Remembering Richard Chavez: Richard Chavez, 81, Cesar’s younger brother, helped build the UFW from its earliest days. Please read and post your personal memories.

Richard Chavez proudly displaying a lug of grapes emblazoned with the union label from the Larson ranch in California's Coachella Valley, which had just signed a UFW contract in 1970, after 5 years of strikes & boycotts. ***NOTE: This photo may not be reproduced without the permission of the photographer, Bob Fitch.

They grew up during the Depression, inseparable and as close as brothers can be on their small family homestead in the North Gila River Valley outside Yuma, Ariz. When the family lost the farm, they became migrant farm workers and labored beside each other as children in California’s fields, orchards and vineyards in the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1960s, Richard Chavez, then a journeymen carpenter, was dedicating most of his free time after work and on weekends helping his brother, Cesar Chavez, organize what would become the United Farm Workers of America.

Richard Chavez spent the next three decades working full time with the farm worker movement. He suddenly passed away at 81, of complications from surgery in a Bakersfield hospital on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

He designed the stylized black Aztec eagle that later became the union’s world-renowned symbol in 1962. The next year, Cesar convinced Richard to put up his house as collateral for a loan to start a credit union for farm workers. In 1966, Richard gave up carpentry to dedicate all of his time to the movement, earning $5 a week like Cesar and other movement staff. He was the first full time staff person for the non-profit organization that is now the Cesar Chavez Foundation, providing extensive social services to farm workers.

Richard was born in 1929, two years after his brother, Cesar, on the family homestead near Yuma. The two brothers left farm labor in 1949, spending a year working together in lumber mills around Crescent City, Calif. In 1950, Richard moved back to San Jose, where in 1951 he entered the carpenters union apprenticeship program. He worked as a framer building suburban housing tracks before moving to Delano. There he worked on both commercial and residential projects, including schools and freeway overpasses. Richard began his activism with Cesar in the Community Service Organization, then the most effective Latino civil rights group in California, in 1952, and was president of the Delano CSO chapter, which he also helped form.

His varied duties with the UFW over the years included long stretches organizing the farm workers’ successful boycotts of California table grapes and other products in New York and Detroit during the 1960s and ’70s. He was in charge of administrating union contracts in 1970, and later negotiated UFW agreements and oversaw union bargaining. Richard was first elected to the UFW executive board in 1973. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, he also oversaw construction and helped build most of the major structures on the farm workers’ “Forty Acres” complex outside Delano, including its coop gas station, union office and hall, and health clinic.

Richard retired from the union in 1983, but always remained very active with the movement, fulfilling public speaking engagements and serving as an active board member of both the Cesar Chavez Foundation and Dolores Huerta Foundation. He also worked building and rehabilitating multi- and single-family housing, including affordable housing projects for the Chavez foundation, in the 1980s. He obtained his state contractors license and built a large housing community in Tehachapi and custom homes in Los Angeles during the 1990s. A dedicated researcher of his family’s history, Richard was the driving force behind a two-day Chavez family reunion that in October 2010 gathered more than 300 family members from across the nation and around the world at the National Chavez Center at Keene, Calif., where his brother is buried.

Chavez foundation President Paul F. Chavez and UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez expressed shock and condolences to all members of Richard Chavez’s family.

Richard had six children with his first wife, Sally Chavez: Richard Jr (who preceded him in death), Frederico, Dorothy, Rebecca, Susana and Guadalupe. He had four children with his long-time partner, Dolores Huerta: Juana, Ricky, Maria Elena and Camilia.

Funeral services are as follows:

* Sunday at 7 p.m. there will be a procession from the Agbayani Villiage on the grounds of the farm workers’ “Forty Acres” complex at the corner of Garces Hwy. and Mettler Ave. just west of Delano to the union hall in the Roy Ruether building, also at the Forty Acres for a Rosary and an all-night vigil.

* On Monday at 9 a.m. a Mass of the Resurrection will be held (9am to 11 am) at 40 acres (31068 Garces Hwy., Delano, CA) immediately followed by a reception (11 am to 3 pm).

– end –

*** Richard’s legacy has affected so many people. We ask that you please share your personal memories of  Richard with us by leaving a “reply” below. Viva Richard Chavez!

We have also put together a flickr photo group.  If you are a flickr member please join our group and add your photos at:

News clips on Richard Chavez can be found at:


245 Responses to Remembering Richard Chavez: Richard Chavez, 81, Cesar’s younger brother, helped build the UFW from its earliest days. Please read and post your personal memories.

  1. Roberto Garcia says:

    Richard Chavez was truly a great champion for the working people of this nation! Viva Richard Chavez!

  2. Sylvia Abeytia Whitman says:

    It is with a heavy heart the Abeytia family sends it’s condolences to the Richard Chavez family.

  3. Thomas says:

    While I have not known Richard Chavez personally, I have read about his work on the flag! A remarkable design that truly has become a symbol for activism, peace and justice.

  4. George Apostol says:

    In gratitude for Richard Chavez, whose efforts benefited my family, in heaven, Delano, and all across the central valley. Gracias! SI SE PUEDE!

  5. llucho says:

    Muchisimas gracias por su honorable vida y servicio a un gran amigio y ser humano.

  6. Vicente Mejia says:

    Thank you Richard Chavez for what you have done.

  7. Sara says:

    Rest in peace, Richard! Viva la causa!!!

  8. I had the privilege of working with Richard on the Delano Clinic and with him at La Paz while I lived with Cesar, before the family moved there. He was quite a man and FUNNY! My condolences to the family and all who are suffering due to his passing. Kevin M Brown

  9. Eduardo Jose says:

    Gracias por el esfuerzo, trabajo, y unidad que dejastes a nuestros campesinos…Si Se Puede!!!

  10. laurel says:

    Grateful to Richard Chavez and all his loved ones—together making his life remarkable. Thinking of Chavez’ impact on our world—as he passes into another.

  11. Que Viva Richard Chavez y la aguila negra de las causa de la gente – desde Denver, Colorado. Pesame a toda la familia – que la lucha sigue con un paso para adelante!!!

  12. Emily Montan says:

    Lo siento much a la familia de Richard Chavez. It was your family that drew me to California but Cesar died the year I arrived. !Que lastima! The work Richard and Cesar did for la causa will continue to make ripples in the water for workers every where. !Si se puede!

    Emily Montan

  13. Gema Godina-Martinez says:

    Descanse en paz Richard. Nuestras condolencias de parte de la familia Martinez, en Sacramento, CA.

  14. Jim Cassell says:

    I was so happy to see Richard on a cold weekend in November
    at LaPaz.
    Richard came by himself to be interviewed for a documentary and at the same time we went over our experiences during the early
    days of the union and the benefits I produced..
    He was such a down to earth guy and truly enjoyed this later time in his life.
    He loved to watch football ; work for Dolores and the Union, do carpentry and stay in touch with so many people.
    I am glad I was able to share some time with him.He loved showing us around La Paz.

    Jim Cassell

  15. Jorge Lopez says:

    Richard Chavez was a great inspiration and a great teacher. As college organizers who went to La Paz to learn about the legacy of Chavez and to learn how to build a movement of support through a college student committee in San Diego, the United Farm Workers Support Committee from SDSU in the late 1990s.

    My deepest condolences and prayers go out to the family.

  16. Rebeca Sanchez says:

    Self sacrifice and service to others such as that of Richard is NEVER forgotten. His life, legacy, and contribution live on.
    In humble gratitude for Richard and those who continue his work adn go un-named.

  17. Richard was a wonderful man who devoted his life to others. He was soft-spoken, so I don’t think that many people understand how important he was to the farmworkers movement. I count myself fortunate to have known and worked with him.

  18. Richard invited me to play golf with him a couple of years ago – in July in Arvin – 107 degree heat at 4:30 in the afternoon! I thought we would play maybe 9 holes and I would beat him and that would be the end of it. Well, at the end of nine holes and still 107 degrees, I was ahead by one but quite heat-stroked and ready to go home. He wet his bandana, tied it around his head and headed for #10. I dragged myself along after the senior citizen and an hour and a half later he beat me by 2 strokes. That was Richard. I will miss him.
    My prayers go out to his family.

