Peñarrubia, home of shepherds, cowboys and immigrants.  A place between mountains enriched by the wisdom of its people and descendants that live in other parts of the world.  Today, it is with great pride that we interview two descendants of Linares-Peñarrubia. Their father, Rafael Caso, “Lito”, as he was affectionately called in Linares, was born in the neighborhood of El Toral in Linares-Peñarrubia.  The son of a humble, hardworking family, Lito immigrated to the United States towards the end of the 1960’s in search of better opportunities.  He arrived in California as a shepherd.  He had his share of bad times during those years.  Soon after, he married Michelle.  Soon their family grew; first Antonio, “Toño” and then Rafael, Jr., “Lito”.  It was then that Rafael, Sr. felt the obligation to quickly change jobs in order to provide a better future for his family.  He went on to work in a variety of jobs; as a sheep foreman, truck driver, ranch foreman, mechanic, etc.  Finally, a rancher.  Not only was this immigrant from Cantabria a great example to his two sons, but both he and his wife Michelle have made it possible for their two sons to become two stars in the United States.  Rafael is a District Attorney in the state of Washington, and Antonio is classified as one of the best surgeons in the world of medicine in the United States.  But let’s have them tell us something about their lives.


Photograph 2006
This is the house where Rafael Caso grew up in Peñarrubia Cantabria.


Doctor Antonio Caso and his wife Jennifer the day of their wedding.


Rafael Caso and his wife Theresa the day of their wedding.


Doctor Antonio Caso and his brother Rafael Caso Disctrict Attorney used to be soccer players.



As Mayor of Peñarrubia, I can only express my most sincere and explicit acknowledgement of the Caso brothers; Mr. Rafael and Dr. Antonio Caso, descendents of Linares, who with their effort and values have reached very high and significant positions in the United States.  Also, it is important to make mention of their parents, Mr. Rafael and Mrs. Michelle Caso, who did not forgo any means to create the proper circumstances necessary to lead their sons to the positions they now hold.  In any case, I, as President of the Municipality of Peñarrubia, would like to take advantage of this opportunity to affirm to the Caso Brothers, Mr. Rafael and Dr. Antonio Caso, that this land, from where you descend, and where you can find your roots, will be proud to receive you and to count on your invaluable presence as soon as your duties permit.  In our home you will find yours.  Your determination, success and hard work are an extraordinary example of commitment for us all.  Congratulations for all you have accomplished.
Mr. Secundino Caso Roiz

Mayor / President of the Municipality of Peñarrubia, Cantabria - Spain



1.   Dr. Caso, you were born in Bishop, California.  What are your best memories of that town?
I remember how hard my mother and father worked on the ranch in Bishop and how much we did together as a family.

2.   Your parents moved to Idaho when you were very young. Do you miss the town where you were born, in Bishop? 
Bishop was a nice place to be from.  I do have a certain amount of nostalgic fondness for Bishop but I think that our move to Idaho  was definitely what was best for our family.

3.   At what stage in your life did you decide you wanted to become a doctor? 
My dad and mom always have told me to study hard and do well in school so that I would be able to choose what ever I wanted to do when the time comes to make that decision.  I always felt like I wanted to do something in healthcare but didn't decide exactly what that was until college.

4.   Why a doctor?  What was it that attracted you the most to this profession? 
I chose to be a surgeon because I have always enjoyed working with my hands and was told I was good at it.  To be able to help people with my hands seemed like a perfect fit.

5.   You are considered one of the best doctors in the state where you practice. Tell us how you felt the first time you performed a surgery?  Were you nervous?
I am always a bit nervous for any surgery.  The first surgical procedure I did (other than the animals on the ranch) was certainly to a greater degree.  The responsibility of caring for someone is extremely heavy.  I am blessed to have been very well trained at a great surgical residency and that helps your confidence to perform immensely.

6.   Changing topics, we know your father if from Spain, a little town in Cantabria by the name of Linares-Penarrubia.  As you and I know, your father had a different career, "probably" not by choice, than you did.  He has done many things in his life. When you compare his career and yours, what have you learned from him?

To me, the measure of a man is not what his work is but the core values that he performs his work with.  I hope to be as good at what I do as my father is at what he does.  My father's values of honesty, dedication, hard work, and always doing what is right... not what is easy have certainly given my the foundation to perform my job.  Most importantly though, my father taught me the value of family! 

7.   You were in Linares as a young boy.  What caught your attention the most at that time?

Honestly, a girl named Begonia.  At that time I think I was too young to understand the specialness of our stay in Linares.  I do remember collecting chestnuts and roasting them with my abuelo and abuela. Very special experience, that was!

8.   Since then, you have re-visited Linares again, a couple of years ago. What did you enjoy the most that time around?....or didn't enjoy? 

It meant very much for me to take my wife to see the small village where my father grew up; for her to get a glimpse of the roots of our family.  And to be there with my mother and father and brother and his wife.  There was nothing I didn't enjoy... maybe only that our time there was so short.

