Benjamin Chavez

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Chavez, Benjamin

Ben Chavez, whose family settled here in New Mexico in the 1700s, passed away on May 19, 2017 at the age of 93. He was born to Nicodemos and Petrita Chavez on July 12, 1923 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where his father was attending New Mexico (State) College of Agriculture. Ben grew up on his parents' farm south of Albuquerque in the community of Pajarito. His first job as a youth was to work in his neighbor's field with a horse drawn plow for twenty-five cents a day. An industrious individual, Ben rode the rails as far as California to work and send money back to his family. The third child of ten, he was preceded in death by brothers, Manuel, Eloy, Dan and Paul.

He is survived by his siblings Nick, Avelina Battaglia, Frank, Ricardo, and Alex. Ben met his beloved wife, Vidalia Bazan, at the old Albuquerque High School, from which they both graduated in the 1940s. He then volunteered for the United States Navy at the height of the Second World War and served in the Pacific Theater. Among other duties on the ship, he transmitted and received Morse Code communications. After the war, Ben returned to his wife and community and met his eighteen-month-old son, Benjamin for the first time. He then attended the University of New Mexico on the GI bill, worked as a scale inspector for the State of New Mexico, and graduated from UNM with a business degree. After graduation, Ben was an accountant for the Bureau of Revenue. He then started his own accounting business and expanded into real estate. He was appointed to the position of State Auditor by Governor Ed Mecham. After this, he returned to real estate brokerage at Chavez and Co., which he founded with his brother, Manuel in downtown Albuquerque on Gold Street. In 1964, he was appointed Chief Tax Commissioner by Governor David Cargo. He later founded Ben Chavez Realty on Central Ave., where he spearheaded a successful business in commercial, residential and land development for over fifty years and from which he retired at age ninety. Ben was known for his honesty and integrity in business and his community involvement. He was a member of the Greater Albuquerque Realtors Association, The Knights of Columbus, Toastmasters, The American Legion, The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and a lifetime member of BPOE #461 (Elks). In his youth, Ben was a Four Corners Golden Glove Champion in boxing. He was an avid reader and student of history, politics and literature, and proficient in English, Spanish and French. He enjoyed horseback riding, walking and calisthenics.

Ben was preceded in death by his youngest son, Edwin Chavez. He is survived by his wife of seventy-four years, Vidalia; five children, Benjamin, Michael, Timothy, Marie and Christine; eleven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday May 27, 2017 at the Newman Center on the UNM Campus at 1815 Las Lomas Rd. NE. Rosary to be at 9:00 a.m., followed by testimonials. Mass will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m., followed immediately by a reception, also at Newman Center. Free parking is available in the lot located on Las Lomas, east of University Blvd. A private interment will be held at a later date.

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Arrangements by:

Gabaldon Mortuary

1000 Old Coors Dr. SW

(505) 243-7861

Funeral Home
Gabaldon Mortuary
1000 Old Coors Drive SW
Albuquerque, NM 87121
(505) 243-7861
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Published in Albuquerque Journal from May 25 to May 26, 2017