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Crusader and Judge, An Oral History
By Lois Gerber Franke

Foreword by Marc Simmons

"Here is the inspiring story, graciously told, of Judge Torres, who, like Don Quixote, refused to settle for life as it was, striving instead for life as it should be." John L. Kessell, Southwestern Historian


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José Francisco Torres was born and raised “up the river” above Trinidad, Colorado and his life spanned from the cowboy days of the late 1800s to the technological era of the late 1900s. Despite the security of his home in the rural Spanish community, there was something lacking: opportunity and respect for his people from the outside world. Early on, he conceived the notion that this was wrong, that he and his people deserved better and, as a child, he felt prompted to do something about it. The question became what and how? Discrimination was everywhere and he had neither money nor support to assist him. But with faith and determination, and to the dismay of his parents, he set out to prove it could be done. Refused entry into law school because of his background, he refused to be stopped by the rejection.

This chronicle of the hardships, gains, setbacks and wins in the life of this man details what he felt and what he accomplished in his lifelong battle against prejudice and for equality. In the process, he lost his first love, battled a deadly disease, crossed with the Ku Klux Klan, gained a law degree, defended the poor and disadvantaged, married his Crusita and reared three children, took on the political establishment, joined every civic good cause that came his way, and became the Honorable J. Frank Torres, “the only honest judge we ever had!”

Lois Gerber Franke was born and reared on an eastern Colorado ranch where she learned to ride, rope and shoot. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has completed studies from other institutions. After college she lived and worked at jobs in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. She married Paul, an engineer, and lived at Grand Lake, Colorado where she learned trout fishing. The family then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she did city planning before settling into a career of teaching high school English and Journalism and coaching the table tennis team. Lois has three grown children and is a compulsive reader who likes horses, dogs, puns, cribbage, lilacs and rainy days. This book springs from her friendship with an intrepid and unforgettable neighbor.

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ISBN: 978-0-86534-589-8
284 pp.,$28.95

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