Tundre, Joseph Frank, 1883-1968

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Joseph Tondre. Part of the Joseph Frank Tondre Pictorial Collection (PICT 000-510).

Joseph Frank Tondre, politician and businessman, was born February 26, 1883, in Isleta Pueblo, just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. His grandfathers on both sides emigrated from France, Vincent Mellecker becoming a citizen of the United States in 1858 and Joseph Frank Tondre I, in 1856.

Joseph Tondre's formal education consisted of a smattering of learning in Spanish, in a little class in Los Lentes and three years with the Catholic Brothers at St. Michael's School in Santa Fe. In a real sense, Tondre was a self-educated man; he could speak five lauguages --- Tewa, English, Spanish, Franch and German.

Tondre spent virtually all his life within a few miles of his birthplace. When in his teens he was a telegrapher, worked in steel mills, then he worked for Simon Neustadt Company, which he was associated with for almost forty years.

In the 1920's, Joseph Tondre began his longtime political career, He was elected as Valencia County Sheriff serving 1921 - 1924 and elected again, 1941 - 1942.

Under Presidents Coolidge and Hoover, Tondre was appointed United States Marshall for New Mexico serving eight consecutive years, 1926 - 1933.

In 1951 - 1952, he was appointed as the State Penitentiary Warden by Governor Edwin L. Mechem. During this period he paid great attention to improvement of prison conditions.

As a public figure, Joseph Tondre drew attention as Republican candidate for governor in the campaign of 1942, but lost his bid by less than 10,000 votes to John J. Dempsey, Democrat. He also ran on the Republican ticket for Lieutenant Governor in 1938. Tondre was a longtime Republican Chairman in Valencia County and served off and on as a member of the County and the Los Lunas consolidated district boards of education.

Joseph Tondre married Ruth Powers of Las Vegas, New Mexico. They have one son and four daughters. He died on February 3, 1968.

From the guide to the Joseph Frank Tondre Papers, 1882-1978, (University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Joseph Frank Tondre Papers, 1882-1978 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bratton, Sam Gilbert, 1888-1963 person
associatedWith Cutting, Bronson M., 1888-1935 person
associatedWith Dempsey, John J., d. 1958 person
associatedWith Mechem, Edwin L., 1912- person
associatedWith New Mexico State Penitentiary corporateBody
associatedWith Republican Party (N.M.) corporateBody
associatedWith Tondre, Joseph Frank, 1883-1968 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Los Lunas (N.M.)
Valencia County (N.M.)
New Mexico Politics and government
Prison wardens New Mexico


Birth 1883

Death 1968

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