Cover photo for Alfred B. Chavez's Obituary
Alfred B. Chavez Profile Photo
1921 Alfred B. 2017

Alfred B. Chavez

September 7, 1921 — June 24, 2017

Alfred B. Chávez, a long time resident in Visalia for over 74 years, died Saturday, June 24, 2017.  He was 95 years old.   Alfred was born in Namiquipa, Chihuahua, Mexico, on September 7, 1921.  His parents, were Clara Barela a native of  Silver City, New Mexico, and Francisco Chávez, a miner from Chihuahua, Mexico. Clara and Francisco married and had four sons, with Alfred the youngest child.  Alfred would never know his father, he died of respiratory ailments two months before he was born. Seeking  a better life, Clara and her four sons eventually moved to Central California in 1922.   Alfred spent his elementary school years and two years of high school in Laton, California,  where he would enjoy school studies and excelling in baseball and basketball, while also working in agricutural farm work to help his family.  He graduated from Fresno Tech, now Fresno High School in 1939.  At a dance in Visalia, Alfred met his future wife Marian Piña.   Not long after they met, they were married on July 5, 1942, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia.  Two months later Alfred received his draft notice and in a few months the young couple were separated by miles of ocean.  In World War II, Alfred served as an Army Medic, assigned to the ship, The Queen Mary.  He would cross the ocean several times, attending the wounded from England and France to the New York Harbor.    After WWII, Alfred returned home to assume the role of husband and father to his two-year old son.  Two more children would soon follow, and Alfred was eager to improve his family’s circumstances, taking whatever work he could, from farm labor to grocery store box boy.  After repeated application attempts, his perseverence was rewarded in1946, when he was finally offered the opportunity to work for the Southern California Gas Company in Visalia.  For several years he worked shoveling dirt, jackhamering roads and laying down gas pipelines, eventually moving up to head the company’s  dispatch division.  In 1984, thirty eight years later, Alfred retired from the company.     Alfred and Marian were active and engaging parents with their three children, while literally building and remodeling their new 50 year old farmhouse.  With their children’s help, they acquired and raised every kind of farm animal imaginable, planted vegetable gardens, harvested walnuts, almonds, and fruit from their own trees, made cheese and churnned butter from the milk and crème of their precious jersey cow.     During the Gas Company work years, and after retirement, Alfred remained active in the community.  He served as a Boy Scout Troop Leader, little league coach, catechism teacher, affiliate member of American Legion Sierra Post 785, Knights of Columbus Treasurer, Grand Knight, church usher, and active participant of the Catholic Crusillo movement.  He was a founding member of the Buena Vista Credit Union, the first low-income credit union in Visalia, served on the Tulare County Grand Jury, volunteer Spanish translator for patients receiving medical care from the Catholic Church-run medical clinic in north Visalia, Trustee for the Visalia Cemetery District, and was never too proud to walk precincts in north Visalia to register voters.  He also worked on several local, state and national election campaigns, making calls, polling voters and walking precincts.  Alfred also enjoyed playing golf and attending high school sporting events, especiallly Friday night football games.  A legacy proudly left to him by his mother, was his devout Catholic faith.  Alfred was a parishioner of St. Mary’s Church.   Alfred was preceded in death by his parents Clara and Franciso, his stepfather, Camilo Flores, his wife Marian, whom he was married to for 68 years, his youngest son William Chavez, his brothers Alfonso, Robert, Frank Chavez, and his brother, Henry Flores. He is survived by son, George Chavez (Toni), his daughter, Olivia Chavez (Michael Leoni), grandchildren Andrea Soto (Victor), Gabriella Chavez, George Chavez (Julie Echevarria)  all of Visalia, Nicholas Chavez and Henri Chavez from Sacramento, great grandchildren, Mario Navarro, Isaac Soto, Diego Soto, Faith Soto, George Isaiah Chavez all of Visalia, and numerous nieces, nephews and family throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico.   A visitation will be held Monday, July 10, 2017 from 4-8pm with the Rosary being prayed at 6pm at Hadley-Marcom Funeral Chapel, Visalia, California. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 10am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Visalia, California.  Internment will immediately follow at Visalia District Cemetery.   In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Alfred’s honor to The Bethlehem Center, or the Serra Club, both affiliated with The Good Shepherd Catholic Parish in Visalia.
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