  19. Lorena Alvarado says:

    Rest in Peace Mr. Richard Chavez. Thank you for all that you have done. Everyone in Heaven is so blessed to have you there. But Your legacy will live on here on earth…

  20. Luciano Crespo says:

    My most vived memory of Richard Chavez was during a collective bargaining meeting representing the farm workers in at a San Fransico law firm called Letler and Mendleson ,a law firm known for its anti-Union work .Richard Chavez was able to represent the farm workers with sharpe knowledge of the agricultural industry in a focus and bold style amidst some angry and hostle lawyers representing the growers. You inspired me ….Richard ……

    Luciano Crespo, Coachella, Ca

  21. Cheryl says:

    Rest in peace Richard. You are a great man. Heaven has a place for you.

  22. Fr. Louis Vitale,. says:

    As a Franciscan I feel that the Chavez Family and our Franciscan Province in the Southwest were part of the same family. We shared through many years with Cesar, Richard and other members of the Chavez family and dynamic organization. It has been a great honor and pleasure to know and share with them this historic struggle. We have shared prayers with the family for so many years our gratitude and prayers are very much with the family at this time.
    Friar Louis Vitale, O.F.M.

  23. The world has lost a very sincere human being. What was the Cause is even more important today than ever before because of the heightened levels of HATE towards the Immigrant in todays ledgers. You have served La Gente in many special ways.
    May you rest in Peace Richard Chavez……
    God Bless You and Yours in these days of reflection and sorrow.
    Que Viva La Causa y La Familia Chavez !

  24. Andrea Chavez Castro says:

    I just want to thank everyone for their kind words. I loved my Tata so much, but never truly understood the impact he had on others. It’s heartwarming to read all your comments. I will miss him dearly. I love you Tata! Rest in peace….Love, Andrea and Mia

  25. Windy says:

    I never met Richard Chavez.
    I’ve never worked for UFW.
    I am a union member and I thank Mr Chavez for all his hard work over the years to help unionize and to help keep unions strong.
    As individuals we nearly always lose to corporations.
    When we speak with a united voice corporations have to listen.
    Go union!

  26. Ira Jinkins says:

    My condolences to Richard’s family and friends.

  27. Lisa E. Sanchez says:

    Much appreciation to Richard Chavez for his sacrifices in making life better for Chicanos. RIP.

  28. Doug Adair says:

    My first contact with Richard was in the early days, when Richard and his family had a telephone in their home in Delano and neither Cesar nor Dolores had a phone, and the only way to contact Cesar when the office was closed was to call Richard’s number… a carpenter and builder who was moving his family up into the middle class through work with his hands…. Cesar apparently chose Delano to base the NFWA because Richard was there, as was Helen’s family, the Fabelas, a source for help while the Association was trying to get established….
    Later, in 1968, when I came back from Texas to start up the California edition of El Malcriado again, we were given a tiny office on the 40 Acres, just beginning to be developed, the Clinic folk in residence in a series of trailers, the only other staff out there. Richard had come on staff, and was there building the gas station, planting trees (digging the holes, putting in the saplings, and then tending and watering them through those early summers)…. The gas station was a physical work of art, and the idea totally at the core of what the union was about , serving the workers, — the discounted gas, but also the mechanic bays and tools, the hope to offer classes in auto repair, to offer a place where farm workers could work on their cars with tools and books and expert advice available…. cars being such a critical part of the migrant life…

    When Cesar started the fast, he moved into the almost finished gas station, which became transformed, by the masses and singing and spiritual atmosphere. But Richard’s work was so far-sighted and done with such care that its new role seemed perfectly natural, the thick adobe walls, the quiet and cool atmosphere, Cesar’s cubical (a walk-in closet or storage room, but now, with a cot, like a simple room for quiet retreat)…. as easily filling the role of spiritual center as of oil and gas and auto mechanics…

    I never worked closely with Richard but I thought of him as practical, feet on ground, “what can be done, what is possible” when he ran the Delano field office under the 1970-73 contracts or came down to help us in contract negotiations or in the workings of the various campaigns…. a worker and a champion of workers in the finest sense of the word….

    May he rest in peace. Viva la Causa, Doug Adair, Thermal

  29. Linda DiMario says:

    I met Richard when I was a college student picketing in front of Safeways! Seems like another lifetime ago and his passing brought it all back. What a difference he made in people’s lives and isn’t that our purpose on this earth? God bless and thank you for your service to humanity.

  30. I’m sadden to hear of Richard Chavez’s death,I knew him and Cesar very well because i was a Farm Labor worker and involved in the struggle for better wages and better working conditions,from the HENANDEZ family we send our condolences to the Chavez family.

  31. All that is good, encouraging on the planet is a reflection of Richard Chavez. Because of their unity, their driving force from the heart to – “A la Pala” workers lives improved. These were (sacrifices) changes that really have made a difference.

    Their work tremendously encouraged my parents.

    in Union, eternal peace para los dos hermanos tan lindos,
    de parte de Jose y Juanita Rea y familia
    Corpus Christi Texas

  32. patricia brown says:

    I only had the privilege of meeting Mr. Chavez once, In Fresno during Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency. But it was an honor to have met a pioneer of the Civil rights movement like him. He will be missed, but forever remembered.–Patricia Brown, Esq., Fresno

  33. My dad farmed a 20 acre raisin ranch in Fowler for 40 years and my grandpa farmed 50. In the early 70s, due to mistreatment of farm workers by big agribusiness, we found our vineyard boycotted and strikers surrounding our house shouting “JUELGA! JUELGA!” My mother, being Spanish, spoke with the striking workers, explaining our plight as small farmers struggling because of big business’ practices. My father had already made cold water and restroom facilities available and my grandfather provided comfortable accommodations at night at his ranch during harvest.

    What little work I did in the fields made me respect and admire the workers all the more. Those evenings at grandpa’s house singing and dancing with the workers relaxing after a hard day in the sun made memories I’ll have all my life.

    I became an online member of the UFW while living in Florida and am now back in the valley and continue my support.

    Though the Chavez family were considered “enemies” of big agribusiness during my childhood, their legacy makes them heroes in my book. That two men standing strong together could make such a difference to so many people is testament that Si se puede! aren’t just hollow words in a hollow phrase. YES! We ALL can when the cause is right and our heart is in the right place.

    Rest in peace, Richard. Job well done. Life lived righteously.
    Danny Gonsalves
    Fresno, California
    (born and raised in Fowler, California)

  34. Darcy Wright says:

    Thank you, Richard Chavez. Thank you for a lifetime of work and sacrifice. May you rest in peace.

  35. Connie Lara says:

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication! I will always remember you as a kind, polite man.God Bless You Richard.

  36. Liz from Madison, Wisconsin says:

    Sending good thoughts to Richard’s family and colleagues — he accomplished so many good things. I met him once, when he talked with my 6th grade daughter about the UFW’s non-violent protest methods and the ongoing importance of the labor movement. It meant a lot that Richard took time for a young student.

  37. Richard Chavez was truly a man of courage and wisdom who fought tirelessly for the rights of farm workers. We thank you, Richard, and we will never forget you.

  38. Jim and Evelyn Dette says:

    I don’t have personal memories of Richard, but I have memories of the UFW and the box Richard is carrying. In 1967 my family returned from Ecuador where I had worked with the trade unions. I was immediately attracted to the farm workers’ struggle. From our home in Weehawken, NJ we supported the struggle wherever could, e.g. with contributions and we stopped drinking Gallo Wine. I don’t think I’ve had any since. I was so overjoyed the first time I saw a case of grapes with the union label on the box that I got the empty case from the market. I still have the wooden end piece with the union label. When I saw Richard’s picture, I went over to the bookcase where I keep my box and admired it anew.
    SI! Se puedes!
    Jim and Evelyn Dette


    A toda la familia de Ricardo Chávez y a la gran familia Chávez.
    Mi más sentido pésame a todos ustedes con amor y nun gran sentimiento de acompñamiento desde el Distrito Federal.
    ¡Los amo!

    Ex-voluntaria de UFW
    María Elena Contreras Domínguez

  40. Pari says:

    Viva Richard Chavez!

