Obituary: María de Gracia Macias Chavez
María de Gracia Macias Chavez
1923 - 2023
On November 6, lifetime Verde Valley resident and family matriarch, María de Gracia Macias Chavez (née Contreras), passed into the arms of her Lord and Savior.
She celebrated her 100th birthday on June 9th of this year.
María was born in 1923 in the smelter town of Clarkdale to Julio and Concepción Contreras. In 1923 the population of Arizona was 371,000 (now 7.4 million).
María entered the world when eggs were 13 cents per dozen, King Tut’s tomb and the original Yankee Stadium opened in New York. She was child number three of twelve siblings.
Maria graduated from Clarkdale High School in 1943 when World War II was underway and everyday items such as gasoline, canned food, meat, shoes, cheese, butter, and cooking oils were rationed. In fact, sliced bread was temporarily banned for wartime conservation. And eggs had risen to the cost of 57 center per dozen (or $8.45 in today’s dollars.)
María moved to California where her first job was packing peanuts.
In California she met Guillermo Navarro Chavez and married him in 1947. Soon after, four children, Clemente, Theresa, Andrew and Ernest came along.
The family life in California consisted of the Howdy Doody Show in the morning and frequent trips to Arizona for family gatherings. María was a resolute poker player where she dominated the table.
After retiring, María and Guillermo returned to Arizona.
Guillermo passed away in 1994. Maria worked as a volunteer at the Verde Senior Citizen Center for ten years where she was awarded a Volunteer Certificate.
Throughout her century, she grew the Chavez family with four children, nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
A Rosary will be held for María on Monday, November 20, 6:00 pm at Westcott Funeral Home.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Tuesday, November 21, 1 p.m., at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Mass time will be listed at www.westcottfuneralhome.com. Interment and Reception to follow after.
Information provided by the family.