Pete J. Chavez Jr., age 74, of Española, New Mexico, passed away peacefully at his home on August 9, 2023. Pete was born in Vallecitos, NM on August 2, 1949 to Magdalena (Gallegos) and Pedro J. Chavez. Growing up in the Vallecitos mountains, he loved the country, fishing, hunting, horse riding, and anything that was old Western themed. His favorite TV watching was cowboy movies and rodeo.
He met his wife of 48 years, Lorraine Chavez (Martinez), in Española where they would build their home and family that included two sons: Tom A. Chavez, who resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Chris R. Chavez, who resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Pete was taught to play guitar and traditional Hispanic music by family members and became a well known musician throughout the Northern New Mexican region. He often played with his band, Los Nubes, throughout the state, who went on to record a 45 inch recording. Pete was probably most known for performing the Entriega de los Novios, creating impromptu verses for newlyweds and their families, and was featured in the Historical Review of the Southwest. He was recognized by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington for traditional Hispanic music of Northern New Mexico, specifically the traditional song for the NM custom, El Dia de Los Manueles https://open.spotify.com/track/7w94IfDdaUtQccyHSNUMrp?si=TOprnaDWTYmkFbUNt2t6Fw and featured in a book on traditional music. Pete inspired community, preserved customs of Hispanic New Mexico music, and passed his gift on to others.
Pete worked at the Española sawmill and trained as a mechanic at Northern New Mexico Community College in the late 60s/early 70s. He joined the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL), serving as a Mechanical Technician. He retired from the LANL in 2006. Being skilled as a mechanic also prompted him to work on his own and other’s vehicles. He was very much like “McGiver”, having many creative ideas to build anything with whatever materials he had or were given to him.
If there was anything that people would say about Pete is that he would always try to make people laugh or smile. In fact, Pete was known to be a prankster, often joking with people, giving them a hard time even into his last days. The family would like to give a special heartfelt thank you to the healthcare staff at Givings Home Health and Ambercare Hospice for providing great comfort to Pete and all his family. He is survived by his two sons, his sister Manuelita Chavez of Española; Manuel Chavez, his wife Beverly, their two sons Manuel Jr. and Justin and daughter, Autumn; Sam Chavez, his wife Linda, and their children Angelina, Samantha, and Pete III (deceased). Additionally, he is survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and many, many more people in the community who loved Pete very much.
Pete wished that his end of life be celebrated rather than mourned stating that, “when I die, I don’t want anybody to cry. I want it to be a happy occasion!” Pete wished to be cremated and will have a celebration of life service on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at 7:00 pm, held at DeVargas Funeral Home in Espanola, NM. On Wednesday, August 16th, 2023, 10:00 AM a church service at Valley View United Methodist church will be held and led by Pastor Russ Hall; A burial will immediately follow at the Methodist Cemetery in Vallecitos, NM. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall at Valley View United Methodist Church in Espanola, NM.
The family of Pete Chavez has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the beautiful Espanola Valley. www.devargasfuneral.com 505-747-7477