Raymond William “Bill” Bedoya was born in Liberty Arizona on October 24, 1926, to Ysmael Leon Bedoya and Carmen Maria Ann Velasco Bedoya. He was the youngest out of 8 children. In 1922 his family moved from Caborca, Caborca Municipality, Sonora Mexico to the Liberty area where he was born. His family also lived in Ajo Arizona for a brief time before moving to his first home in Avondale next to the Blacksmith shop on Western Avenue. He has vivid memories of growing up in Coldwater aka Avondale. As a young boy he met the West Valley legend Billy Moore and remembered when the Agua Fria River had a steady stream of Agua Fria – “Coldwater”.
Bill attended Avondale Elementary School where he completed the 8th grade. He remembers playing on the boys’ basketball team in the school Gymnasium. As a young boy, he earned spending money by shining shoes in front of the dance hall on South 6th Street and working in the fields picking cotton and harvesting potatoes. He also worked at the Avondale Market and at Tony Schneider’s Drug Store. He attended and graduated from Litchfield High School where he played varsity baseball; he was one of 22 students in the class of 1944.
He joined the Army Air Corp in 1945 and served in the Philippines for two years until his discharge in 1947. Upon his return to Avondale, he worked as a civilian at the Litchfield Navel Air Facility in Goodyear restoring military aircraft. Bill met Lupe Murillo in 1951 and dated her, but they were always accompanied by a chaperone. Bill and Lupe got married on July 26, 1952, at Saint Mathews Church in Phoenix. Their wedding reception was held at the Avondale Elementary School Gymnasium. Bill and Lupe purchased their first two-bedroom home, on Riley Drive across the street from Agua Fria High School. By 1965 they had four children and needed a larger home and they moved to a home on North 4th Street in Avondale. He was transferred to Luke Air Force Base in 1966 where he worked as a mechanic maintaining and repairing jet engines, including F16 Fighting Falcon. He retired after 20 years of Civil Service.
Bill was an Arizona native and longtime resident of “Coldwater” Avondale. He was always involved and active within the Avondale community – as a volunteer fire chief and 41-year member of the Avondale Volunteer Fire Department and a 20-year member of Avondale’s Planning and Zoning Committee. As a politician he served 2-years as a Councilman and 2 years as vice mayor and was elected Avondale Mayor from 1990 to 1995. As Mayor he traveled to Japan on the Sister City program and to Washington, D.C. Other highlights of his years as Avondale Mayor include the annexation of Phoenix International Raceway and serving as Billy Moore Days Grand Marshall. In 1993 Mayor Bill Bedoya was cleared to claim acceptance in an exclusive and select group to take a civilian flight in a F-16 from Luke Air Force Base. When his political career ended, he was sad and relieved it was hard work and there wasn’t a week where he didn’t put in 40 hours. When asked what his biggest accomplishment as mayor was, he answered witnessing some of the planning and economic development that he and his staff worked on when he was mayor happen. Many of them aren’t here to see how Avondale has grown into a great place to live and work. This is the place where he wanted to be.
Bill was also very active with his church St. John Vianney where he belonged to the Knights of Columbus. This group of men dedicated time and physical labor to building the church hall which was. The Knights of Columbus hosted many fund-raising events which supported many parish activities.
Bill was a loving husband, father, brother-in-law, grandfather, uncle and Nino. Whether it was his stern look on his face; loud voice calling out to you, or him telling us how to do things his way – because it was the only way. He was always there for his family and friends, helping and ready to make whatever was wrong right. He was preceded in death by Lupe his wife of 70 years, his parents Ysmael Leon and Carmen Maria Ann Velasco Bedoya, his brother Ysmael “Ish” and his sisters Luz Brown, Estela ‘Stella’ Beckwith, Rubencia ‘Ruby’, Amelia Swenson, Carmella “Carmie’ Crites, and Juana ‘Celia’ Parker.
Bill leaves behind his children, Richard Bedoya, Diana Pompa, Carol (Frank Laborin) and Daniel Bedoya. He also leaves behind three grandchildren Phillip, Marissa and Nicholas Pompa and five great grandchildren Julian, Luke, Gavin, Isabella and Eliana.
A funeral service will begin at 10am, Tuesday, December 19 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.