Jane Merry Chavez, 92, died at home in Uvalde on January 12, 2022.
Born in Utica, New York in 1929, Jane grew up on her family’s dairy farm. She obtained a degree in Home Economics from Cornell University in 1950 and earned a master’s degree in Child Development from the University of Maryland in 1957. During the 1950s, she worked for the 4-H Club in upstate New York as a county extension agent.
In 1960, she moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and married Geronimo “Jerry” Chavez, whose career with various U.S. government agencies focused on agricultural education and youth development. In 1969, the family moved to San Salvador, El Salvador. In both locations, Jane taught home economics skills to Peace Corps volunteers, county extension personnel, and rural homemakers.
In 1974, the Chavez family moved to Uvalde where, in addition to raising four children, Jane was an active community volunteer. With Jerry, she advocated for the disabled by leading a Rainbow 4-H club and starting a Special Olympics chapter. She volunteered as a college/academic counselor to junior high and high school students, many of whom gained admission to prestigious colleges and universities. Jane also wrote a column in El Uvalde Times about education. She was a collector of indigenous South, Central and North American art and artifacts, an archaeology buff, and a frequent domestic and international traveler.
Jane was pre-deceased by her husband. She is survived by her children Linda Chavez (Juan Salcedo) of Long Beach, California; Merry Anderson (Brian) of Washington, D.C.; Sandra Bellew (Porter) of Bethesda, Maryland; and Luis Chavez of Uvalde, and by two sisters and seven grandchildren.
Services will be on May 3, 2022 (rosary at 9:30 am, funeral mass at 10:00 am) at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, followed by interment at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation (texas4hfoundation.org), Hispanic Scholarship Fund (1411 W 190th Street, Suite 700, Gardena, CA 90248, hsf.net), or the charity of your choice.