  41. Angelina says:

    Your work here on this earth is now done .May you rest in peace Richard .Sincere condolences to the Family

  42. Angelina says:

    your work on this earth is now done .May you rest in peace Richard .Sincere condolences to the Family

  43. Rael Nidess, M.D. says:

    I didn’t know Richard but honor his memory. To his family: Estoy muy apesadumbrado para su pérdida y a la pueblo:
    ¡Viva Richard Chávez!
    ¡Viva Cesar Chávez!
    ¡Viva UFW!

  44. Alejandro Murillo Gaeta says:

    Ricardo Chavez fue, es, y sera por siempre parte de la columna de apoyo que hizo possible la fundacion de la union de los campesinos que fue establecida bajo el liderasgo de Cesar. Cesar es un titan y su liderasgo fue possible porque siempre estubo en los hombros de gigantes como Ricardo, y Dolores Huerta. Ricardo nos deja toda una vida de ejemplo a seguir para participar en el proyecto de la vida y sus retos para conseguir la justicia e igualdad politica, social y economica.
    Mientras que exista la union de los campesions, y esa union continue luchando por el bien collectivo, la memoria de titanes como Ricardo o Cesar jamas moriran.
    No se deve de sufrir por la perdida de la vida bien vivida de Ricardo. Se deve recordar con amor, carino y respeto por todo lo que en vida hizo por otros. Y sobre todo, vidas como las de Ricardo son dignas a ser imitadas. Se ha ido un titan mas a descansar pero pronto estaremos junto a ellos. Ricardo nos ha dejado huellas grandisimas a seguir y para no perdernos.
    Hacia adelante!
    – Alejandro Murillo Gaeta

  45. Ruby Medrano says:

    How lucky to have known Richard and Cesar Chavez, helping the UFW put meaning in my life. I will never forget Richard’s kindness after my mother passed. I think he was in Chicago when he heard of my mothers passing and came back to LA..and designed her coffin. He gave so much to this life. I will miss you very much.
    Ruby Medrano
    Los Angeles

  46. David Super says:

    Richard was a wonderful, kind man as well as a great champion of la causa. I met him when Cesar sent him to lead the Michigan Boycott in 1973. I was just 14 at the time and helping to lead the Boycott in Ann Arbor. He easily could have dismissed me because of my age and inexperience. Yet he always listened carefully to me, showed me great respect, and spent a great deal of time teaching and encouraging me. On two occasions many years later when I saw him speak, he remembered me and went out of his way to greet and acknowledge me. I am very sad that he is gone and deeply grateful for all of his kindness and mentoring.

  47. Richard Chavez vive en el corazon de todos los campesinos para siempre , su vida fue un ejemplo de trabajo constante en bien de los derechos de los trabajadores . Un Lider un hombre que dejo las
    huellas de un simbolo de constante lucha para el beneficio de sus companeros. Sigamos su ejemplo para no dejar de seguir sus pasos en la dura faena que representa el futuro y que no quede en el olvido por lo que el lucho con tanto amor y dedicacion.

  48. lalo alcaraz says:

    My heartfelt condolences from myself and my familia.
    Lalo Alcaraz

  49. F. Goodrich says:

    I never knew Richard, and yet I wish to say – bless his heart for the work he did along with his brother Cesar. May he rest in peace.

  50. Skye Coe says:

    Mahalo Nui from Hawai’i. The world is touched and inspired by someone who’s love has left a lifetime legacy for others to emulate!

  51. Suzan Still says:

    I never had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Richard Chavez, but I know of his work and consider him to be one of the great men of our time, selfless, committed and highly principled. In view of this loss, we all have the duty to stand a little taller, to do a little more, and to remember every day what it means to be fully human. Rest in peace, Richard Chavez, you have done well!
    With deepest respect and love,
    Suzan Still

  52. Esther says:


  53. Padre Ken Irrgang says:

    I was honored and inspired to have known Richard Chavez during my time with the United Farm Workers at La Paz from 1977 to 1989.
    I extend my sympathy and heartfelt prayers to all his loved ones.
    May Richard rest in peace and may all his loved ones be consoled in their grief.

  54. megatronpp says:

    I did not know Richard Chavez personally. All I know was that in the 60s all the way away in NY state, my friends and I knew about the grape boycott and the great work of Richard and his brother. The Chavez movement and its leaders have always been a source of inspiration for me and when I taught on the southern campus of the University of New Mexico, I made sure that the students knew and studied literature about the movement and its heros and heroines. I send my gratitude for Richard to his spirit and to his family.

  55. Marquitte says:

    I never knew Richard Chavez, GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY.

  56. Eve Segal says:

    I mourn a very great man.

  57. Jane Averill says:

    I remember Richard from the Boycott office in New York City. He was warm and funny and a pleasure to be around. My condolences to Dolores and his children.

  58. Chris Miilu says:

    I remember Cesar Chavez who was a hero to everyone I knew in Berkeley and San Francisco. We all boycotted grapes so long that we lost track. Amazing what two men could do; none of us knew them, but we followed the cause and donated and picketed Safeway. Safeway responded and and removed the grapes from their stores. What else could they do in the face of such courage and such outrage. Cesar and Richard Chavez leave a legacy of honor and manliness. Thank you for allowing us to post to their memory.

  59. harry340 says:

    I never knew Richard Chavez, GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY.

  60. As a former UFW employee and life long 2nd generation solidarist of the UFW, I would like to send my sympathy to the Chavez family. The commitment and vision of Richard Chavez and the Chavez family has not only changed the quality of life for many men, women and children, but also the solidarity of so many followers. The black eagle is a peace symblol, a community symbol and a humanitarian symbol. Many thanks and prayers, may God recieve you with the same love we have. Amen.

    • Aunnie says:

      I still don’t buy grapes after all these years. It seems to me things haven’t changed enough to support the growers. Cesar and Richard dedicated their lives to bring awareness of the plight of farmworkers, as well as the pesticides and herbicides used that harm them and us as consumers of produce. I agree with Sabrina that it’s the solidarity that gives the farmworkers some power to wield (along with the union UFW). My heartfelt prayers go out to the family and everyone who has been touched by this amazing dedication of the Chavez brothers.

  61. Susan Boshoven says:

    I only knew him through his hija Juana since we both worked together as bilingual teachers of recent immigrants at Mission HS in San Francisco. I can say that the spirit of service to the community that he represents, I will continue to perpetuate in my teaching at Mission HS in the Chavez tradition.

  62. Narciso L. Aleman says:

    Extiendo mi simpatia y pesares a la familia del Sr. Richard Chavez. We have suffered a great loss. The balance of the firmament will be restored. I had the opportunity to observe and participate in the efforts of organizing, mobilizing and promoting the grape boycott in New York City, where I was teaching at the time in 1974-1975. It was my pleasure to see and work with los Companeros Richard y Dolores and their family in New York. Peace be with you.

  63. Bill Monning says:

    Dana and I were saddened to learn of Richard’s passing. Richard and Fred Ross Sr. recruited Dana to the boycott from Boston. I worked with Richard during the 1973 strike in Delano and later on the Gallo campaigns and the Gallo ALRB hearings in Merced and Fresno. Richard was a gem of a human being. I saw him about a year ago in Sacramento at a labor breakfast and he continued to project that same wonderful smile and compassion for all. Our hearts go out to all of the family. Richard applied his craftsmanship as a carpenter to building the union…board by board, nail by nail, building by building, worker by worker…. Richard’s spirit will live strong among all who knew and loved him. VIVA RICHARD CHAVEZ! Bill Monning and Dana Kent

  64. Bernice Requenez says:

    I can’t say I knew Richard Chavez he was very quiet in the way he went about the work he had to do. But there can be no doubt that he made a great contribution to the labor movement.
    Les mando mi pessame a su familia y espero que Dios les bendiga con sus requerdos de su ser querido. Que “VIVA LA CAUSA!”

    Su amiga Bernice Rincon Requenez

  65. thyme council y familia says:

    this beautiful, beautiful, generous, one-of-a-kind human being is ONE of the countless reasons i am truly Honored and Humbled and Blessed every time i am so priviledged to eat food of this Earth from God..Manna..which me and my family would not have without the devotion, dedication, and sacrifice Given by migrant, immigrant, 1st & 2nd Generation farmers and their families. please put me down as one of the many, many Alabamians who are only further embarrassed and humiliated at our newly-appointed ‘anti-immigration laws’ by the passing on of his spirit. we will continue to fight for everyone’s human rights and truly do what Jesus would have us do. Prayers and gratitude to his friends and family. Love never dies.

