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Rudolph Negrete

Topeka settler, World War I veteran. Born: July 27, 1896, Penjamo, Mexico. Married: Natalia Alonzo, September 16, 1931. Died: October 15, 1983, Topeka, Kansas.

Rudolph Negrete was born in Penjamo, Guanajuato, Mexico, on July 27, 1896. He came to America in February 1909. After first moving to Horton, he settled in the East Topeka area of Oakland and began working for Santa Fe Railway in 1915. He started as a track laborer eventually becoming a carman’s helper, and then a carman at the Santa Fe Railway shops. He worked for Santa Fe for 50 years until his retirement on July 22, 1965.

Rudy volunteered for service in the armed forces in World War I. He served in the 360th Infantry Regiment of the 90th Division. He fought in the battles of Viller-en-Haye, Puvenelle, St. Mihiel, and Meus Argonne, and volunteered to support peace efforts in Russia after the Armistice. Negrete returned to America in 1919. He was a recipient of the Gold War Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, sergeant’s chevrons, and the French Croix-de-Guerre. He became a naturalized citizen in 1921.

On September 16, 1931, Negrete married Natalia Alonzo, who had been born in Leon, Mexico, and moved to Topeka in 1923. They had five daughters and four sons. Family was important to Negrete, who believed in the American dream and instilled the importance of hard work in his nine children. Negrete donated a U.S. Savings bond to cover the cost of construction at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Oakland. He was a member of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Topeka, and numerous organizations such as Capitol Post No. 1 of American Legion, Philip Billard Post No. 1650 of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Railway Carmen of America Local Union No. 857. He served on a Republican advisory committee. One of his hobbies was crossbreeding tulips, which led to with the creation of an all-black tulip. He enjoyed reading different genres of books, including mysteries, Westerns, histories, politics, and plant genetics.

Negrete died October 15, 1983, at the age of 87 in Topeka, Kansas.

Entry: Negrete, Rudolph

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2016

Date Modified: July 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.