Bruna Almaraz and her family

CASA GRANDE — Bruna Almaraz of Casa Grande was born in Coahuila, Mexico, in 1917. This month, she celebrates her 104th birthday, making her one of the oldest residents in Pinal County.

“She still loves cooking for her family and planting in the garden,” said her granddaughter Monica Rodriguez.

Almaraz married her husband, Miguel Almaraz, in Mexico in 1933. The couple lived in Mexico, then Texas, for several years before moving to Casa Grande in 1949.

They spent many years laboring as farmworkers in Casa Grande, Maricopa and Stanfield.

“For many years, my grandmother made tamales for a restaurant in Casa Grande,” Rodriguez said. “She did that for a long time. People loved her tamales.”

A few years after arriving in Pinal County, the Almaraz family purchased 10 acres in southwest Casa Grande, where Bruna still lives today.

The couple raised 13 children: Maria Candelaria Almaraz, Maria Antonia Hernandez, Miguel Amaraz Jr., Rafael Almaraz, Francisca Villa, Jose Luis Almaraz, Jesus Almaraz, Maria Juanita Almaraz, Theresa Johnson, Guadalupe Castro, Robert Almaraz, Brunilda Fleming and Arturo Almaraz.

Several of the Almaraz children served in the U.S. military, including several in Vietnam.

The couple has 30 grandchildren, including a grandson who served in the military in Operation Desert Storm and another who did a tour of duty in Iraq.

They have 40 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

Rodriguez said Almaraz enjoys spending time with her family and church members as well as doting on her pet Chihuahuas.

She will celebrate her birthday with family and friends.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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