John M. Chavez

John M. Chavez



John M. Chavez, 70, St. Joseph, Missouri died Thursday, March 21, 2013 at his home.

He was born May 23, 1942 to Jesse and Esperanza Chavez in St. Joseph, Missouri.

John married Jeanne Allen on June 11, 1966. To this union two children, Tyson and Tara, were born.

He graduated from Christan Brothers high School in 1960 and William Jewell in 1965. As a student at St. Joseph Junior College he won two individual national championships and one relay. His record for the 880-yard run stood for sixteen years at Jewell.

John will be remembered for his 48 years of teaching and coaching.  John taught school and served as a translator and track official in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, 1992 games in Barcelona, and 1996 games in Atlanta.

He was a member of St. James Catholic Church, a former president of Little United Nations Club, and a member of the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coach Association Hall of Fame in 1996.

John was preceded in death by his father.

Survivors: son, Tyson Chavez, Platte City, Missouri; daughter, Tara Reed (David), Platte City, Missouri; grandchildren, Austin Sanderson, Ashley Sanderson, and Emma Reed; mother, Esperanza Martinez (Gus); brothers, Jesse Chavez (Lois), Larry Chavez (Linda), Daniel Chavez (Pam), and Tom Chavez (Marolyn); sisters, Dolores Meyers (Walt), Ramona Atkinson (Bill), Margaret Imm (Ladd), Frances Wahlert (Craig), and Mary Merritt (Steve); and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mass of Christian Burial:  1:00 P.M. Tuesday, St. James Catholic Church. Interment Mount Olivet Cemetery.  Parish Rosary 5:00 P.M. Monday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. The family will receive friends 5:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Monday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory, where friends may call after 4:00 P.M. Monday. The family requests memorial gifts to be made to the John M. Chavez Memorial in care of Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Gloria Crouch says:

    What a wonderful legacy John has left to his children. My prayers will be with all your family. John was a good man and will be greatly missed.

  2. Keith Johnson says:

    While at Central High, John was a wonderful coach to our Track team.
    An encourager and positive influence.
    My prayers are that God’s love will comfort family & friends and memories will remind them of his quality life.
    He will truly be missed by his students.

  3. Dave Denny says:

    A great mentor to myself and many other younger coaches – always positive and a great person to visit with at track meets and clinics. His passion was so obvious. My last extensive conversation with Coach Chavez included him talking at great length about his family – he was very proud! My thoughts and prayers are with the his loved ones.

  4. Jason Mosher says:

    Coach Chavez was my Spanish teacher for two years at Central High; what a wonderful teacher! Later in life, when I would see him in St. Joseph, he would always speak to me in Spanish, and we would recall our days at Central together.
    My condolences to the family, Coach was a great teacher, friend, and man.
    May God bless his family, today, and many days to come,
    Jason Mosher

  5. David Reed says:

    I am married to John’s daughter Tara. I had the pleasure to know him for 13 years. The passion he showed even in the last few years was amazing. He lived very simple and gave to all of us and could care less about what he had. John loved to be close to people. He used to tell me about all the kids he coached and even the ones that did not even run for him. To coach and give advice to the competition is a life lesson in it’s own right.
    I know St. Joseph is a small dot on the map, but to John this entire city was his house. I have to think that it is a rare thing to know a person like this.
    It is Sunday morning here in Platte City and John would spend every weekend at our house. He and I would get up early and drink coffee and he would ask me to search Direct TV for a chance that a track meet would be on. My house just like the community has a huge void in it right now. RIP to the best of the best.

  6. JD Chavez says:

    John, was an incredible Uncle, brother, father, son, and friend to all. I am still in disbelief of this all. I do know one thing, Uncle Johnny was a world changer, he had an impact on everyone he came in contact with, and inspired all to be the best, and to never settle. He always saw the positives in everything. He was a staple to our family and the whole community. One recent memory I have, is me losing a 100lbs, and one of biggest supporters was my Uncle Johnny, he was always checking on me, and offering words of encouragement. The first time i saw Johnny after my success, he was right there to congratulate me with a hug and $100. We all have great memories of Johnny, that changed out lives, and we will hold them with us the rest of out life. God we had the baton to you. I love you Uncle Johnny.