  66. Esther says:

    !Si se puede!

    Thank You, Familia Chavez and May God Bless You All!

    Esther From: San Antonio, Texas

  67. Mi deeply condolences to Richard family and Dolores Huerta from Armando Garcia. I was the editor of El Malcriado and Food and Justice between 1985-1987 in Keene, CA. The last time I saw Richard was in San Antonio, TX in 2002.
    Viva Cesar-Viva Ricardo

  68. Argentina Dávila-Luévano and Angel Luévano says:

    Our condolences and prayers are with Dolores, their children and the family. We remember Richard when he walked into one of our California LULAC La Paz Board Retreat in 2008. Richard sat with us, ate with us and provided a historical walk into the struggles of his life, that of Cesar Chavez, the Union and the farmworker movement!

    I remember the smiles, the laughter and the pictures taken as he shared those special moments in time. Richard a humble man gave us so much into the humanitarian struggles of a people he so loved! Richard, we will always remember you and your resting place at beautiful La Paz. May you truly be peaceful and surrounded by the thought that you a warrior on this earth gave your life for the common good of man!

    I, and those of us from LULAC send you heartfelt gratitude for all that you did for the farmworkers! Your memory is etched in our hearts forever!


    “The valiant have fallen and the lances of battle are lowered in
    grief. Almighty God, we beseech Thy Blessings upon all the
    loved ones of our departed Brother Richard and pray that through
    Your divine mercy, their grief may be consoled.

    Bless the leaders of our community, our State and our Nation. May the memory of our departed Brother Richard serve as an inspiration to those of us who live and pursue that which is acceptable in Your sight; may it encourage us to seek ways to improve the lives of our fellow men and may it instill courage, light, determination and hope.”


    Argentina Dávila-Luévano and Angel Luévano
    Antioch, California – July 28, 2011 at 6:21 p.m.

  69. One more Chavez is dead.We lost Cesar years ago and now his brother.The Chavez family extends beyond the USA or Mexico.Of course I am thinking of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who just had a bout with cancer in Cuba as it was rumored.Rest in Peace and in Spanish Gloria a Richard Chavez( Viva porque estara en nuestra memoria),Gloria porque he went to the descanso eterno where we are all going day by day.

  70. I first met Richard in the summer of 1966 during the DiGiorgio strike…when I was coordinating the International Grape Boycott with my husband Jerry Brown.

    Richard’s quiet strength was always present–quietly helping to assure that the work got done–never with fanfare–always with grace and dignity.

    I will miss you Richard—now that both you and Cesar have passed into the realm of the Great Mystery. I offer my condolences to Dolores and to the whole Chavez family.

    Con mucho cariño,
    Juanita Brown

  71. daniel duran says:

    we,lost another great person, in the chavez familia…as we, are reminded, don’t let our dreams end in a memory. continue, the dream and support “la causa”! richard chavez, you’ll always be a part of the dream of cesar chavez. thank you….R.I.P.

  72. Greg Adams says:

    I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours sitting in the grass with him and Roman Penal last month at the California State capital. Even at 51 I felt humbled in his presence and I found that he was warm, friendly and gracious person. We were both there in suport of UFW bill SB104, he had given a great speech earlyer. We talked a little politics and agreed that our country and domocracy was in in more trouble than it has been in a long time. Then story of how the UFW simbol was made came up and Roman got him to tell it to me while I videod it. Unfrotunatly my iPod battery ran out right at the end but I saved it and posed it any way because the story is a part of history. It is an afternoon I will always cerish and never forget.

    I also have Video of his speach eariyer in the day.

  73. Sher Sheldon says:


  74. Victor Magana says:

    I never knew Richard, but I did have the wonderful experience of being an extra on the UFW documentary, “Viva La Causa”. I got to know some of the veterans of the movement, and learned a lot from talking to them. The struggle for social and economic justice never ends. As the old standard bearers fall, new ones must be raised to take their place.

  75. Mike Matejka says:

    This might seem trite, but it showed the humanity of this good man. Back in the 1970s and 80s, when he would come to Chicago and when we were attempting to start a farmworker organizing effort in Onarga, Illinois, in the nursery fields, Richard would always confide to me that whenever he headed back to California he always had to bring a “real Chicago pizza” on the plane back with him, because his children did not think California pizza made it. I always remembered that, thinking about family and children in the midst of all the struggles and efforts. Que Viva!

  76. Patricia Krommer C.S.J. says:

    Richard was a stalwart of the movement. He is enjoying the fruits of his labors. May he rest in God’s peace. S

  77. Fred Hirsch says:

    Dear Chavez family, Dolores, Sisters, Brothers, Friends and Comrades,

    I knew Richard as a thoughtful, man with an experience laden, hand-wrought loyalty to workers.

    We were both construction workers. As such we shared a special approach to work and to fellow workers. The word camaraderie describes it best. We were, in that sense, and in the context of the Union, comrades.

    I was delighted when Richard invited me to work on the forty acres project and do the plumbing. He showed me the prints which described the project motif to be built within the Stations of the Cross. I couldn’t reconcile building a church concept into the Union with the reason that our family came to live and work in Delano. We were there to help organize and build a union, not a church.

    Richard and I were very much in disagreement that day, but from that day forward we built a strong, warm and respectful friendship.

    He did beautiful work on the project and, for all I could see as a non-participant, ran the job smoothly, with the greatest respect for the workers.

    Richard was a very intelligent, good man who always said what was on his mind. He stood firmly for his ideas and worked loyally for the Union.

    Yes, “It’s the union makes us strong” – and Richard, with his hands, heart and head, in profound dignity and modesty, made the Union strong.

    We’ll all miss him deeply.

    Fred Hirsch

  78. Julio Cesar Guerrero says:

    It’s a sad day for the movement
    I met Richard in the early 80’s while developing KUFW for Cesar
    Richard was the type of support every organization needs to succeed. He was the driving force behind many projects and yet unassuming and down to earth. He was a hard worker, smart, funny a great story teller and a great public speaker too (something I learned after I left the union). Richard was definitely like the shadow every tall tree gives.
    I remember one time we spent most of the day together on a Radio related project and at the end of the hot summer day we drove back to La Paz/ Keene and on the way he picked up a six pack and a couple of steaks and as tired as he was he invited me over to his apartment
    I remember as I sat at the table I saw him chop onions and heard the steaks sizzle and had the best steak dinner with beer.
    I still make it a point to celebrate most long hard days with steak and cold beer
    Richard Chavez……….. Presente !!!

  79. Maggie Beddow & Maya DeLeon, Sacramento, CA says:

    We met Richard at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at John McFadden’s home in Sacramento. He was such a kind, humble man who may have stood mostly in the background, but who contributed so much to our civil rights movement. Dolores Huerta and Camilla were so generous in their time to conduct an interview with my daughter for her class documentary on Dolores Huerta. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family.

    Maggie Beddow & Maya DeLeon, Sacramento, CA

  80. Cynthia Bell says:

    I will always remember Richard telling history/stories about the early years of UFW Movement…he had a passion for this and what a wonderful story teller he was, I loved the ones he told about Manuel Chavez, those were the best! I saw him last year in Delano, and he still had the passion and wit, never lost it….Young at heart and with that Chavez twinkle in his eyes! Que descanses in Paz mi Hermano…..

  81. Jamaka Petzak says:

    Sending my deepest condolences to the Chavez family and praying they will find comfort in this time of loss, knowing their loved one has helped so many and done so much good in this world.

  82. Letty says:

    My condolences to the entire Chavez family and letting them know that I am forever grateful for all they have done for the farm workers. May he rest in peace.

  83. Katie Cooper Parrish says:

    I add my prayers and good thoughts to the ocean of compassion and love surrounding Richard and his family. Though I did not meet Richard personally, I continue to be inspired by his sacrifices for the greater good. I met his brother Cesar when I was a young student, volunteering for UFW.

    Peace and condolences to the family.

  84. While working in Denver with former St. Thomas Theological Seminary, I helped the young college students from mid-west academic schools boycotting stores by lending them my car. I later received a real nice thank you letter from a union director named Padilla. It was a small contribution from me to help nuestra gente, familia, y la union y sus trabajadores. Santos C. Vega

  85. TC says:

    A wonderful human being

  86. Jennifer Sookne says:

    I first met Richard and Dolores at the New York City boycott house in the early 70’s. He was a kind and gentle man. My love and condolences to Dolores, the children and the extended family. This world is a better place because he lived.