9.  Do you plan on visiting Linares any time soon?

Life right now will not allow me to get back to Linares any time soon, unfortunately.  We have two small boys and a baby on the way in December.  But, I will go back with my family one day.

10. Do you ever think of maybe buying a house there, since your father was born there?

If I had the opportunity to have a place in Linares... that would be great.  It is such a beautiful place and to be able to return to the town where my father was raised would be that much more meaningful.

11.  What was your favorite food in Spain?.....and the United States?

My favorite food in Spain... that is tough.  I think weather it be chorizo, paella, cocido, blue cheeze, jamon serano... its all very good.  What makes any one of those my favorite is if I'm sharing it with may family!  In the states, my favorite is a nice steak from a steer my father and mother raised and a glass of Rioja wine.

12.  You married a few years ago to Jennifer, a nurse practioner.  You now have two kids.  What are there names and tell us something about them.

My oldest son Mateo Rafael Caso is three and already smarter than me.  He remembers everything and will make sure to tell me that if I forget.
My next son is Diego Thomas Caso who will be two in July.  He is very independent and also very smart.  Together they make a formidable due for me and Jenn to deal with.
Also, God has blessed us with another boy or girl (we don't find out early... just wait for the surprise) coming in December.  If we are not busy enough now; we will be!

13.  You are a true inspiration to others.  Your dedication and professionalism has taken you were you are today. I'm sure that at times it wasn't so easy. What advise would you give to someone who dreams of becoming a doctor just like you?

Always remember that nothing is more important than God and family; it is they who will get you through the tough times on your journey.  Also, always do what is right and in the end you will have attained your goals the best way possible.


1.   Rafael, what inspired you to study law?
Since childhood Antonio and I had an ongoing rivalry. Whenever one of us did something it seemed that the other would pickup the same project. As we grew older, it became apparent to me that, although the rivalry help both of us succeed, it was detrimental to our relationship. With that in mind, and Antonio heading into the medical profession I felt another line of work would be appropriate. I have always been comfortable thinking on my feet and speaking to groups of people; so with those skills at hand and a desire to help the public, pursuing a career within the legal profession seemed a natural decision.

2.   Why a District Attorney?
While in law school I discovered a love of trial. When reviewing my career options that would allow me the most trial time, I came to the decision that the two careers within the legal profession that would afford me the most trial time are district attorney or public offender. From there the decision seemed obvious; I would rather fight for the victims of crime than defend those accused of the crime.

3.   You, too, traveled to your father's hometown, Linares-Penarrubia. What are you best memories of those visits?
This question is by far the hardest question to answer. All of my memories of Linares are extraordinary. The residents of Linares were some of the most friendly people I have every met. The views are breath taking. One of my most fond memories is of my grandmother, sitting in the kitchen of her house cracking chestnuts that she had roasting on the stove.

4.   Did you ever consider becoming a rancher like your father?

When I was young I wanted to be a rancher like my father. I quickly realized that it was not the ranching life that I wanted; instead, what I wanted was just to be like my father.

5.   Had you not studied law, what would have been your second choice?

If I had not studied law, I would like to be a mechanic or a chief, maybe one day when I grow up I will follow those roads.

6.   You, too, are married to Theresa.  Do you have any kids? 
We do not have any children, yet. Maybe one day we will be blessed with children. However, until then we have nieces and nephews.

7.   Did you win your first case?

I lost my first trial, but it was on my third day on the job. But I won my second trial, which was on my forth day of work.

8.   Would you ever consider buying a house in Linares?
This is actually one of our dreams. We would love to retire to Spain, and both my wife and I love the Linares area.

9.   What is your favorite Spanish food and wine?
My favorite Spanish food is seafood paella, and my favorite wine would be the Mugo Rioja Gran Reserva.

10.  Do you keep in touch with any relative in Spain?
We keep in touch with the family through my father. Unfortunately, my ability to speak Spanish has gotten worse over the years and it makes it hard to communicate. That being said I am working on reclaiming my Spanish citizenship and will take classes in Spanish so I can once again communicate with our family.

11.  What is your favorite sport and team?
I do not follow any sport. However, my father follows American football so I try to watch college and professional football so I can talk about it with my dad. As for a favorite team, I would say the Boise State Broncos (the college I attended) would be my favorite college football team and the Chicago Bears would be my favorite professional football team.

12.  Like your brother, you too are an inspiration to others.  Your dedication and professionalism has taken you to become a District Attorney.  I'm sure the road has not always been a smooth one.  What words of advise would you offer to someone who dreams of becoming a lawyer?
There are only a few jobs in this world where most people hate you until the need you. An attorney is one. That being said, once you become an attorney (if an attorney is truly what you want to be) the practice of law is a lot of fun. There is rarely a day when I wake up and do not want to go to work. To have a job where I can make a positive impact in the lives of countless people makes all of the years of schooling worth it. Besides, there are only a few professions where you can get paid to argue with other people.



¿Quiénes serán los personajes de agosto/septiembre, 2008? No dejen de visitar esta página.