Chavez, age 87, a native and life-long resident of San Antonio, Texas,
passed away August 18, 2004, in his home of a heart complication.
Until this recent problem, Eddie was in good health and remained active
in the community and the "accordion world" doing what he
loved - communicating with his many friends over the telephone and
through personal correspondence.
Known for his keen knowledge of the accordion and accordionists all
over the world, Eddie Chavez was aptly referred to as "Mr. Ambassador."
He truly loved to research and answer questions about early accordion
history. Because of his phenomenal recollection of facts and his personal
acquaintance with key accordion artists, he worked for several years
co-authoring a book, The Golden Age of the Accordion, with two of
his accordion friends, Ronald Flynn and Edwin Davison.
Chavez fell in love with the accordion at age 12 after he heard Charles
Magnante play over the radio. This early experience created an intense
love for the magic sound of the accordion that endured throughout
his entire life. His parents purchased him a 12-bass Hohner accordion
that he learned to play by ear. His friends were always amazed that
he could play even the most complicated arrangements by ear.
enlisted in the military in 1941 and served in the U.S. Air Corps
until 1945. During the World War II he flew many missions over enemy
territory and performed many dangerous assignments, including duties
as a tail gunner. He then transferred to the U.S. Army where he was
commissioned as a First Lieutenant. During the Korean War, he worked
in the Counter-Intelligence Division (CID) and fabricated models of
aircraft that were used as visual aids for pilots and soldiers in
the identification of enemy aircraft. His interest in flying and airplanes
can be traced back to the early age of 10 or 11 when he would make
models of all the airplanes that were stationed at Kelly Field, and
he would ask his parents to take him to the base where he sold the
models to make extra money.
was discharged from the military in 1952, with the rank of Captain,
after a distinguished military career. His military awards and decorations
include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal
with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct
Metal, American Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal,
Korean Service Medal with 5 Bronze Service Stars, American Theater
Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, and United Nations Medal.
Upon discharge from the Eddie then joined the U.S. Postal Service
where he worked until he retired at the age of 55 to devote himself
to the avocations of model making and the accordion.
was always one of his greatest traits - a trait that served him well
in his music and model-making. Because of the skills he developed
in the service in making models, he gained national recognition for
his handmade models that are still on display at the famous Nut Tree
Airport and Restaurant near Vacaville, California, at the Smithsonian
Institute in Washington, D.C., and in several private collections
across the United States, including a replica of the historic X-1
experimental jet aircraft that was made exclusively for General Chuck
Yeager. Eddie was also extremely proud of the exact replicas of Charles
Magnante's and Pietro Deiro's accordions that he made for them.
was a charter member of the Texas Accordion Association, the San Antonio
Accordion Club, and an active member of other national accordion organizations.
He was recently inducted as an Honorary Lifetime member of the Texas
Accordion Association for his untiring devotion and personal commitment
in the promotion of the accordion. Eddie loved to attend accordion
conventions where he could meet with his long-time friends and hear
performances by accordion artists from all over the world. Eddie was
preceded in death by his wife, the former Kathryn Moser, who also
loved the accordion and participation in accordion events. He is survived
by one sister, Mrs. Ernestine Stockert and her husband, Herman, and
one brother, Dr. Edmund Chavez. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Ernestine
Stockert, 9031 Hetherington, San Antonio, TX 78240. In keeping with
Eddie's wishes, a simple memorial service will be held on August 28,
2004 at 2 p.m. in Eddie's home at 9019 Hetherington, San Antonio,
TX wherefriends can pay their last respects. In lieu of flowers, the
family requests that donations be made to support the many accordion
organizations across the country that Eddie loved and supported.
Throughout his life, Eddie was known as a caring and giving person,
and was always trying to help anyone who had a problem. Likewise,
so that he could continue to help others through research, he made
the decision several years ago to donate his body to The University
of Texas Health Science Center Medical School in San Antonio, Texas.
This wish was honored, and the medical school accepted his donation
to science, a gift that will indeed benefit future mankind.