  87. John G Zamora, Founding President U S H Chamber of Commerce says:

    God Bless the efforts of Ricard Chavez and his dedication to improve the lives of the Farm workers in the United states. The message was heard around the world, that the inhuman treatment of farm workers would no longer be tolerated or go unnoticed. I was blessed to have met the Chavez family in San Jose, California and have always regarded them as my friends. As a member of a family that slaved as farm workers in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s I can say an angel went to haven, rest in peace my friend, your mission in this world was well done and you will be remember as a friend with honor.

  88. Juan Parrino says:

    In the 1970’s, as a member of San Diegans Por La Huelga, I organized with Richard’s daughters Becki and Susie. My heart goes out to them and the Chavez family, Dolores and all the sisters and brothers of the UFW.

    Que Viva Richard! Que Viva La Causa!

    Juan Parrino, Los Angeles

  89. Timothy Rodriguez says:

    God Bless You Richard and thank you for your lifelong commitment to bring justice and awareness to the plight of the Campesino.
    Que Viva La Causa!

    Rest in Peace!

    Timothy Rodriguez and Family (Whittier,CA.)

  90. Saldana-Fountain, El Paso, TX says:

    Que La Santisima Trinidad te proteja a ti y Cesar. May our community grow in hubleness.

  91. I didn’t know Richard Chavez personaly.The first time I meet this great labor leader when i was only 12 years old.I meet him at Oxnard while i was helping my Dad picking crops. The second time i had the opportunity to speak with Richard in a Fundraiser for Cesar Chavez Founation. I must spoke with him in the fundraiser for 30 mintues or more. I share stories with Richard Chavez about the struggles and injustice of the farm workers.We talk about what crops was the hardest to pick.Richard had a great sense of humor.I was 56 years old since last time i spoke with him. Richard was a turly great man with so much compassion for his people. He always had a great smile.
    Richard you will be greatly miss but your leagcy you left us will always be with us.

  92. Murdock Nancy says:

    Bless you for all the work you did to better this world for all.
    May your work be carried on until all inhuman treatment ends.

  93. I would like to get more information on the Saldana- Fountain, El Paso Tx. I was born in El Paso TX, My phone number is 909-257-0537 or e-mail

  94. Rogelio Montes says:

    My pray and thoughts are for Richard’s family. It’s very sad when we lose leaders who have fought to improve working conditions for our farm workers throughout the United States.

    We will always remember Cesar and Richard Chavez, who have inspired us to keep our fight for Social Justice.

  95. Chris Schneider says:

    Magdalena and I send our deepest condolences to the Richard’s family.

    During our years at La Paz we had the opportunity to get to know him well. We have many fond memories of him but one that stands out is from Magdalena’s and my wedding dinner in La Paz. As we were preparing for the toast I picked up a bottle of champagne and popped the cork. Champagne came spurting out and I turned to avoid spraying people sitting at the table in front of me. In doing so I managed to drench Cesar, who was standing next to me to make the toast, with the champagne. He didn’t appear too pleased. Richard came running up, took the microphone and told Cesar, and all in attendance that in Mexico it is believed that spilling champagne on someone at a wedding reception was good luck and a sign of a long marriage. I didn’t know if he was making that up on the spot or it really was folklore. Either way, Cesar laughed and then went ahead and made the toast.

    Que viva Richard! Que viva la causa!

  96. I remember coming to the national conventions with the rest of the Florida UFW staff and being welcomed by Richard, always with a nice smile and warmth. Richard combined hard work with a genuine humility and passion. Que viva!

  97. Well done!Thou good and faithful servant ,is what God would say. A life in service of others is remarkable!
    Blessing to you.

  98. My sincerest condolences go out to the family, with whom I grew up in La Paz. My life and way of thinking was shaped by the union, the work done by the entire Chavez family, and all who worked by their side. Peace to all. Equality to all. Viva la Causa!

    The whole Williamson family sends our love.

  99. Commissioner Marcos de Leon says:

    Mr. Richard Chavez was a “Leader from the Heart”, like his brother he led with his heart. Meeting him every thme he came to Austin, Texas, sometimes with his borther, sometimes alone to raise money. The last time I bought the UFW Flag and make him sign it.
    Gave it to my daughter, which she used it to lead a march from her high school. May the Creator bless him and care for his familia.
    Travis County Commissioner Marcos de Leon-1990-1994

  100. Dolores MIranda, Puerto Rico says:

    Descanso para Rchard cuyo su espiritu vivira siempre en los que continuen su obra. Por nuestro hermanos/as por nuestra tierra.

  101. Senator Art Torres (Ret.) says:

    I am so saddened by Richard’s passing. My family’s love and prayers go out to the Chavez family.children. During my time in the union it was Richard and Dolores Huerta I worked most closely with. We worked on the first consitution for the union with the final approval from Cesar and the board of course. But my best memories are going out with Richard to explain the constitution to the workers and that his document gave them rights as members of
    a union. Richard would speak with the workers in Tagolog and I in Spanish and we went from place to place educating the workers on their new constitution. I can never forget the expressions of hope in the eyes of the workers when Richard would walk into the room and then explain in his gentle yet powerful way what this constitution meant to them and that they had the right to approve it or offer suggestions. It was true democracy at work in the fields of California. I shall miss him and our talks about the past. Senator Art Torres (Ret.)

    • Dear Senator Art Torres:I am glad I have found you here.!!!We , the veteranos, usually meet when one of us goes out to the ground(polvo eres y en polvo te convertiras dice la Biblia)one of your familiares from Norwalk misses you so much that he has given me the job of finding you after your many years of public service to California.Please call me ASAP(562)807-2390(H)or(323)344-9097(messages).Gracias.F.G.Cortes et al

  102. Robbie (Fleming) Murchison says:

    I met Richard when I worked for the Union as a volunteer for two years at the headquarters in La Paz from 1975 – 77. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

    The UFW has a special place in my heart as well as all the people I came to know as my brothers and sisters.

    I am so sorry about Richard’s passing. Thoughts and prayers are with the family.

    Robbie (Fleming) Murchison

  103. Larry Fox says:

    Our thoughts are with the Chavez Family and all of the activists who worked with the UFW over the years on this loss of a great man. Si, Se Puede!

  104. Johnson Family says:

    All workers in all industries benefited from the Chavez brothers’ dedication to a strong and supportive Union.

    We extend our condolences to the family of this great man, and our grateful appreciation for his efforts.

    Johnson Family
    Buena Park, CA

  105. I did not know Richard but am very familiar with the struggle. My deepest condolences for the family and for the world for loosing a champion of human rights.

    Rest in peace Richard.

  106. Lawrence G. Sandoval says:

    To The Chavez Family:
    Your commitment and dedication to improving workers’ lives is exemplary. Our condolences go out to all of you. Many blessings; the Sandoval Family.

  107. Vicente Mercado says:

    My deepest condolences to the entire Chavez family and specially to my two compañeras Rebeca and Susana Chavez.

  108. Jesse Aranda says:

    Yesterday I met a young man (Union Steward/Activiest) in front of a Ralphs store in downtown L.A.where he works. His store, his home front battle.He may not have met brother Chavez, or even recognized the plight of the farm workers. However, he epitomize what it takes to stand,organize, and be heard. Gracias for all you done and for all that will be done. Like the young man, we will all continue to stand. In Solidarity, Jesse Aranda, S.E.I.U. 1000

  109. Judith Mitchell says:

    I did not know Richard Chavez but I know OF Richard Chavez and I send my great admiration for his life. He was a true American hero – not just to his very honorable cause, but for devoting his life to the stand for universal justice, dignity, and the rights of all humans, everywhere. His contributions to achieving these goals for all humanity are monumental! Muchas, muchas gracias, Senor Chavez! Si se puede!

