Richard Estrada Chavez was born on November 12, 1929 in Yuma, Arizona to Juana Estrada and Librado Chavez.
He passed away on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011, of complications from a leg bypass surgery in a Bakersfield hospital. He was 81 years old.
He was younger brother to Cesar Chavez, and is survived by his brother Librado Chavez, and sisters Rita Medina and Eduviges Chavez-Lastra.
He is also survived by his first wife Sally Chavez and their children: Federico Chavez, Dorothy Velazquez, Becky Chavez, Susana Chavez, and Lupe Chavez-Gilbreath; and his long-time partner, Dolores Huerta (labor activist and organizer) and their children: Juana Chavez-Thomas, Maria Elena Chavez, Ricky Chavez, and Camila Chavez. He has 17 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.
“He was Cesar’s brother and best friend. He was a builder, not only with the buildings he built, but building the foundation for the movement. He will be sorely missed” said Dolores Huerta
“He taught us social justice through his example, he took us to picket lines, we helped build the Forty Acres. We were raised in the movement and by the movement” said daughter Becky Chavez.
“Whether he was organizing, cooking a gourmet meal, or building something with his hands, he was meticulous and took great pride in his work. He was a true craftsman” said his daughter Juana Chavez-Thomas.
“The family unit was extremely important to my father. In October of 2010 utilizing only a telephone, handwritten letters, a few trips to Chihuahua Mexico and on a wing and a prayer he managed to carry out extensive family research and organize the first ever Chavez family reunion. During birthday and fathers day celebrations he declined presents and insisted instead that he be surrounded by his children and family in what usually ended up being a simple bar-b-que at his home in Keene, CA. During major family holidays he never failed to send out greeting cards to family and loved ones. If there’s one thing I learned from him it is that without family you have nothing.” said his daughter Maria Elena Chavez
“I remember my brother Richard teaching me to speak English and to ride my bike. He was always ready with a good joke. We had a lot of good times together and I miss him dearly” said sister Eduviges Chavez-Lastra.