Old Ned

Arizona Historymakers™

Arizona Historical Society

Frank M. Barrios

1942 - 2023

Honored as Historymaker 2023

Master Storyteller, Social Activist, Water Conservationist

Oral History Transcript:

Video by Carey Pena of Inspired Media 360, for the Historical League; videographer Leonardo Buono.

The past and the present flow seamlessly through the story of Frank M. Barrios. Renowned as a master storyteller dedicated to preserving the past, preserving water--the lifeblood of the desert--was his life's work as a civil engineer. He was born in Phoenix in 1942. The family was well off but that did not prevent Mr. Barrios from suffering from racial discrimination.  His stories focus on the contribution of Mexican Americans to Phoenix's early development and into today. He graduated from ASU with a degree in civil engineering and over a 30-year career,  he worked on flood control, the Central Arizona Project (CAP),  and held policy-making positions on the Arizona Department of Water Resources; after retirement he served three years on the CAP Board of Directors. Also upon retirement he became instrumental in social issues involving Mexican Americans and the homeless through St. Vincent de Paul. He has been honored with the Hon-Kachina Award for Volunteer Service and named an American Culture Keeper.