Jose Manuel de Atocha Chavez Jr., Age :87

Dec 26,1932---Nov 06,2020

Jose Manuel de Atocha Chavez Jr.


Jose Manuel de Atocha Chavez Jr., a gentle soul and loving man was lifted from his earthly home to eternal rest on November 6, 2020.  He was fondly known to his family and friends as Manuel, or, “Tocha”.   

Manuel was born on December 26, 1932 to Jose Manuel Chavez Sr. and Eloisa Garza in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  As was the custom in earlier days, he was also partly raised by Juan and Abelina Beltran, in Tecolote, NM. 

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Isabel in 2008, his parents Jose Manuel and Eloisa, and Juan and Abelina.  He is also preceded in death by his sister Adelina Chavez, brothers, Cristobal and Gilberto Chavez, and mother and father-in-law whom he greatly loved and respected, Geronimo and Antonia Garduño, his Garduño brothers and sisters-in-law, Pete and wife Gertrude, Jerry, Gilbert, Joe, Leo, and Maria Elena Montoya, and Carmen’s husband, Melecio Gomez.

He married Isabel Garduño on Feb 19, 1955 in Las Vegas, NM.  Manuel is survived by his son Orlando Chavez, their daughter Mary Lou Lujan and companion David Ulibarri II, and their grandson Joseph Chavez, all of Las Vegas.  He is also survived by his sisters Carmen Gomez and Aggie Ortiz, and their families. Also surviving Manuel are his grandchildren Joseph Chavez, William Lujan and Sonya, Krystal Lujan, Brandy Benavidez, Rosa Benavidez, Lisa Chavez, Christina Chavez, twelve great-grandchildren, and one great- great- grandchild and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and their extended families. 

Survivors also include his brothers and sisters-in-law Ray Garduño and wife Andrea, Carlos Montoya, Alice Gallegos and husband Donald, Viola Garduño, Antonio Garduño, Danny Garduño and wife Antonia, Rose Marie Garduño, and Rose Ann Trujillo, all of Las Vegas, Della Gonzales and husband Rosalio of Arlington, Texas, Lorraine Hernandez and husband Fred of Pueblo, Colorado and Elma Garduño of Thornton, Colorado.

Manuel was a faithful Catholic and a devoted member of Our Lady of Sorrows Church.  He prayed often and thanked God every day for his life and his family.  He deeply loved his family and provided for them above and beyond his responsibility.  Manuel worked for Roland Pelt of the Bonita Ranch where he became the ranch foreman both in De Queen Arkansas, and here in Las Vegas.   Later in life, he worked with the New Mexico Highway Department as a heavy equipment operator from where he retired in 1997.

Although Manuel was retired, he was never an idle man.  He worked hard, but also enjoyed life and the fruits of his labor to the fullest.  He loved working outdoors and enjoyed hunting, ranching, and farming.  He enjoyed raising goats and chickens and making goat cheese for his family and friends. He very much enjoyed meeting with his friends to play pool at the Senior Center, or going to the flea market.

Manuel enjoyed music and dancing.  He often played the accordion or harmonica for his own pleasure.  At any wedding or family gathering where there was a dance, he and Isabel were always the best polka dancers on the floor much to the amazement and enjoyment of his family.  They will now be reunited to enjoy music and dance polkas forever.

The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Las Vegas, New Mexico at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday November 12, 2020.  The Mass service is limited to immediate family due to COVID-19 restrictions but will also be livestreamed on Facebook or on the OLOS website at   Following the Mass, Manuel will be laid to rest at the San Jose Cemetery next to his beloved Isabel.   Family and friends may attend the burial service with COVID-19 restrictions of social distancing and face covers required.  Pallbearers will be his grandsons and granddaughters.


Arrangements entrusted to the caring professionals of:

Riverside Funeral Home of Santa Fe

3232 Cerrillos Road

(505) 395-9150