ANTONIO ESTEBAN CHAVEZ NOVEMBER 27, 1926 - MARCH 5, 2013 Antonio Esteban Chavez, the ninth of eleven children born to Fabian and Nicolasa Chavez, passed away in his sleep on March 5, 2013 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was eighty-six years old. Born in Santa Fe on November 27, 1926, Chavez attended Santa Fe High School where he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. He was one of the starting eleven for Santa Fe High's 1941 state champions in football and in 1943 his Demons' team won district and came in third in the state. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was sent on active duty to the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He saw action in the battle for Guam and was transported to China where, at war's end he protected Japanese prisoners from their Chinese enemies. After the war he attended New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico where he played football met Marilyn Sprowl who would be his wife for sixty-six years. After the birth of their first of five children they moved to Ohio where he received his bachelor's degree at Kent State University. He and his young family, now with two sons, returned to Santa Fe where, in quick succession two daughters were born. Chavez sold shoes in Santa Fe and taught and coached at Pojoaque High School. In 1951 he moved his family to Los Angeles where he took a job in the Lockheed Aircraft Factory. Soon thereafter he was accepted into Loyola University's School of Law, from which he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1959. Meanwhile, another daughter was born that filled out the family of five children. He opened a private practice but after a couple of years he became the Head Public Defender in East Los Angeles. In 1968, he was appointed a judge in the Municipal Court of Los Angeles and quickly assumed the responsibilities of Division 41, the calendar court that oversaw the disposition of the cases of around 2,500 felons annually. He sat on the bench for twelve years before he retired early to return to his beloved New Mexico. He settled in Albuquerque and became a substitute teacher in the public school system. In 1986, he and Marilyn, "retired" to Spain where they lived in the small Mediterranean village of Roquetas de Mar. There he endeared himself to the locals by voluntarily teaching English in the local primary school - even organizing a Christmas chorus with the students. After two plus years in Spain, he and Marilyn returned to the States to care for Marilyn's mother. They returned to New Mexico and eventually moved to Las Cruces to live with their daughter Carolyn and her husband. Judge Chavez was a proud veteran and New Mexican who loved green chili, sports, the mountains, fishing, reading, gardening, and fruit trees. He planted fruit trees everywhere he lived and was generous to a fault. He is preceded in death by his mother and father; his brothers Fray Angelico, Eugenio, Romualdo (Cuate), and Fabian; his sisters Martha, Adela, Nora, and Consuelo; a granddaughter Christel Angelica and son-in-law Gary Watkins. He is survived by his two younger siblings Jose and Clara; his children Thomas and his wife Celia, Mark, Carolyn and her husband Don, Maria, and Roberta, and nine grandchildren and nine great grand children. Burial is pending at the Santa Fe National Cemetary. Semper Fi; Always Faithful
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Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Jan. 1, 1900