Willie Chavez age 90, finished his duties on earth to start a more rewarding life on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 with God. Born in Tahoka, TX on May 18, 1920 to Willie and Corneilea Chavez. They moved back to New Mexico soon after living in different areas, Roswell, Dexter and Lincoln County. They lived on the Padilla Ranch a few years and in Capitan. He attended school in Lincoln at the old adobe schoolhouse as a youngster.
His siblings were Cecilia Garcia and her family; brothers Leo Chavez (deceased) and Jake Chavez of El Paso, TX and sister Viola Kalinic of Prescott, AZ.
Willie married his first wife Lucy in November 1949 and had a son Jerry and daughters Carolyn, Nora and Irene. Those left to cherish his memory are Nora Barr and many family members.
Willie married to Josie in 2000 at the Spanish Church of Christ in Carlsbad, NM, they would have been married for 20 years on August 12, 2020. Surviving him are his stepchildren Everette Bullard of Portland OR, Debra Braley and husband Wesley of Roswell, NM, George Braley and wife Yolanda of Independence, Or; step-grandchildren Cassandra Braley of Roswell, NM and Dillon Braley of Sublimity, OR. Also, many other family of Josie’s, Ida C, Cynthia B, Rosetta P, Del C, Mary Morr, to many more to mention. Willie had many friends, some thru work and a lot from Country Club Road Church of Christ, his best friend of 50 years Raynes T. West who passed away in 2008.
Willie leaves his only daughter Nora Barr and husband Stan of Arizona and grandchildren. He had many close friends which he was very close to was Delbert Nelson, his fishing buddy Church of Christ. He has a sister in Roswell, NM Cecilia Garcia as well as many nieces and nephews. He was known as “TaTa” to his grandchildren Melissa, Matthew, Rueben and several grandchildren.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Josie will especially miss her husband, only the two knew the love between them, Willie was quiet about his private life. They shared good times no one is aware about; she will miss their time relaxing and watching his favorite cowboy shows. He said he used to walk from Dexter to Roswell on the railroad tracks to see the western movies, it was a very long walk and he would be so tired that he would fall asleep and miss the show.
Thank you to all that knew and shared his company, He enjoyed Tim and Amy’s visits and friend Dave S.
Willie loved to go for rides on the spur of the moment, he missed that so I would take him around Roswell to get him out of the house. He enjoyed seeing the airplanes and how many came in and short rides since he couldn’t drive anymore, but soon he wasn’t noticing anything, so I decided the rides had to stop; he no longer was “Willie”. We will all miss him, and we all loved him.
In 1953 Willie worked for Meads Bakery in maintenance, in 1954 he worked for Oscars Donut Shop cooking donuts and pies, he then moved onto Glovers Packing Company as a driver until 1955 when he got a job with Armstrong Construction Company. In 1957 he worked for City of Roswell as roadman under Cal Clark and Fluff Jenkins, he then went to work for New Mexico State Highway Department under Archie Meadows as an instrument man operating transits, levels and other surveying equipment, the up to soil inspector in charge of laboratory analysis and to highway construction. In 1964 he returned to the City of Roswell as street construction inspector and at this time he installed and operated a soil laboratory. He was promoted to assistant street superintendent, serving there until 1970 and then proceeded to work for Chaves County Road Department supervising the construction and erection of pre-stressed concrete bridges across the Hagerman canal.
In 1973 he was employed by the County Engineering Department as a survey assistant. A position opened for the County Code Enforcement Officer and he was appointed to that position by the Chaves County Commissioner, the position had law enforcement authority. In 1978 he was appointed by the county commissioner to serve as County Road Superintendent were, he supervised the maintenance of all 1800 miles of county roads. There were 56 crewmen under his supervision, they made their own gravel and operated their won crushing plant.
Willie was an excellent welder and could make almost anything out of metal. He built a wrought iron spiral staircase of steel which was a masterpiece, he also built ornamental security guards over many windows, doors and many beautiful fences. In order to fashion curved arches over fences, opening and round chandeliers out of 1/4” x 1 1/2” steel he fashioned a device with rollers out of scrap metal which was thought amazing. He could roll a strip of steel through this forming device a shape it into any degree of curvature that he wanted. Willie built a lot of fences and beautiful ornamental iron work for a magnificent home in the mountains of Ruidoso, NM. About seven years later he finally retired for good.
Funeral services will be held at 10am, Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at Ballard Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Doug Austin of Country Club Church of Christ officiating. Burial will follow at South Park Cemetery. No reception will be held do to the COVID-19.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Michael Chavez, Joseph Maestas, Jerry Chavez, Ruben Sanchez, Matt Morales and Gilbert Morales. Honorary pallbearers are his grandchildren.
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