Teodorita "Dora" Augustina (Maestas) Chavez, 91, went home into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father 3 p.m. on Easter Friday, April 25, 2014. She rejoined her parents, Candido and Gravelita Maestas, as well as her siblings, Ross Maestas, Louise Gallegos Jacquez Garcia and Frances Maes, plus other cherished relatives and loving friends.
David Chavez, her beloved husband of 70 years, shared her earthly journey along with their children, Dora Rose, Peggy, Davy, Gloria, Eileen, Marty Kay and Dennis. Her greatest joy was caring for her family and co-creating a loving home for all of them. Her generosity and comfort was extended to her daughters and sons-in law, Linda Chavez, Regina Van Wey, April Thompson, Eddie Tasaka, and Craig Hutton.
She delighted in her grandchildren and lent to each of them her strength, counsel and support as they matured. Dora Rose's children are Jimmy, David, Gabriel, Maria, Cecilia and Amanda; Peggy's children, Elisa and Angela; Davy's children, Shannon, Cheri, David and Kimberly; Gloria's children, Vincent and Austin; and Marty Kay's child, Deanna. Her 19 great-grandchildren were a great source of amusement, and she loved them all whole-heartedly. Granddaughter Cheri was especially treasured for the joy she brought to her as a companion and caregiver in her final four years.
Dora loved reliving her early adventures on the farm with her surviving siblings, Mary Schimpp of Ypslanti, Mi., Margaret Rodri of Durango, Colo., and Nick Maestas of Aurora, Colo. She was blessed to have received a visit from Mary and her husband Byron, Nick and his wife, Phyllis, and Margaret before her passing.
Dora was born on May 5, 1922, in Santa Cruz. Her family moved to Durango, Colo., shortly thereafter. By the time she was 4, they bought a farm in the Oxford, Colo., area, where she was reared and learned the value and necessity of hard work. She attended the small country schools of Cedar Grove and Oxford. She graduated from Durango High School in 1942 and traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., to attend and graduate from Beauty College. Shortly after graduation in 1944, she married David Chavez at Sacred Heart Church in Durango. As a war bride, she traveled with her young husband to Ogden, Utah, San Francisco, Calif., Oxnard, Colo., and Los Angeles, Calif., as he prepared to set sail for the war in the Pacific.
After the war, the young couple ran the family farm for three years before moving with their first four children to Durango. Dora worked during the day at the salon while David worked at night, taking shifts looking after their children. In 1953, they moved to Farmington where in 1956, they bought a home that they have had for 58 years. She was active in the Sacred Heart Church's Chapter of the Guadalupanas and took part in pledging and raising money to build Sacred Heart School, where all their children would eventually attend.
They moved to Palm Springs, Calif., in 1963 and returned to Farmington in 1975. During their time in California, Dora worked for Palm Springs Unified School District as one of the district's first bilingual aides beside her lead teachers, Hilda Young and Fredricka Borges. She helped the parents launch Cinco de Mayo celebrations that continue to take place in the desert communities today.
On her return from California, she flourished as a homemaker and artist. Already accomplished at embroidery, fine needle point and clothes making, she began making fabric dolls and quilts. Her talent led her to painting ceramics where she made a host of life-sized dolls, curios and tea sets. Her skills as a cook, baker and candy-maker were legendary, and each picnic and family celebration was eagerly awaited and enjoyed.
Dora loved to laugh and was gifted as a storyteller and mimic. She could transport her listeners to any decade and have them rolling with laughter. We shall miss her smile, sparkling green eyes, quick wit and sense of humor.
Viewing will be from 8 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Farmington.
A rosary will be recited at 9 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. Burial will take place at the family farm she loved so dearly in Oxford, Colo.
The reception and remembrances will take place at the Oxford Grange following the interment.
Dora's care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688. Those who wish to express their condolences may do so at www.serenityandcompany.com.
Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home
103 East Ute Street Farmington, NM 87401
Published in Farmington Daily Times from Apr. 30 to May 9, 2014