PASCUAL P. CHAVEZ Nov. 29, 1923 – May 5, 2020
Our beloved patriarch Pascual P. Chavez of Los Alamos, N.M., was called to Our Lord on May 5, 2020 at the age of 96.
Pascual was preceded in death by his wife and best friend of 71 years, Margaret Antia (Geoffrion) Chavez, his parents Adolfo and Susan Chavez of Las Vegas, N.M., mother- and father-in-law, Alfonso and Ellen Geoffrion also of Las Vegas, brothers Mariano and Adolfo ‘Babe’ Chavez, brother-in-law Billy Geoffrion, his infant daughter Mary Ellen Chavez, sons Mitchell, Nicholas, and Mark Chavez, daughter Annette Chavez-Aragon, son-in-law Joe Chavez, and grandson Jason Smith.
He is lovingly survived by his daughters, Stephanie Chavez, Francesca Chavez-Giles and husband Kendal Giles, his sons James Chavez and Stephen Chavez, granddaughter Vanessa Chavez-Feagin and husband Trevor Feagin, as well as grandchildren Tony and Brittany Chavez, Ryan and Nicole Chavez, Andrea and Marcelo Aragon, Dylan Chavez, Michaela and Gabriel Giles, Brianna Costa, Sophia Chavez, and Pam Clarkson, and great grandchildren Monique Chavez, Winter and Jayla Sanchez, Damian and Mariah Mitchell, Jaxon, Niles, and Elena Chavez, and Emiliano Chavez.
Pascual and Margaret were residents of Los Alamos and faithful members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for over 70 years, raising their large family and serving as a vital part of their neighborhood and fixtures in the community. Their unparalleled hospitality was bestowed on countless friends and neighbors over the years. Their home was always open to those who needed a place to celebrate holidays. Children and grandchildren would fill their humble home for festivities, bringing along their stray friends. Even as grandchildren began having children and the house could no longer support the numbers, Pascual and Margaret well into their 80’s would still drive to Santa Fe or Albuquerque to take part in holiday celebrations. Pascual was happiest when surrounded by the next generation of Chavez’s, showering them with his love and ceaseless generosity.
Pascual was born to Adolfo and Susan Chavez on November 29, 1923, in Las Vegas, N.M. He was the eldest of five sons, two of whom did not live beyond the age of two. After the tragic death of his father at 14, Pascual vividly remembered being told by a great uncle that he was now the man of the house. He later recounted the story to his sons and often described the intense pressure that he had felt, but these words inspired him to be there for his younger brothers and mother, and in later years for his own family, as he truly was the man of the house for most of his life. He often entertained his children with tales of his boyhood adventures, such as leading his younger brothers on stowaway journeys on cargo trains to Albuquerque, until the one time they all nearly froze atop a boxcar in an unexpected autumn snowstorm.
Pascual graduated from Las Vegas’ Highlands High School in 1941. After forging documents to show that he was of age, he eventually obtained his mother’s permission to go to work in the shipyards in southern California after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After building ships for a year, he returned to Las Vegas and enlisted in the Navy. He trained as a pilot and when review of his paperwork revealed that his color blindness had been overlooked, he was reassigned to gunner and radioman on a Grumman TBF Avenger and served on the U.S.S. Bennington during the final months of the war.
In 1945, his squadron was training to be part of the first wave in the invasion of the Japanese Islands when the two atomic bombs fell. With the surrender of the Japanese, Pascual came home to Las Vegas where he met, persistently (and unrelentingly) courted and then joyfully married the love of his life, Miss Margaret Geoffrion. They began their life-long journey as husband and wife on July 12, 1947 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Las Vegas, N.M. After having heard news of promising job opportunities in the secretive little town of Los Alamos, Pascual was hired at the laboratory that made those same bombs that most likely saved his life and then provided the livelihood that enabled him to raise his family. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratories for 41 years serving in the Health Physics Department. After retiring in 1987 he continued at L.A.N.L. doing contract work.
Pascual was a man of deep faith in God and a devout Catholic, and it was this faith that allowed him to overcome alcohol addiction and commit to a lifetime of sobriety in 1986. He was motivated by the love for his wife and family, and his victory over alcohol inspired his sons, grandsons, and various other relatives to do the same.
Over his final years, Pascual was fortunate to receive nursing care from an incredible group of professionals, with special thanks to John, Connie, Vicky, Ramona, Fran, Dominique, Vida, David Paul and countless others. But he was most especially fortunate to have had Kathey Romero providing loving care for both him and Margaret, taking on vital roles in their care through their final days, shopping, cooking, and cleaning, in addition to the comfort she brought through her compassionate nurturing. His daughters Annette and Francesca and granddaughter Vanessa spent countless hours managing the fine points of his and Margaret’s care, coordinating nursing staff and covering last-minute open shifts. For their efforts the family is eternally grateful.
A date has yet to be determined for a celebration of Pascual’s life at the immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos, N.M. Notification of the date and time will be provided on the Rivera Family Funeral Home website and in The Los Alamos Daily Post.
The Funeral Mass will be held at the I.M.H. Church with a Funeral Procession to the Santa Fe National Cemetery, where an interment ceremony of Pascual’s ashes will be held with full military honors, reuniting him with his wife for eternity.
In lieu of flowers, his family would be grateful for donations to local food banks to be made in his name, in honor of both Pascual and Margaret who spent years providing generous meals for family, friends, and friends of their children at their overflowing home on “The Hill”.