Longtime businessman Richard R. Mariscal, who managed Micha’s restaurant in South Tucson for 30 years, died Tuesday. He was 64.
Mariscal had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, said Alex Granillo, his brother-in-law. “He died at home in hospice and was surrounded by his family,” said Granillo.
Mariscal learned the restaurant business at the family’s popular Mexican food eatery — founded by his parents, the late Gilbert and Artemisa Mariscal, in 1976 at 2908 S. Fourth Ave.
It was a small one-room diner with stools at a counter and booths along a back wall, and it served Mexican dishes, American breakfasts and daily lunch specials. Potted flowering plants and vines, along with niches filled with statues of saints and the Christ child, gave the restaurant a homey feeling.
Over the decades it was renovated — projects Mariscal was involved in — and now is 6,500 square feet with five separate dining areas and more than 40 employees.
It is an anchor among the popular South Fourth Avenue restaurants.
Richard Mariscal and his family taught workers and helped them when they moved on to open other businesses in the area, said Rigoberto Lopez, owner of nearby Rigo’s restaurant.
“I worked alongside Richard for about 10 years,” Lopez said. “He was my teacher. I began as a dishwasher, and then a line cook, cook, head of the kitchen, catering and also helped manage the restaurant.”
“Richard was a fine, fine man and it was a privilege and honor working for him,” Lopez said. “So many of us are in shock. I can’t bring myself to walk inside the restaurant to pay my respects. It is so difficult.”
Mariscal had a “special place in his heart for the city of South Tucson. He loved the city for its support, and he loved the children of the community. He was genuine,” said Granillo.
“He quietly helped families in need, and helped families with benefits to raise money for loved ones suffering from cancer,” he added.
He also managed and sponsored youth baseball teams for decades, including the Tucson Yankees Youth Baseball Traveling Team. He taught teens to be role models for younger children, Granillo said.
Baseball player Pablo Rosthenhausler remembered Mariscal from the late 1960s. “I played on his fast-pitch softball team in the late ’70s, and early ’80s,” he recalled. “After practice or games, we would go to his family’s restaurant.
“Richard also coached a kids team and he provided uniforms, equipment and fed the boys at the restaurant. He gave to children in need,” recalled Rosthenhausler.
Mariscal, a drummer, also loved music and played with his band, December’s Children, at engagements throughout Tucson for decades, including at the quinceañera of his daughter Adriana, said Granillo.
Mariscal is survived by his wife, Lorraine; daughters Adriana and Natalie; sons Richard and Rick; three grandchildren; four siblings; and numerous other relatives.
Visitation will be Tuesday at Martinez Funeral Chapels, 2580 S. Sixth Ave., from 5 to 9 p.m. A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. A 9 a.m. funeral Mass is set for Wednesday at St. Margaret Catholic Church, 801 N. Grande Ave. Burial will follow at Holy Hope Cemetery, 3535 N. Oracle Road.