JUANITA R. CHAVEZ May 9, 1933 – September 10, 2022
Our living sweetheart Juanita R. Chavez, 89, of Los Alamos, passed peacefully with her Lord and Savior on September 10, 2022. Her beautiful soul left this world surrounded by her family.
Juanita was born on May 9, 1933 in Torreon, NM to Juan and Maria Chavez. She attended the Estancia School District and graduated in 8th grade. She lived in Albuquerque, NM with her sisters, Cecilia Sanchez and Nestora Baca, cleaning homes for wealthy families.
Juanita met Arsenio Chavez, who was employed by the Zia Company, and they were married on January 2, 1954. Arsenio took his young bride up the hill to support the mission at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. They lived in the Sundt Apartments where they met many lifelong friends. Eventually they moved to the Denver Steels neighborhood where they raised their young family and made Los Alamos their home for life.
Juanita was a homemaker raising her young family of nine. She was meticulous about ironing and starching men’s shirts, and helped supplement the family income whenever she could. She was also a housekeeper to many people in Los Alamos and took great pride in looking after their homes. She has made great friends with her customers over the years.
In the mid ’70s, Juanita was hired by her friend Mrs. Bobby Bradshaw to help run the Zia Company Snack Bar, where many Craft and LANL employees would gather for breakfast and lunch. She then worked as a trustee at Zia Company and also worked for Pan Am World Services and Johnson Controls prior to her retirement. Juanita loved her employer and the wonderful people she worked with. She was known for the pride, loyalty and dedication she put into her job.
Later she had the opportunity to take care of a young woman with Down syndrome. They developed a lasting relationship by playing together for many days and taking care of their daily needs.
Juanita was deceased by her husband Arsenio Chavez, parents Juan and Maria Chavez, in-laws Melquiades and Clarita Chavez, brother Manuel Chavez, sisters Ramona Montoya, Nestora Baca and Monica Chavez and their beloved firstborn son Anthony. She was also predeceased by many brothers-in-law and brother-in-law.
Juanita is survived by her sons and daughters: Guadalupe (Frank) Archuleta, Johnny (Barbara) Chavez, Kathy Chavez, Lee (Becky) Chavez, Lucille Chavez, Therese (Gabe) Cole, Margaret (Scott) Larkin, Regina (James) Lujan, and Abran (Dawn) Chavez; brothers Alonso, Carmel, Jose, Pablo and Juan Chavez; sisters Cecilia Sanchez and Susie Perea; Grandchildren Christopher and Francesca Archuleta, Erin Chavez (Daniel), Valerie (James) Davis, Jennifer (Jesse) Gaytan, Rodney (Adrina) Chavez, Felicia (Tony) Klitch, Jaimie Rodarte, Ryan Westerhold, Kevin (Sara) McCurdy, Katrina ( Andy) Maksimowski, Kurtis McCurdy, James (Laureana) Larkin, Ariana (Cameron) Stern, Ashley Herrera, Andrew Herrera, Santiago (Vanessa) Lujan, Joaquin Lujan, Shelby Lynne Chavez (Graham) and Magdalena Chavez; great-grandchildren, Dominik (Madisen), Cooper, Jake, Brooklyn, Kobe, Adreya, Nickolas, Alena, Karson, Karlee, Miles, Nolan, Charlotte, Jaxon, Jaylon, Sean, Ruby, Raven; and great-great-grandson Asher. As well as many wonderful in-laws, comrades, nieces and nephews.
Juanita was a devoted wife to her loving husband Arsenio for 42 years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, sister, aunt, godmother, adoptive mother and friend to many. She cared deeply for everyone she met and knew.
Juanita has been a devout Catholic all her life and a woman of great faith. She dedicated herself to the saints as their intercessors and especially to Saint Anthony of Padua, the Child Jesus and Our Lady. She loved to cook, which is said to be the way to a person’s heart. She captured this by making lots of pots of green chili, red chili, the best pinto beans you’ve ever tasted, fabulous pork tamales, tortillas, pastelitos, natillas and more. She passed on her joy and love of cooking to everyone with whom she shared her life.
She had two parishes during her lifetime – St. Anthony Parish in her hometown of Torreon and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Los Alamos, where she was a faithful parishioner for more than 65 years. She was the director of Las Posadas and prayed the novena for the Nativity of the Holy Family and Baby Jesus during the Advent season for more than 50 years. She loved every priest she had ever met. Juanita was a member of the Torreon Women’s Auxiliary and the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary.
As Juanita’s mother walked by, she couldn’t make it in time to say her final goodbyes. Upon her arrival, Juanita entered her mother’s house and said: “Dejaste un rincon vacio”, which means “You left an empty corner”. We will now have this emptiness in our hearts, but we will fill the emptiness with all the many beautiful lessons she taught and gave us. We will carry on with the strength and fortitude she has shown us as she endured a long battle with Parkinson’s. Her amazing character, love for the Lord and strong faith will be a part of us forever.
Special thanks to their Amber Care Hospice Nurses Sande and Alaina and all Giving Home Health Care providers especially Lisa, Monica, Maryann and Elena. Our family is truly grateful for all the wonderful care our mother received.
A rosary and Christian funeral service will be held on September 30, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The funeral will be held on October 1, 2022 in Torreon, New Mexico where she will be buried with her beloved husband Arsenio.
Pallbearers: Christopher Archuleta, Rodney Chavez, Ryan Westerhold, Kevin McCurdy, James Larkin, Erin Chavez and Shelby Chavez.
Honorary pallbearers: Kurtis McCurdy, Andrew Herrera, Johnny Perea, Arlene Perea and Carl Chavez
The family has entrusted Juanita’s care to the Rivera Family Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Christian Cause of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.