  110. Camiliano says:

    Camiliano Juarez: Along with all of you, I too mourn the loss of our friend and mentor Richard E Chavez. Richard’s example helped me to better understand what it is to be an advocate, activist, husband and father. The last time we spoke was at a Cesar Chavez Holiday event in Tucson, my wife was pregnant with our son (now 2 years old). He told us that the best part of his life so far was being a father who could teach his children how to be compassionate and of service. Richard, I will forever be greatful for your friendship and advice. To Dolores and the rest of Richard’s family, our deepest condolences… know he is with Cesar now. Con to respeto, Camiliano

  111. Govea Gardens Apts. Staff says:

    We didn’t know Richard Chavez personaly. But, we know about him and we work for the Cesar Chavez foundation. We know that Richard was a good person the champion of Human Rights. We also, know that he was a true American Hero. We will continue to be inspired by his sacrifices for the greater good.
    Our sincerest condolences go out to the Chavez Family and to all who worked by their side. Peace to all!
    Si SE PUEDE! Thank you Richard for all you have done for us and for our families.

  112. Jerry Kay says:

    In our daily farm worker union life, defined by never enough resources or time or people to battle every never-ending crisis cooked up by the growers, the politicians and the then- rival Teamsters, Richard Chavez’s presence was a calm, heart-warming port in the storm.
    I saw him as the thoughtful, understanding and patient very-best heart of our visionary, crazy-quilt union family. And he had a big impact on my life.

    I was one of many young, white, middle-class activists in the 60’s attracted to the Farm Worker’s union and helped the boycott in the Bay Area and New York. After we won the Grape Boycott, I rode with Richard driving around the outskirts of Delano to different farm workers’ houses and camps as he tried to contact potential crew and ranch committee leaders, the backbone to be of new contracts. Richard had taken on the huge task of administrating the hundreds of contracts we were signing.

    As we drove he asked me what I wanted to do with my life then, and I said, “I’ve been in the cities organizing support for the farm workers, I like this organizing the workers. I want to organize farm workers.”
    He looked surprised because I didn’t speak Spanish, really ‘know’ farm worker culture or what it was like to work in the fields other than what I had heard and read.
    He said, “huh, really? Well, we need good organizers, if you’re up to it.”

    The idea stuck, and I eventually moved to Salinas and became a field worker for a union company (Freshpict) and began working thinning and weeding with a short-handle hoe, nine hours a day, six days a week for about $2 an hour. I was the only non-Mexican or Chicano and almost quit on my second day, but for one man on the crew who took pity on me, and put under his wing and taught me the work. From there I learned to harvest vegetables, lived in camps, and learned enough Spanish until I was recruited to come work in the Salinas field office, administrating contracts.

    In the fall of 1972, when the growers were trying to pass Prop 22, the Teamsters were beating at our doors and the contracts were about to expire, our field office director was forced to quit for health reasons. Our full-time staff had been depleted to two, Tony Sanchez and me. Richard came to visit. He said, “Look, we need one of you to be the temporary director…not for long, a couple months at most…. I promise we’ll send someone soon.”
    I said, “Of course it must be Tony. He’s a farm worker and has been organizing here longer than me. He knows it best.”
    Tony said, “No, no. I just had twins and one is always sick, and I can’t really accept this position now.”
    Richard looked at us both and calmly said, “Either of you got a quarter?”
    Tony and I looked at him and said, “Huh?”
    Richard fished in his pockets, pulled out a dime and calmly said, “Ok, we’ll toss the coin, and whoever comes up, you’re director.” Tony called heads, and it came up tails.
    Richard said, “Jerry, you’ll be the director, but again, I promise, it’s only temporary. You can do it.”
    I didn’t think so, but if Richard said so, ok, I’d try.
    I lasted about a year, through the 1973 strikes; one strawberry contract we won in the fields, many we lost to the Teamsters because we had no organizers.
    I really did not feel up to the task. I didn’t know if Richard truly felt I was up to the task. But as many of us struggled, not knowing if we were up to the task, we pushed ourselves, we learned what were our strengths and weaknesses; and, because we were Organizers, knowing that we were helping to create miracles out of the pure will of all of us pulling together, we sometimes succeeded. Cesar was the visionary who set the goals of doing the impossible. But, for me, there in Salinas, knowing that Richard Chavez, the big warm, loving carpenter by trade was also struggling to do the impossible and asked that of me, it gave me faith to do it with him and try not to let him down.

  113. maria martinez says:

    Richard Chavez was strong Leader also he was great friend to Lupe and I, I will miss his smile and also his hugs I see fin heaven when that time come.I wont say goodby just hasta pronto viva Richard Chavez.

  114. Amelia Nieto says:

    i remember richard working so hard in construction, btting heads with cesar! lauging and smiling a lot. One day , when i was having trouble getting my mother, olivia to send herm monthly report from Coachella, I asked Cesar What should I do. he told me, ‘ you have to treat your mother the way I treat Richard, We have to be harder on them because they are family and we expect more from them” richard said “Amen!’ to that. I know he is with cesar, fred and all the rest, making sure that we continue the struggle in our many arenas! Amelia Nieto

  115. n. nash says:

    I am so glad that Richard Chavez, like his brother Cesar Chavez, worked tirelessly for workers rights and improving conditions. RIP…

  116. Hope Fierro Lopez says:

    Spring of 1968, Richard & Manuel Chavez came to my home in Fresno to get me interested in working on the Great Grape Boycott, I was already involved 100%.
    Manuel was hell on wheels in the discussion, where Richard was cool, calm & collected the non-violent Chavez way.
    We have lost another great organizer. My condolences to Richard’s family, to Dolores & his kids, to Los Campesinos & Campesinas whom he befriended. Adios Compañero.

  117. Nana Nash says:

    I am so glad Richard Chavez and Cesar Chavez established the UFW in the 60’s to improve working conditions for farm and migrant workers. RIP, Richard Chavez with my condolences to your family.

  118. Luciano Crespo says:

    I have wonderful memories from the days living in la paz ( 1977-1985), from the Bruce Church Boycott campaign in San Francisco and New York City to family gatherings. Thanks for being at our 30th wedding anniversary held two years ago in Bakersfield. The brindes was awesome. What an honor to have had Richard Chavez and Dolores Huerta present.Your commitment to Farmworkers, your respect and love for the Filipino worker will be recognize and recorded in History. Rest in peace My prayers go out to : Susana, Becky, Lori, Camilia, Freddy, Ricky, Gaudalupe, Maria Elena, Juanita, Celes, Emilio, Vicent, Alicia, Dorothy, Angela, Fidel, Sally Chavez and Dolores Huerta

    Lupe Crespo, Coachella, Ca.

  119. Having marched with both Ceasar and Richard on numerous occasions in the late 70’s and 80’s in the SoCal area,Richard has more than earned the REST and PEACE that He is now ENJOYING.
    Musicians Local 47 has and will always support when UFW calls.
    The spirit of (THE BROTHERS) like MUSIC will LIVE FOREVER.

  120. irenemunoz says:

    I do remember Richard and his work with Cesear. He was a hard worker and dedicated person to the cause of justice for farm workers. He is a model for all of us to imitate. Blessings to the family and I know he is at peace with God. Sister IreneMunoz CHM

  121. irenemunoz says:

    i remember Richard in the years past. I know he worked very hard for justice for the farmworker;s. We need more models like Richard to carry on the task for Justice.

  122. Salsa Sunday says:

    Barajs, Rodriguez, Ortiz family sends it’s condolences to the Richard Chavez family. Viva Richard Chavez

  123. […] the UFW blog: Richard was born in 1929, two years after his brother, Cesar, on the family homestead near Yuma. […]

  124. ronniebray says:

    Sadly missed. The struggle must continue.

  125. Norman Aguilar says:

    Geacias por ver ayudar a tanta gente en tu vida por la causa! En la gracia de dios estaras con tu familia y comiendo fruta junto con el creador.

  126. Esteban Ortiz says:

    Gracias por todo R.I.P. because you deserve it.

  127. Susanita says:

    Along with his sweet–and sometimes devilish–smile, I remember ESP with Richard, his understanding me sometimes when his brother didn’t,and him and Cesar floating driftwood boats in some run-off water at Mission San Antonio during a strategy meeting. His daughter Dorothy gave me a once in a lifetime experience of forgiveness that showed me how well her father had raised her., Juanita nailed it when she spoke of Richard not expecting glory, just doing his work and making his co-workers feel comfortable and appreciated! Vaya con Dios! Susan Drake (UFW 1962-1973).

