Baja Arizona 'founder' Hugh Holub dies
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 TucsonSentinel.com, Inside Tucson Business, the Nogales International and TucsonCitizen.com, 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.