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Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Dies

The former chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation has died.

The death of Augustine B. Lopez Sr. was announced Friday by his southern Arizona Tribe.

Neither Lopez’s age nor cause of death was released, but a short bio was made public by tribal officials.

Lopez served as Tohono O'odham Nation chairman from 1971 to 1973. Tribal officials say he was an Air Force veteran who later worked as a cowboy, rancher and an irrigator. Lopez went on serve as director of the tribe's work experience program and established its property and supply department.

Officials say Lopez will be remembered as a “stern funnyman” who was always helping people — and always busy. He played many instruments and spent years coaching little league.

Lopez is survived by his wife Ida and his six children. He and Ida had recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. Lopez’s funeral is scheduled for Monday with burial on Tuesday.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.