Raúl Anthony |
noted Hispanic veteran, actor, scouter, television and advertising pioneer, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on the 14th of February 1926, the eldest son of Raúl Chavez del Avellano and María Royval, and passed away on Sunday, the 25th of November 2012in Houston, at the age of 86.
Raúl immigrated to the U.S. with his family to seek refuge from the turbulence that followed the Mexican Revolution. His family settled in Los Angeles, California, where Raúl entered the parochial school system and was graduated from J. H. Francis Polytechnic. As a teenager, Raúl became a devoted Boy Scout, never dreaming that many years later he would make scouting a full time career. With the outbreak of WWII and influenced by his Sea Scout adventures, Raúl joined the U.S. Navy, where he trained and served as a flight engineer and turret aerial gunner on PBM5 flying boat patrol bombers. Raúl and his crewmates participated in the Okinawa campaign, preparations for the invasion of the Japanese mainland and reconnaissance over-flights of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
At the conclusion of the war, Raúl returned home to meet and marry the love of his life, Doris Fields of Tipton, Oklahoma. He enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater in California, under the auspices of the GI Bill, to study acting, radio and TV production, the nascent medium of the day. While at the Playhouse, he appeared in the world premiere, in English, of Federico Garcia Lorca's "Blood Wedding." Among his credits in Hollywood were the 1948 pioneering TV drama, "Space Patrol;" the "Lone Ranger;" "The Ruggles;" "But Not Goodbye;" "No Time for Comedy;" "Bird of Paradise" and "Beauty and the Beast." In 1951, Raúl moved his young family to Mexico City to assist in the creation of Mexico's first TV broadcaster, XHTV Canal 4, and as the newscaster on XEB of the "Noticiero General Motors" and "Paging the News" on XEVIP. He was one of the first TV producers in Mexico with classic shows to his credit like the first live broadcasts of the Pan-American Races, the variety show "El Estudio Raleigh" with Pedro Vargas and the legendary classical music TV program "El Concierto General Motors," broadcast live from El Palacio de Bellas Artes, featuring renowned artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Adolfo Odnoposoff. His film credits during this period include the dubbing of "La Malquerida" and "The Magnificent Seven." He also starred in the bi-lingual TV series "Famous Guests," alongside Pedro Armendariz and Dolores del Rio. His flawless English and Spanish, broadcast media savvy and instinctive bi-cultural adeptness prepared Raúl for a long and stellar career in Mexico City and Monterrey as one of Mexico's pre-eminent, pioneering advertising executives at Kodak, Goodrich, British American Tobacco, Sterling Drug and Vendor-Rollins. He was for years the radio voice of bull fighting at the Plaza de Toros México, play-by-play announcer for the local Little League and a ringleader of elaborate Halloween productions that frightened and delighted friends and family.
Throughout his 24 years living in Mexico, Raúl retained his childhood connection to the Boy Scouts, sharing with his family a love for the outdoors and community service. He served as Scout Master of Troop 11 (Monterrey) and as BSA representative at the Scouts de México. In 1974, the Chávez family returned to the US, settling in Dallas, where Raúl returned to his roots in scouting, this time as a professional scouter. He was instrumental in laying the ground work for scouting's Hispanic outreach programs, which continue to this day. He served as Director of Communications from 1981-1985 and as Associate Director of Catholic Relationships for the Boy Scouts of America at their national headquarters office in Irving, Texas until his retirement in 1989.
Soon after retirement, Raúl moved to Houston, reconnected with his acting career and was featured in commercials for many Dallas and Houston based corporations. In 1998, Raúl's voice was featured for all of the characters (except "the burro") in "The Legend of the Christmas Flower," an animated film nominated for an Emmy. Most recently, Raúl served as lector at St. Cecilia Parish and as a president in his local chapter of the AARP.
Raúl was a consummate family man, taking particular delight in his role as grandfather, an avid sailor and marksman and mixer of the world's best martinis for his friends and family.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Doris Fields de Chávez; sister Maria Elena Broer and brother Salvador Chavez; daughter Yolanda Chávez Knull, son Raúl Chávez Fields; and grandchildren Anna Knull, Warren Knull, Anthony Chávez and Kyler Chávez.
A memorial service celebrating his life is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, the 5th of December, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, where the Rev. Douglas Guthrie, Parochial Vicar of St. Michael Catholic Church, is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent grand foyer.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in his name be directed to the Salvation Army; or to the
Published in Houston Chronicle from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2012