizona were postponed due to WWII. He fought in New Guinea and the Philippines, earning a Purple Heart and Legion of Merit. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1948 [1946] and worked in Mexico on the Hoof & Mouth Disease program with his brother, Robert L. [2]

George married Norma Burch November 1946 in Nogales, AZ and had five children. He climbed up the Forest Service ranks served as supervisor to the Apache National Forest in Arizona, Cibola National Forest and Carson National Forest in New Mexico. He retired in 1976 as the Assistant Regional Forester for the SW Region. George moved to Patagonia, AZ but retirement did not slow down George as one of his feats was hiking the Grand Canyon at age 90.

Books, articles, museum; he had stories to tell. George was a wealth of knowledge in Southern Arizona history and folklore. He passed away April 2015.

George Proctor’s book A Profile for Survival can be purchased at the Historic Canoa Ranch.

[1] Proctor, George R. A Profile for Survival. Arizona. 2008.

[2] Russell, Frances K. Range Magazine: A Survivor’s Story, Winter 2010.


Family Line