  7. Buddy Davis says:

    My prayers and condolences to the Chavez family. John was a wonderful mentor, friend and coach. He was generous with his time to the community, schools and to the cross country and track. His skills, support and spirit will live on in our hearts and minds.

    I will always remember his smile and laughter which was unique to him and I thank God for the opportunity to know him and his family!

    Rest in Peace John.

    Buddy Davis
    Myakka City, FL

  8. Nelson Richter says:

    I knew John through his track teams. He always presented himself with class an example followed by the athletes he coached. His contributions to track and field and cross country in Missouri cannot be measured. My prayers to his family but a celebration of all the lives he touched as an educator. He reflected the, “I fought a good fight but I kept the faith”, through his life.

  9. Shirley Ward Major says:

    John had a warmth that lit the world. He will be missed.

  10. Ruthann Harris gray says:

    I had the privilege of running for coach on the city track team during high school! He was an amazingly positive, charasmatic and best track coach Ever!!! I LOVed every oportunity those few years and his spirit carries on in those lives he has touched!!! May peace be with you all!

  11. mike pedersen & wanda pedersen says:

    good bye John they don’t make’em like you anymore .

  12. Connie Lopez Kasl says:

    We have so many fond memories over the years regarding John and the Chavez family as a whole. John always had a smile and a story to share. He also proudly shared his culture, his music and his love of mexican food. His love of his family, heritage, and sports was who he was. He was loved and he will be missed. Our condolences to his family. From the family of Henry Lopez-wife Helen Lopez,children and families – Charles, Michael, Richard, Fred, Henry( Junior) Connie and Josie.

  13. Ronnie Mueller says:

    John and I met at St. Joe Junior College. I was a 60 graduate of Lafayette and I played on the Junior College basketball team. My memory is of a kind, quiet man, and a great athlete. I knew he would make a great coach. My sincere condolences to the family.

  14. Debbie Luman says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with John’s family. He was such a kind man, and always willing to help out and will always remember that wonderful smile of his. We will miss him here at the KU Track & Field/Cross Country program.

  15. Reed Gray says:

    Coach Chavez was my freshman football and track coach at CB, in 1965. I transferred to Maur Hill, but never forgot him. A good man and coach. I do remember running into him after being in college out here in Oregon. He remembered me. That kind of surprised me. Part of the reason I wanted to coach, though I never got into coaching , I am a mentor in the woodshop.

  16. Kara Spence - Branstetter says:

    Mr. Chavez was my Spanish Teacher in high school. I loved his classes and he was such a great person. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

  17. cassonya colbert says:

    He was a wonderful man…i can’t believe he gone so young …i know he was a heathly man he ran for miles…i hate cancer i wish it woufamily die.Rest In Peace John…my thoughts and prayers are with you an your family.

  18. cassonya colbert says:

    #I wish it would die.Rest In Peace

  19. Jim, Linda and Devin says:

    We miss you, John. You have been such a bright part of our family for so long. Family was verything to him, and everyone was family.

  20. Deidre Ross says:

    My condolences to the family. Coach Chavez was a wonderful man. I don’t think he ever met a stranger it didn’t matter if you didn’t run track or wasn’t in his class. RIP.

  21. Melanie Lott Adams says:

    John was my colleague at Central HS for several years. We shared a room divided by a curtain and he would often open the curtain and the two of us would dance for our studens-who I am sure thought we were crazy. What a great guy he was.

  22. Alecia Lee Kates says:

    Coach Chavez was one of a rare breed! Always an encouragement to be around and a true champion for bringing out the best in people! Loved him in Spanish and Track. Praying for peace and comfort for his family and friends.

