Artist's Legacy Will Live On

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Payson lost a wonderful citizen and I lost a wonderful friend when God took Hugo DiZinno home to be with his beloved Maria.

Hugo was not only an artist of note but before that, a sculptor, and he left his legacy in the Wildland Firefighter Memorial that stands guard over the Rim Country Museum, where Hugo also donated much of his time and talent.

In 1990, in the wake of the devastating fire that came close to Payson and took six lives, then Mayor Craig Swartwood felt a memorial to all those who had lost their lives fighting forest fires would be a reminder of how fortunate we, in Payson, are to have those dedicated people. Mayor Swartwood commissioned me to erect a memorial. We placed a rock monument, which would eventually hold the statue of the Wildland Firefighter, in 1990. Then, through good fortune, we found a local sculptor who donated his time and talent and only asked for foundry fees. Hugo was involved from the beginning of placing the rock monument to the end, sculpting along with Craig Lynch, to complete the statue so that it could be dedicated while the devastating fire was still in the minds of Paysonites. Hugo was always looking after my interests. Through the efforts of a great many people, the memorial was finally completed with a parade and dedication ceremony May 7, 1994, up in time to remember the fallen heroes of June 26, 1990, and those who had come before, and Hugo was there for everyone the whole time, in the background, taking no credit. What a legacy he did leave along with his beautiful art work.

God take care of you, good friend. We shall miss you.

Ruth Craig, Payson

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