Know who’s famous buried in the Mesa Cemetery?

Ken Dyer

ken dyer.jpg       ken dyer2

Birth: Mar. 16, 1946
Ann Arbor
Washtenaw County
Michigan, USA
Death: Mar. 7, 2010
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

Professional Football Player. Born Kenneth James Dyer, he attended Ann Arbor High School in Michigan and played collegiate football at Arizona State University. While with the Sun Devils, he achieved Academic All-American honors twice and led the team in pass-receiving yards in 1966. For parts of three seasons (1968, 1970 to 1971), he played at the defensive back and wide receiver positions in the National Football League with the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals. Selected by San Diego during the 4th round of the 1968 NFL Draft, he appeared in 27 career games. On October 3, 1971 during a game with Cincinnati against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, Dyer suffered a broken neck while attempting to tackle running back John Brockington. The injury ended his playing career and left him with permanent disabilities. Following his football career, he worked in the dry cleaning industry in Arizona. He died from heart failure.


Waylon Arnold Jennings

Waylon Jennings.jpg

Birth: Jun. 15, 1937
Lamb County
Texas, USA
Death: Feb. 13, 2002
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

Country Western Singer. Famed for such hits as “I’m a Ramblin’ Man” and “Good Hearted Woman”, he recorded over 60 albums, and had sixteen Number 1 country singles. Born in Littlefield, Texas, he started his music career at age 12. By 1959 he was playing bass in the back up band for singer Buddy Holly. In early February 1959 he gave up his seat to singer J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson on the plane that carried Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Richardson to their deaths, taking a bus instead. In the 1970s, he teamed up with country singer Willie Nelson on the songs “Mammas Don’t Let your Babies grow up to be Cowboys,” “Luckenbach,” and “Good Hearted Woman.” Many of his early songs had a restless spirit that was used later by Travis Tritt, Charlie Daniels, and others. His resonant voice was used to narrate the television Show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and he sang the theme show’s theme song. He traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and black attire which accented his dark beard and mustache. In his later years, he wore short hair and a trimmed goatee. He won two Grammy awards and four Country Music Association Awards, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2001. In his later years, his health caused him problems, and doctors wanted to amputate his left foot due to problems with his diabetes, however he refused to allow, and this lead ultimately to his death.


Ernesto Arturo Miranda


Birth: Mar. 9, 1941
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA
Death: Jan. 31, 1976
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

American Legal Figure. Born in Mesa, Arizona, after the death of his mother and while still in school, his troubles with the police began. A conviction of burglary while in the 8th grade resulted in incarceration at an Arizona reform school. Quickly upon release another conviction and another term in reform school. A move to Los Angeles resulted in arrests for armed robbery and minor sex offenses and after incarceration deported back to Arizona. A tour in the Army resulted in stockade time at hard labor for AWOL and various sex charges. He was dishonorably discharged. Arrested in Nashville driving a stolen car across state lines, he was sentenced to the federal prison system. Back in Phoenix, Miranda was arrested for armed robbery of a bank employee and the kidnap/rape of an 18 year-old woman. Intensive interrogation by the Phoenix police resulted in obtainment of a written signed confession with a paragraph typed at the top which stated the confession was made with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me. He was convicted solely on the strength of the confession. On appeal, the Supreme Court set down the rule requiring a defendant be advised of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney. Under the new rule, a confession obtained without this warning could not be used at trial. Released, he was re-arrested, “Mirandized” and convicted on the strength of an actual witness without the confession and sentenced to 20 to 30 years on each of the two counts, to be served concurrently. He served eleven years before being paroled. Prologue: After his release, he earned money by selling autographed Miranda Warning cards but continued his criminal life style with numerous arrests for driving offenses which resulted in suspension of driving privileges. Found in the possession of a gun, he was returned to prison for another year. After his release, Miranda spent his time in bars living in cheap hotels. While playing cards at the La Amapola Bar in Phoenix, a violent confrontation occurred. He was mortally wounded with a knife and was pronounced dead on arrival at age 35 at Good Samaritan Hospital. The suspect arrested was read his Miranda rights. Upon release, he absconded to Mexico. The case was closed.


John Jacob Rhodes, II

Birth: Sep. 18, 1916
Council Grove
Morris County
Kansas, USA
Death: Aug. 24, 2003
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

US Congressman. A native of Council Grove, Kansas, Rhodes was born on September 18, 1916. He attended Kansas State College and Harvard Law School in Boston, Massachusets. He served in the United States Army Air Force in World War II, before entering politics in 1952. Elected to represent Arizona’s 1st District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1953 to 1983. Also served as a Charman of the National Convention’s Plat Committee in 1972, Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Arizona in 1964, and Chairman of the GOP National Convention from 1976 to 1980. Along with Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott, he visited President Richard Milhous Nixon at the White House on August 7, 1974, during the height of the Watergate Scandal, and urged him to resign from office, to avoid impeachment. Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. Rhodes was the father of Arizona Congressman John Jacob Rhodes III.


Wilford Parley “Whizzer” White

Birth: Sep. 26, 1928
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA
Death: Aug. 1, 2013
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

Professional Football Player. Born Wilford Parley White, he attended Mesa High School in Arizona and played collegiate football at Arizona State University. During his years with the Sun Devils, he achieved legendary status as he led the nation in both rushing yardage and total yardage in 1950 and earned the distinction as being the first player from Arizona State to accomplish this feat. Additionally, he gained attention in basketball and field and track. Selected by the Chicago Bears during the 3rd round of the 1951 NFL Draft, White at the halfback position complimented a backfield which included John Dottley and Fred Morrison in addition to serving effectively as a punt return specialist under coach George Halas. He retired following the 1952 season as a professional after suffering a knee injury. White was named to the Arizona State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and has been honored by the school, when his uniform number 33 was retired. His Son Danny White followed his father’s path of athletic excellence as he had a highly-accomplished collegiate career at Arizona State and enjoyed a Super Bowl season with the Dallas Cowboys in 1977.


Zedo Ishikawa

zedo ishikawa.jpg

Birth: May 31, 1915
Death: Sep. 22, 1932

He was a football player at Mesa High School. On the eve of the season’s opening game, he was accidently shot as he tried to break up a dog fight in his yard using the butt of the rifle. As the 17 year old was dying, he told his family, “Tell coach to go ahead and play the game tomorrow. Tell the boys to carry on.” “Carry on” became Mesa High’s rally cry.

Mesa News Today – Week of April 4

This week’s issue of Mesa News Today:


Featured Story:
Mesa will convert shuttered Mesa Junior High School into park and recreation center

Mesa will convert the shuttered Mesa Junior High School campus near downtown into a recreation center and park this fall. The Mesa City Council voted Monday to shell out $2.1 million for the first phase of the Eagles Park and Community Center development, which will concentrate on the indoor recreation center.

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