Portal, AZ - Rodeo, NM

Serving The Communities Of Portal and Rodeo  (www.portal-rodeo.com)

Victor Chàvez

Victor's Obituary, As Written By His Daughter, Darlene

Victor Brito Chávez was born on July 25, 1925, to Alfredo Chávez (Gómez Palacio, Durango, México) and Serapia Brito Chávez (Wilcox, Arizona, USA). He was the fourth son of a family which included eight boys and two girls. He was the last member of the Brito Chávez family. Victor passed on Sunday April 14, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. He passed quietly with his son Joseph Guerrero and his daughter Darlene Chávez at his bedside. He passed while at his home in Tucson which was filled with many friends and family.

My father’s father immigrated to the United States as a young man who served in the Mexican military during the Mexican Revolution. Alfredo, Sr. was wounded in the war and transported to El Paso, Texas to receive treatment for his injuries. After recovering from his wounds Alfredo, Sr. decided to remain in the United States, where he engaged in various jobs. He met and married Serapia (aka Sara) of Wilcox. The couple eventually made their way to the Tucson area where they raised their family; Alfredo as a silver miner and Sara as a homemaker. Life for Alfredo and Sara was very difficult.

My father grew up in a very humble household. He and his brothers would scour the A-Mountain landscape for any wild plant life which was suitable for consumption. As a little boy my father would sell newspapers in the Tucson downtown area for 3 cents a copy. He had an older man who was a customer of sorts. The man would take the paper and “look it over” and then would hand it back to my dad, “Nothing new or interesting. I don’t want it.”

At approximately seven years old my father was running around the family kitchen, which has always been his favorite room in the house. His mother was carrying a boiling pot of coffee and accidently spilled the contents onto her son. Dad’s father grabbed him and ran to Drachman school as there was a nurse on site. Dad spent the better part of a year in the hospital recovering from his injuries. His upper body was permanently scarred but his spirit was not.

At fourteen my father lost his father to silicosis, the silver miner’s “black lung” disease. Dad’s older brothers were away in the military as active duty or reserve men; thus, Dad became the bread winner of the family. He worked for a cement company located at the base of A-Mountain. He drove one of the big trucks which hauled the clay/soil to the refinery plant. The truck required a hand-crank to start up. Dad was so small at 15 years of age that he always kept the truck running as he did not have enough weight on him to turn the crank. If the engine ever stopped, he had to call the office to get a bigger guy to restart the truck. Yes, it did happen on occasion.

In 1943, Dad joined the Navy reserve. “I was not going to let them draft me into the army,” he would state emphatically. He served as a Seaman First Class on the USS Proteus in the Pacific front. He was in the Sub-Marine Division 202; Sub-base, Pearl Harbor Sub Sqd, #4. Following naval tradition, Dad was thrown into the ocean when he crossed the equator for the first time. Dad visited many countries and islands, and he hung out in the submarine’s galley (aka kitchen). My father was very proud of being in the Navy and of his service to our country. He requested and was granted a burial at the Arizona Veterans’ Cemetery at Marana (Arizona) (AVMC-M). He will be laid to rest with military honors after a military ceremony.

In 1947, my father married my mother, Elvira Virginia Chávez (nee Elvira Virginia Chavira) (deceased). My sister, Elvira Virginia Chávez, Jr. (deceased) was born in July of 1949, and I followed in 1950. We lived in a humble home built by my dad and his buddies. Our father worked as an airline mechanic, construction worker, park landscaper and US Postal Service transportation mechanic. He was the Shop Steward for the U.S. Postal Workers Union. Dad always strove to get a better education and worked hard to earn his GED. He would do whatever he needed to do to keep his family fed, clothed and sheltered. Life was never easy for him, but he taught us the value of making do with what you had and to always be striving for a better life. Our parents divorced in 1968.

Several years later my father met and married his wife, Eva González Guerrero. He married her twice; a civil ceremony in Tucson and a Catholic ceremony in Rodeo, New México. In the marriage father gained four new children; two daughters, JoAnn Núñez and Angy Moran, and two sons, Joe Guerrero (aka Joey) and Ricky Guerrero (deceased). He also garnered a mess of new relatives! Father shared with me of his great love for his new children and extended family.

After retiring from the post office, dad and Eva moved to their beloved home; a small holding at the base of the Chiricahua Mountains. There they raised pigs, cows, goats, and numerous dogs. They had a garden which furnished fresh vegetables for the cooking pot. Dad and Eva made lifelong friends who would drop by frequently to enjoy conversation and feast on his world-famous menudo. Our parents attended church in Rodeo, where they enjoyed the companionship of distant neighbors at the potlucks held each Sunday in the church hall. Both dad and Eva were in their garden of Eden.

Throughout his life dad continued to keep his family and friends close. People would call and visit with him on a regular basis. Dad would reach out to them with care and kindness. There was nothing he cherished more than to be in the middle of a crowd loved ones, both family and friends.

Dad’s final years were difficult. He suffered from many infirmities. At his passing dad was 98 years old: the last and longest-lived member of his large family. Dad lived a long and fruitful life, but death at any time comes too soon when one is as loved and as esteemed as Victor Brito Chávez continued to be throughout his life. Good-bye my dear sweet father; my hero, a boy born to humble means.