40 YEARS OF STORIES

The Town of Marana celebrates 40 years of incorporation in 2017. In honor of this milestone, we want to feature YOU! Are you a citizen or business owner in Marana and want to share your story? Tell us all about it. We'll share your story in 2017 as we celebrate 40 years as a Town together. 

Don't know what to share? Here's some inspiration:

  • A life-changing event
  • A fun adventure you had
  • A moment you learned something
  • Your greatest accomplishment
  • What you love about your community
  • A project you're working on
  • You greatest wish
  • Anything you can think of!

MARANA STORIES

Note: Stories have been edited for clarification.

This past summer, I went to New York City to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. I go to Marana High School, and the character I brought to New York for my Broadway debut was "Aida." I performed on the Minskoff stage, which is the same stage that The Lion King performs on. I was given the pleasure and opportunity to work with several Broadway professionals, some of whom are even on Broadway right now! This is something I'm very proud of because I went representing my town and my school. My town is part of who I am, and where I come from.

- Sarah Chico, age 17

I was born in 1965 in Arizona. I graduated high school in 1983. I married in 1984. We had our first baby in 1985. My husband and son are also Arizona natives. We bought our first house in Arizona for our 10th anniversary in 1994. We moved out of state in 2002, but moved back in 2011. We bought our house in Dove Mountain in 2011. Our oldest son and his family moved back to Arizona in 2013. Our two children and three children go to school in Marana. We paid off our house in 2015. Husband retired in 2015. We are debt free, and loving life here in Marana.

- Shelly Allen-Tucker, age 50

My Aunt Denise lived in Marana and lost her home to the flooding. After the water started to subside, all of us kids would go down to the river and play on the side of the banks. We would dig holes and tunnels, just being kids. My best friend's brother, Ricky, had a disability, and he played with us once in a while. One day, all of us kids were playing down in the river, but we did not notice him playing with us. The bank was so soft from the flood. His parents started looking for him, and realized that the side of the river had collapsed. They started digging. Everyone was praying and hoping that it was not what they thought it was. My stepdad was the one who dug in the spot where they found him. It was a truly heartbreaking moment. I will never forget the 1983 flood. It changed my life and many others. It was a true testament of what nature could do.

- Terry Shafer, age 43

Excerpt from The Marana News, December 2014: Marana Resident Rhonda Banuelos used to live in Hawaii. Though she moved back to the mainland, she has always kept the "aloha way" of treating your neighbors like friends and caring for your community. Now, she is passing along that way of life in her children's books. "The Adventures of Hayley Cat" stars a cat named Hayley who goes around the island, meeting and making new friends. As it was meant to be, [Banuelos] overheard an acquaintance telling friends how she wanted to illustrate for a children's book. That person happened to be Picture Rocks resident Mary Ann Holley, who was interested in doing images with silk paintings. Holly really enjoyed the challenge and the learning that came along with it while working with Banuelos. Their children's book "The Adventures of Hayley Cat" are available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.

- Rhonda Banuelos

I love our small town feel, our gorgeous desert sunsets, and the many diverse families you see sharing in laughter at community parks that surround our neighborhoods. Marana is a unique town filled with compassionate people, and an ever-growing population. My wish for Marana is for us to continue growing and nurturing our strong sense of community. I am an early education consultant that presents locally and nationally on improving the quality of environments for young children to spend their time in. I firmly believe that children are capable of far more than most of us can imagine, and when given ample opportunity to think deeply and creatively, they exceed our expectations. Our children are our future and in Marana we value our next generation of compassionate and innovative thinkers.

- Amber Jones, age 34

We have lived in the Marana area since 2000. When we were Sunday school leaders in 2004, we met a young boy named Clay. Clay was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Clay went to heaven at 3 years of age. This was our first experience with childhood cancer. Several years later in 2013, I heard about an organization called St. Baldrick's. They raised funds for cancer research in kids and young adults. I talked with my boys about it. St. Baldrick's was coming to town for Coaches United Against Cancer in 2014. At these events, participants raise funds "on their heads", and go bald. The reason we go bald is to stand with those who have lost their hair during cancer treatment. My boys worked hard recruiting friends to join them. Our first year, we honored Cooper and Matthew. We became good friends with our honored kids. Matthew lost his battle and went to heaven in December 2014. We created our own event, called St. Baldrick's Northwest Tucson, and held it at Quail Run Elementary in March 2015 and 2016. Our event has grown every year, and our 3rd event will be held on March 10, 2017 at Mountain View High School. Cancer is the number 1 disease killer of kids and young adults in the US. Every 2 minutes, a child/young adult is diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Help us make a difference. Please join us.

- Chris Dow, age 47

I was born at Tucson Medical Center, and raised in Marana. I graduated from Marana High School in 2013, and the amazing education I received at Twin Peaks Elementary School, Marana Middle School, and Marana High School helped me to win a scholarship to Northern Arizona University. I am currently a double science major, and I work as a TA. My hometown has helped me be successful in an academic environment, and I will always be grateful. I love my hometown!

- Rachel Linker, age 21

Integrity Automotive became a small business in Marana 10 years ago. As a family-owned business, we are all about our Marana and northwest area community. Co-owner Julee Baxley started High Heels for Hope Charity. The charity donates over $5,000.00 each year in our community with Adopt-A-Family, and helping families in need in the Marana School District. Many businesswomen have joined her, and 100% of funds raised are donated right back into our community. The Town of Marana has been creating an environment of growth for families and businesses for years. We look forward to another 10 years.

- Julee Baxley, age 58

I am writing this on behalf of my amazing parents, Clay and Karen Parsons, who have been in Marana for as long as it has been a town- if not longer! My mother, Karen (Horton) Parsons, was born here and raised by Jack and Judy Horton. Jack Horton wore many hats around Marana, including Sheriff as well as the long running owner of the Napa Auto Parts. My father, Clay, moved to Marana at a very young age, and grew up in a ranching and rodeo family. My parents have the most amazing love story. They began dating at Marana Junior High and dated all throughout high school, where Clay played sports and Karen was a cheerleader. Clay graduated one year before Karen (class of 1979), so they got married in July of 1980, two months after she graduated. They have now been married for 36 years, and raised 4 kids right in Marana on Kirby Hughes Road, surrounded by cattle and cotton fields. Four of us kids went to Estes Elementary, Marana Junior High, and then Marana High School. Our parents instilled in us the importance of knowing where you came from, and having pride in where you grew up. My parents own and operate Marana Stockyards, where they not only sell cattle, but also provide an abundant amount of jobs to others there in Marana. My younger brother, Clay Buck, has upheld the family tradition, and he also works there. All four of us kids went on and graduated from college - 2 from University of Arizona, and 2 from Arizona State University, yet Marana is what we know and what we love. I feel my parents are a staple in the Marana community, and it comes from a long lineage to their parents who were also a big part of the community.

- Clay Parsons, age 55

In September, I visited the Tucson region for the first time. I've been scouting locations to relocate to since 2012 - Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver. When I visited Dove Mountain in Marana, it felt like a homecoming. That had not happened in any other city I've visited, not even the cities I've spent a great deal of my life in. I returned in December to sign a purchase contract for my new home on Dove Mountain. God willing, I will close in May 2017! It's very memorable and nice that my new hometown is also celebrating a milestone this year! I'm looking forward to joining the Marana community! 

- La Shawnda, age 40