Born Feb. 13, 1940, in Durango, Colo., Leonard is preceded in death by his parents, Jose Amador and Juanita Chavez; sister Ida; and brothers Ben, Joe, Tony and Frank. As the youngest of eight children, Leonard grew up on the family ranch in Caracas, Colo., along the San Juan River in southern Colorado. Leonard and Chris were responsible for the care of the ranch’s goat and sheep herds. They spent their summers deep in the mountains, caring for the livestock. Leonard graduated from Ignacio High School, where he excelled in baseball and football. Len was an avid hunter who had numerous successful elk hunts on the Chavez property.
After moving to Reno, Leonard became a member of Local 971 and began his carpentry career serving a four-year apprenticeship. He received his contractor’s license and created L.A. Chavez Construction Company in 1977. He was a master craftsman who built custom homes throughout Washoe, Lyon and Douglas counties. He was also responsible for numerous commercial and residential renovations during his career. His contracting career ended as his struggle with kidney disease worsened.
Leonard had an intense passion for animals, especially his numerous mini dachshunds that he dearly loved and doted upon over the past 40 years. He also cared deeply for the wild horses of Hidden Valley, especially a mustang he named Prince. It was a common sight to see Leonard standing at the rear of his Subaru with Prince eating from a bale of hay in his trunk.
Leonard is survived by daughters Karen (Toby), Teri; son Lenny (Rachel); brothers Amador and Chris; and grandchildren Nicole, Kyle and Ciara.
Per Leonard’s request, his ashes along with his many departed mini dachshunds will be interred at the Chavez family cemetery in Pagosa Junction, Colo., on April 15 at 12:30 p.m.