Brothers to the End

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The Midvale Buddies

The Midvale Buddies

By Henry Howard

Apr 20, 2018

Midvale, Utah, still remembers a heartbreaking 16-day stretch in 1967 when three families lost their sons in the Vietnam War. Frank “LeRoy” Tafoya, John “Jimmy” Martinez and Tom Gonzales lived near each other on successive streets in the small city outside Salt Lake City.

They grew up together. They went to school together. They played sports together.

And in their families’ darkest hour, their community came together.

Mourners overflowed the local Catholic parish for funerals for Jimmy and Tom. At LeRoy’s funeral, Latter-day Saints followers packed a wardhouse.

“Everyone was in mourning,” says Martinez’s  sister, Bea. “It was one after another after another. It was a tough thing. Everybody remembers it.”

Amadeo “Eloy” Romero attended the funerals of all three men. He was Jimmy’s cousin and a close friend of LeRoy.

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