  128. Loreta Eberhardt says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Richard and not only was he a great person, but he will be remembered as a caring, devoted, advocate for the farm workers. The memory of Richard will never be forgotten.

  129. Lisa says:

    A great hero is gone but a great LEGEND will live on in our memories and be a part of history just like his brother, who was also a champion for migrants’ rights. Que Vivan los Chavez’s!!!

  130. Martha Ramirez-Oropeza says:

    Mi mas sentido pésame a todos los familiares de Ricardo. El grupo Teatral Mascarones de Mexico, conoció a Ricardo, y a César cuando a la 5ta Conferencia de la UFW. Nos platicaron de los días difíciles en que vivían, y que lo más importante era la unidad en las organizaciones. Que descanse en paz, Viva Ricardo Chávez!

  131. Twinkie Flores Bradshaw says:

    Rest in Peace mighty soldier your seeds have been planted, your work has been sowed. Your passion and flag will live on forever and ever. My condolences to the Chavez Family, Doloras Huerta Family and the UFW. VIVA Richard Estrada Chavez !
    Twinkie Flores Bradshaw

  132. Kathy Garren says:

    The statement “Pursue excellence, ignore success.” makes me think of Richard. Humble and hard working, and always thinking of others.

    I met Richard when I was 19 and living in La Paz. I remember his sense of humor and his beautiful smile, and a serene aura about him that put everyone at ease.

    My love and prayers go out to the Chavez family and children.

  133. Richard was a warrior for “La Causa” whose efforts benefit us all now and for all time. I would like to use a quote from Cesar that I sincerely feel is appropriate at this time,

    “Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
    So that we will never tire of the struggle.
    Let us remember those who have died for justice;
    For they have given us life.
    Help us love even those who hate us;
    So we can change the world.”

    My sincerest condolences to Camila and all the family,
    Que en Paz descanse!
    Carlos Rodriguez
    San Francisco, CA

  134. Therese Llanes says:

    Remebering Richard Chavez and his spirit. The Yang to Cesars Yin. The brothers are reunited. Rest in Peace.

  135. My deepest condolences to Richard’s family in this time of loss. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Chavez numerous times over the past few years as I have worked in the Farm Worker Movement in Kern County. I never once heard Richard speak to a group when he didn’t make the whole crowd burst into laughter, and I never had a conversation with him when he didn’t burst out into laughter himself. He was of such a humble background, yet Richard Chavez accomplished so much and will be mourned by so many, from the family he loved and the farm workers he served to the President of the United States. ¡Viva la Causa! ¡y Que Viva Richard Chavez!

  136. Thank you Lord for los hermanos Chavez. They made the difference. My condolences to the family and their friends. May Mr. Chavez rest in peace.

  137. afa says:

    Richard had a real heart. Accepting. He helped build coalitions. I remember Richard went through the Castro with Harvey Milk to get support for Prop. 14 from the LGBT community in 1976. Richard and his family made incredible sacrifices to build the UFW. Thank you!

  138. William H. Steiner says:

    My deepest condolences go out to the Chavez family. Richard was a valient fighter for human rights. He is an inspiration for us all!

  139. Johnny Itliong says:

    Thank you Richard for all the work you have done. Our deepest condolences to the Chavez Family and to the Delores Huerta Family. Your many years of fighting for the rights of other will always be remembered. You are a Hero to many!!!

    Viva!!! Richard Chavez!!!

    Johnny Itliong & Family
    Son of Larry Itliong

    • Allen Muirhead says:

      Dear Johnny, Nice of you to leave a word for Richard. I was taken into the UFWOC at Delano, by your Dad, Larry, whom I loved as a trusted friend and confidant. He changed the course of my life that day. Not enough is ever mentined of his great contribution to the building of the union together with Cesar and Richard. We can be very proud of them all.
      Allen Muirhead, AKA This and That…

  140. pete haywood says:

    Rest well honorable brother, those in my community (African American) can empathize with your plight and we honor you.

  141. Juan Lopez says:

    Our deepest condolences to the Chavez family on the passing of a great human being, who gave so much to the cause of farm workers and working people all over. As a cub reporter for the People’s World years ago, your struggle deeply influenced me personally as it did a whole generation. Your struggle continues to be our struggle.

    Viva la Causa!
    Juan Lopez
    for the Communist Party USA

  142. Gary Baisden says:

    Richard and Cesar Chavez were true champions of the people. They stood tall and strong against giants of industry and won an almost impossible victory. They were and are the types of people who inspire songs and legends. I feel privileged to have been alive at the same time as they. Their actions, their strength standing against great odds, truly gave power to the people.

    the world is a better place because they lived.

    Gary and Maria Baisden
    Mt Shasta, Ca

  143. We have lost another great human being but he will always be remembered because we will teach our children and our children’s children about him.

  144. octavio aguilar says:

    Richard Chavez was an inspirational man for me and, of course, many other people. My mom and dad drove the family to Fresno to pick grapes every summer from the late 50’s to the mid-60’s, when I was junior high and high school, but I didn’t hear about Cesar Chavez, Richard Chavez or Dolores Huerta until 1968 or 1969, when I was a student at San Diego State College, now San Diego State University. Around that time, the UFW began to gather a good amount of support for the grape boycott among students and I was among those who supported them wholeheartedly. After all, my mom and dad, and my two oldest brothers, were still working in the fields, as were many other relatives. I remember hearing about Cesar, Richard, Dolores Huerta and other farm worker leaders and feeling inspired to help them in their struggle. During my last couple of years in college and all through law school, I spent many hours picketing Safeway stores, passing out leaflets and asking people for donations for the farm workers. I was so proud when my mom became a union member and even more proud when she gladly went to jail with other picketers during the 1973 strikes in the Imperial Valley. My life was forever changed by the movement these great and wonderful people started. After law school, I spent several years working on behalf of farm workers at California Rural Legal Assistance and then the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, due to their leadership. My condolences to Richard’s family members. Viva Richard Chavez!

    • I met Richard in New York City when we were working on the grape boycott together with others. I always remember his commitment, his warmth, calmness, and ability to reach out to others. i was young (21-13) then, and Richard made a deep impression on me because of his qualities. All of us will miss him very much. My condolences to all his family.

      Mark Silverman

  145. Robin Brownfield says:

    I am truly saddened by Richard’s passing. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen him, but I still vividly remember his smiling face, positive attitude, and all the little children (which one was Peanut? And I recall Camila in an infant car seat) swarming around him. He made those of us on the organizing staff feel valued and respected, and it was truly an honor working (and playing) with him.

  146. Roberto Michel says:

    R.I.P. Richard.
    Flashing back to the mid 60’s to the 70’s as a son of a farm worker, I remember walking boycutts along with my dad Mariano Michel.Today as a member of local 61, I am still an advocate for labor.
    Thank you both Richard and Cesar for fiighting all of your lives and giving us labor rights.
    My condolences to the all the Chavez family members.

    Roberto Michel,UESF Sergeant-at-Arms

  147. Remembering my personal conversation with my brother Richard Chavez, who is resting in peace in his final stage. Once when we stayed up real late in my house into the wee hours of the morning after our San Antonio, Texas, 2006, Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice, He served as our Grand Marshal. I asked him about the grape boycott and how it started, he said Cesar send organizers to different states to start boycotts, all this was new to them, a question was asked, what is a boycott and Cesar responded, just tell people not to buy grapes…that was a simple description of the boycott. Richard was send to New York and he told Cesar it is cold in New York during this season, and asked Cesar where am I going to stay? Cesar took out his wallet and gave him a phone number of a Catholic priest, I believe his name was father O’Donnel, well Richard took the bus and arrived in New York to start the boycott and it was as he predicted “Ice ” was falling, finally he found the church and it was close, he knocked and knocked, and knocked and banged and banged on the windows, he was freezing then a nun came out after all that banging and said what do you want ? Richard expained who he was and why he came to New York on a mission for the farmworkers send by his brother Cesar Chavez and pulled out his wallet and pulled out the name of the priest and asked for him…the nun replied, oh…he passed away 2 years ago…Richard said my heart fell to the ground…but knowing Richard, he talked the nun into giving him sanctury and the rest is history regarding the New York grape boycott…Richard didn’t stop only in New York , he told me that he even went further than New York, he addressed Parliament in the United Kingdom about the grape boycott to stop the shipment of the grapes.. What a farmworker…VIVA RICHARD !
    In Unity; Jaime P. Martinez, San Antonio, Texas.

