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Baja Arizona 'founder' Hugh Holub dies

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Baja Arizona 'founder' Hugh Holub dies

  • Hugh Holub, with daughters Annie and Beth, in December
    courtesy Annie HolubHugh Holub, with daughters Annie and Beth, in December
  • from Holub's Facebook page
  • Holub performs at a Tucson Press Club Gridiron show, circa 1980.
    courtesy Annie HolubHolub performs at a Tucson Press Club Gridiron show, circa 1980.

The father of the tongue-in-cheek push for Southern Arizona statehood, Hugh Holub, died Monday morning.

Holub died from complications following a three-week bout with pneumonia, said his daughter, Annie Holub.

"He had been fighting courageously, the cowboy way," Annie posted on Facebook.

Holub was 65.

Holub, at various times a lawyer, Nogales public works director and journalist, was also the publisher of the satirical journal The Frumious Bandersnatch and a long-time proponent of Southern Arizona forming its own state.

A University of Arizona graduate, Holub began his career as a reporter for the Tucson Citizen in 1967, a job he was eventually fired from "due to a 'lack of a proper sense of immediacy' which prompted him to enroll in law school, where immediacy is not a virtue," he wrote on his staff biography on the Bandersnatch website.

During his career as a water and environmental attorney, and then city attorney and public works director for Nogales, Holub still occasionally put out an issue of the Frumious Bandersnatch, which he'd founded in 1965 while at the UA.

Under the slogan "there might be hardly any facts here-but occasionally some truth," Holub presented his unique take on local and national politics, eventually moving the publication online.

It was in the yellow pages of the underground, anti-war Bandersnatch that Holub first developed the Baja Arizona plan in the 1960s—the idea that Southern Arizona should form its own state.

In the late 1980s, after the election of Gov. Evan Mecham, Holub even printed up "Baja Arizona" bumper stickers.

Holub was also noted for his advocacy work on behalf of the endangered Santa Cruz sand trout.

Not all of his pursuits were as quixotic.

Holub, who made his home in Tubac, was deeply involved in water management issues in Southern Arizona.

"Most recently he negotiated a precedent-setting agreement between a group of residential well owners in Sahuarita, Arizona and Rosemont Copper Company providing protection for neighboring wells. Existing state law provided no protection to neighboring wells from proposed groundwater pumping by the mining corporation," his website said.

"I'd just like people to remember the incredible amount of work he did to procure CAP water for Tucson and to end the craziness around the border," Annie Holub said.

"My dad always had an idea brewing and was always working to get things done to make things better for regular people," she said via email Monday.

"Tucson and really all of Southern Arizona would be a much different place without him—we'd still have grass in every front yard and street median, no water in the aquifer, 4th of July fireworks shot from the football stadium, and a lot less attention being paid to the border," she said.

Holub's career also included a stint interning with U.S. Rep. Morris Udall and work for the offices of the Tucson city attorney and the Pima County attorney under Dennis DeConcini.

Holub never gave up the writing bug, contributing to, Inside Tucson Business, the Nogales International and, among others, while still posting on the Frumious Bandersnatch website.

He is survived by wife Nancy Valentine; daughters Annie and Beth Holub; and sisters Stella Bay, Maxine Holub, and Harriet Parish.

A celebration of Holub's life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Annie Holub said.

A Celebration of the Life of Hugh Holub

  • Saturday, 4-7 p.m.
  • Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

From Hugh's daughters, Annie and Beth:

Please join us in remembering the life and accomplishments of Hugh Holub. We're asking for people to share their memories through words and music. There will be an open mic for stories and performances.

If you are unable to make this celebration in person, you can submit written remembrances that will shared at the event. Email

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to an organization Hugh supported and believed in:

Tubac Historical Society: If anyone would like to honor his memory with a gift to Save the Presidio, checks made out to Save the Presidio with Hugh's name in the memo line could be sent to Post Office Box 3261, Tubac, AZ 85646.

People may donate online at by clicking the "Donate Now" button on the right side of the screen. They should enter the words "In honor of Hugh Holub" in the Special Instructions box.

Friends of the Santa Cruz River: Checks can be made out to FOSCR and mailed to P.O. Box 4275, Tubac, AZ 85646.

Anza Trail Coalition: Consider becoming a member or making a donation in Hugh's name:

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