  23. James B. Wallerstedt says:

    It was my pleasure and great fortune to work with John at Central High School for 23 years. What a great guy! The kids respected and loved him. He was a very dedicated and generous man who will be missed.

  24. Sue Klingensmith says:

    To Jeannie, Tara, and Tyson, I offer my prayers to you all. John was such a neat guy. I know you will miss him greatly. God bless you in this very difficult time. (Tara, I was your first grade teacher at Bessie Ellison).

  25. Willie and Geraldine Mier says:

    We are proud to have taught at Central with John and appreciaged his teaching and coaching. He accomplished much and will be missed by the many lives he touched. Gods Peace and strength be with you, his family.

  26. Rich Fox says:

    Tyson, Tara and family,
    I loved your dad. I had the privilege of getting to know him when he worked for me at St. Christian. The day he found out I was going through a divorce he came in my office and cried with me. He then reached out his hands and said let me pray for you. Jesus came through your dad that day! I will never forget is genuine love and concern…..I pray that Jesus now reach out to you and wrap his arms around you…..Rich

  27. Gary Marci Conner Loree Hazelrigg says:

    We have lost a great role model for young people. John was a proud family man that always made time to help young students and athletes of any school. He will truly be missed.. God Bless.

  28. Andrea, Richard and family says:

    Coach was not only a great coach, also a caring and giving man. Friend to us as well as teacher to the children and grandchildren. Many good ethics and values passed on to generations. He will be missed. Much sympathy and condolences to your family.
    Coach you are still #1!!!!

  29. Susan R Petty says:

    To Tara, Tyson & Family,
    As you already know your dad was a proud man. He cherished his blessings and held on to them tight. His world was his friends and especially his family. John & I managed to stay in touch throughout the years. My condolence to everyone. He is sadely missed. Until we meet again, John. Love you always.

  30. Nicole (O'Meara) McWilliams says:

    Tara and family,
    I have just learned of your father’s passing. It breaks my heart that he is gone. I don’t like seeing his face in the obituary section; it belongs in the sports section or on the front page with a huge write up on whatever wonderful deed he has done that day.
    Your father was a friend to me. During high school, Senior Chavez was my “AAP” (homeroom) teacher, which meant that I saw him EVERYDAY for an hour. I received advice and encouragement from him that I remember to this day. He had a way of clearing the dark clouds of life to help you see the sun. Teenagers have a way of getting themselves into trouble and Coach Chavez never minded giving time to a kid in need. (Thank You Senior)
    I loved running into him in various places in town and sharing a few minutes about our lives with each other. I enjoyed telling silly stories from that AAP class with my kids and my husband, always reflecting on how great a person he was.
    I will miss his great big smile as he yelled out to me, “HOLA SENIORITA and with my only words of Spanish spoken in reply, HOLA SENIOR”!
    Your father was a wonderful person and I hope that it helps to know how much he meant to others.
    With a world of sympathy,

  31. Greg Hoppe says:

    I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the Chavez family at this most difficult time. I’ve known John since the 1970’s when he was coaching at Central and I was on the track team at Bishop LeBlond. He was my coach during the summer when we went to AAU track meets in Kansas City. He was a great help to me and many others and was always ready to lend you a hand. He will be greatly missed !

  32. Jenny Ideker says:

    Jeannie, Tyson and Tara,
    I first got to know “Coach” when he worked at the Country Club pool. What an amazing man! I think every kid there felt special when they were around him. I know my kids thought the world of him! My youngest daughter has a picture of herself and Coach hanging in her room. She will cherish it always. What a wonderful man. He will be truly missed!

  33. Stephanie Francis and Mary Beth Kerns says:

    We will always remember the kindnesses that John showed to our father, Don Francis, at Central High School. Especially as they worked together in track and field, our dad always spoke highly of him. Our thoughts and prayers will be with your family in the weeks ahead.

  34. Mike Hocking says:

    Coach Chavez was such a great coach. He always had a smile on his face. He coached me in late 1970’s. He will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in Peace Coach.

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