Chavez' mother passed away when he was eight. His father, a Methodist pastor, raised Chavez, together with two brothers and two sisters, in Socorro New Mexico and in Douglas, Arizona. Chavez graduated from New Mexico Tech in 1935 with a degree in mining engineering. He became Chief Chemist at the Ground Hog Mine in Vanadium, New Mexico. In 1942 he left New Mexico to goin Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego as a structural test engineer.
In 1953 he was assigned to the new Atlas ICBM program. Chavez began as the planner for the captive firing tests and training facilities, and eventually became a test conductor at the Atlas Sycamore facility. He retired in 1975.
Birth Place: Hillsboro, New Mexico.