Eddie P. Chavez passed away Wednesday, November 7th, at home surrounded by his loving and caring family. He was 11 days shy of his 92nd birthday. He was born on November 18th 1926, in Hurley NM, to Josefita and Aurelio T. Chavez, the youngest of four children.
He was predeceased by his parents Josefita and Aurelio T. Chavez, in-laws Guadalupe and Maria Roybal, brother Bonifacio and his wife Rosella, sister Esther Montoya and many other family members.
He is survived by his wife of almost 66 years Angeline R. Chavez, son Eddie and wife Sandy, son Bruce and wife Phyllis, daughter Cindy, foster daughter Sara, five grandchildren, four great- grandchildren, 6 god-children, his sister Connie and many in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
He was raised in Monticello NM- a farming and ranching community. Living in this small community had a profound impact on him where he learned of the oral histories and deeds of his ancestors. As a child, he developed osteomyelitis in both lower legs which would affect him his entire life. He graduated from high school in Monticello in 1944 and immediately tried to serve our country in WW II. Due to his medical condition, he was turned down from all three branches of the military. Undaunted, he worked for a time in Albuquerque as a bell cap. He later attended the University of New Mexico, hoping to earn a law degree. He had a variety of other jobs and worked as a self described “pearl diver” (dish washer), at the University, to help pay for his tuition. He joined the Albuquerque Police Department in 1950, often attending class in uniform before going on duty. He was often asked questions by his classmates about police work and would say that since he couldn’t serve his country in the armed forces, he would serve his community in law enforcement, and he did so for more than 35 years. He was a Patrolman, Detective and ultimately a Public Relations Officer with APD for 16 years. He served as a police instructor to Latin American Police for the US State Department Agency for International Development for two years in Panama and Washington DC. He became one of the first Criminal Investigators for the US Forest Service, for 10 years. He was a Criminal Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office and finished his career as a polygraphist and translator for PGP Polygraphs.
He was proud of his Hispanic roots and took great efforts to keep traditions alive. He valued his ancestors and their ability to survive and thrive in a hostile and unrelenting environment. He had an excellent command of the English language, (which he didn’t learn until grade school), and was often asked by his fellow police offices to review or help with their written reports. He also wrote and translated many reports and documents into Spanish. He had a collection of dictionaries, in both languages, because of his love for the written and spoken word.
He was a type-A personality on many levels because of his police background but had a kind heart and compassion for the people that he encountered in Law Enforcement. He often dealt “street justice” to many people that he encountered in his law enforcement career, not the cruel version often depicted in the movies, but one of compassion and understanding. He often would give a person a “break,” by letting them explain their actions, taking them home, not arresting them. More often than not, that act of kindness would help a person overcome their predicament. There were many occasions when a person would approach Eddie at a store or some other venue and say, “You probably don’t remember me, but you really helped me when I needed help the most…”
He had a great sense of humor and was very sharp witted. He always had an immediate come back for an unwarranted comment. He had nicknames for many people that were neither critical nor insulting, but based on their personality or circumstance. He used to say that growing up in a small community gave him a “PhD in Sociology” and he would often relate the actions and antics of those inhabitants.
In his retirement, he maintained a meticulous home and yard. He doted on all his grand children and great grandchildren. He loved the many family gatherings and often grilled steaks to the point of carbonization! He reluctantly gave up the keys to his car a few years ago but was always ready to try his luck at the casino.
Eddie's Life Celebration will be held on Tuesday, November 13th at The Shrine of St. Bernadette, located on 11509 Indian School Rd NE, with a Viewing at 7:30 am, Rosary at 8:15 am, Mass at 9:00 am; followed by interment at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, located on 1900 Edith NE, and reception immediately following at St. Bernadette Parish Hall, 11509 Indian School Rd NE.
Pallbearers will be Gary Chavez, Andres Chavez, Diego Chavez, William Shrader, Ryan Wilkenson, Jason Domina. Honorary pallbearers will be Alex and Brendan Shrader, Jax and Mason Chavez, Angelita Shrader.