  148. I worked for the UFW in Watsonville, California in the mid 70s. I did not know Richard very well, but everyone spoke well of him. The story below will be appearing in La Voz de Austin, a community newspaper in Austin, Texas. My condolences to the Chavez family

    Richard Chavez – He was always there

    He was not famous. He was not rich. But he was there. Richard Chavez, the younger brother of Cesar Chavez was always there. As children growing up near Yuma, Arizona, they caught fish, hunted rabbits and explored the land around them. When their father lost the farm during the depression, the Chavez family went to California in 1938 and became migrant farm workers traveling constantly in search of work. There is a photo of Richard, Cesar and another fellow posing in pachuco garb that was popular during the time. They were learning about the world. In 1949, both brothers left farm work and moved to Northern California to work in the lumber mills. They only stayed a few years and then came back to San Jose, California. Richard entered a carpenter’s apprenticeship program and Cesar went to work for the Community Service Organization. (CS0)

    When Cesar resigned from the CSO in 1962 because it was not interested in organizing farm workers, he went to Delano, California, in part because Richard was there. Richard had moved to Delano in 1952 and was president of the Delano Chapter of the CSO. When Dolores Huerta, Cesar, Gilbert Padillla, Tony Orendain and others decided to start the National Farm Workers Association, (NFWA) it was Richard who came up with the idea of the black eagle on a red backdrop for the flag. Admitting that he couldn’t draw very well, Richard made a sketch of an eagle with squared off wings. He said it would be easier for others to replicate.

    As the NFWA began to grow, it created a credit union for its members. This was possible because Richard Chavez put up his house as collateral for a loan from a bank. In one of the many books on the union there is the story of Cesar asking Richard, “How much do you think your house is worth?” When Richard said, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe $2,500 dollars,” Cesar said, let’s go to the bank and find out.” The credit union went on to become a key part of the services of the farm workers union. And it was made possible because of Richard Chavez.

    By the summer of 1966, the farm workers movement had taken off. The strike against the Delano grape growers was growing and the farm workers had just completed their historic 300 mile march to Sacramento. Cesar needed help and Richard stepped forward giving up his work as a carpenter for $5 a week like everyone else. Richard went to Detroit and New York to direct the grape boycotts. In 1970, he came back to California to administer the union contracts that had just been signed by the Delano table grape growers. In 1973, he was elected to the board of the union which had now become the United Farm Workers of America. Richard was always there to help in any way he could.

    Finally in 1983, after 17 years with the union, Richard retired. He was 54 years old. He remained close to the union continued make himself available for speaking engagements and other activities. Some time in the late 80s, he and Cesar were having a conversation in La Paz, the union’s headquarters in the Tehachapi mountains. Cesar turned to Richard and said, “Richard, when I die I want you to build my coffin.” Stunned by the topic, Richard, said, “Oh, Cesar, I am not going to out live you. You eat well. You exercise. You take good care of yourself.” Cesar continued, “I want you to make a simple coffin. Make it out of pine wood.” When Cesar died in 1993, Richard complied with his brother’s wishes and built the coffin. Richard was always there.

  149. Bob Levis says:

    Sometime in late 2006 or early 2007 Christine Neumann-Ortiz, director of Voces De La Frontera the dynamic immigrant rights organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, called me and asked for Dolores Huerta’s phone number. Christine wanted to see if Dolores could come to MKE for a May Day rally. I told her it was most likely too late to get Dolores because she has scheduling arrangements far in advance but I suggested she ask Dolores’ husband Richard. “Richard?” Christine replied. “Yes,” I said, “Cesar’s brother.” Christine thought this a capital idea and after getting his number she called him. As always Richard was more than willing to accommodate. Arrangements were made and Richard and his daughter flew into Chicago where I picked them up a few days before the rally and hustled them up to a motel near the parade route which became headquarters for a series of talks and radio appearances in which Richard won over listeners with his unassuming personality. The late labor organizer and folk singer Utah Phillips also came to town for the event which was superbly planned and promoted by Voces De La Frontera. The turnout on May Day was overwhelming. As keynote speaker Richard kept his delivery refreshingly low key and he got his message across. Get the jackboots off the necks of the worker! Some estimated that it might have been the largest rally in the history of Wisconsin surpassed only only this year in Madison.
    We love you Richard. FORE!

  150. In 1978 as a young Chicana and USC Drama School drop-out struggling to find a creative and spiritual home where theatre was engaged with the social issues of the day, I auditioned for El Teatro Campesino, in San Juan Bautista, CA. For one year I had the honor of working side by side with some of the most committed, talented and passionate teatristas I had, and have, ever encountered. We toured the Southwest and Pacific Northwest over a 10 month period playing to audiences in union halls, churches, colleges and community cultural centers. It was during this period that I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Richard and Cesar. El Teatro Campesino, founded by Luis Valdez, as an organizing arm of the UFW continues to be a large part of my life. By this I mean that the the legacy of our dearly departed companero, Richard, continues to inspire generation upon generation of Latinos and will continue to do so until the day “we have seen the mountain” with the clarity of purpose, spirit, heart and lucha that Richard embodied to the core of his essence. We will miss you dear Richard but we will strive each day to keep all you stood for alive. Descanse en paz. !Que Viva Ricardo! !Que Viva Dolores! !Que Viva el Campesino Triunfador!

  151. Christopher J. Alessi says:

    Thank You Richard for all the great work you did for the Farm Workers, You and your brother’s accomplishments and successes will never be forgoten.
    May God bless your family and friends during this time, and may you rest in peace with your brother.
    In Solidarity,
    Chris Alessi
    BR. 2902

  152. Dave Piper says:

    I never knew Richard but am a huge supporter of labor and the UFW. Thanks to him for all that he he did with his brother and all the other unnamed, but all-too-important working people that sacrificed so much to try to make this a better world. Whenever I think of the red and black logo of the UFW I will think of him.

    David Piper
    Glenn Dale, MD

  153. Ed Pulido says:

    Service and sacrifice above self. Mentor, friend and tata. That was Richard Chavez. May all those touched by his life’s work be comforted in this time and may his extended family rejoice in knowing what an indelible memory thier father has had on this nation and the world.

  154. victor pestoff says:

    A Tribute to Richard Chavez:

    I first met Richard Chavez during my visit to the UFWOC in Delano in the summer of 1967 or 1968. He explained how the grape boycott was becoming internationalized and spreading to Canada. I informed him that I was a student in Stockholm Sweden and could help to make it even more international. In the years that followed I got to know several UFW representatives during their visits to Stockholm. I especially remember the two separate visits of Cesar and Richard to Stockholm.
    Richard stayed with me for one week in the spring of 1974. Our Stockholm group had, in a letter to Senator Walter Mondale that got national coverage here, just exposed that the US Embassy was involved in trying to break the international boycott. The Agricultural Attache actively promoted, through financial subsidies, boycotted agriculture produce from the USA. Richard was here to solicit greater European trade union support for the UFW boycotts. He convinced many leading Swedish trade unionists and politicians during his week long stay to support the Swedish boycott and promote the International Trade Union’s or ICFTU’s sympathy measures for the UFW in Europe in November 1974.
    Cesar then asked me to head the ICFTU’s European sympathy measures from the headquarters of IFPAAW in Geneva. IFPAAW is the Plantation and Agriculture Workers International Trade Secretariat and the UFW was its newest member. I was in Geneva for nearly two years and soon became the Assistant Secretary General of IFPAAW. This resulted in frequent contacts with and an occasional visit to UFW headquarters in La Paz. Each time I was there I renewed my friendship with Richard and the other members of the UFW leadership. I remember my visits there fondly, and in particular the special friendship and warmth that Richard always showed me.
    I therefore want to pay tribute to Richard Chavez and give my condolences to his loved ones.

    Victor Pestoff,
    Professor Emeritus in Political Science, Ersta Sköndal University College, Stockholm Sweden

  155. We all must fight for our Union’s and US the Union families. For the Union was built on the back’s of our ancestors sweat and tears, and know our families carry the Unions on our backs. .

  156. To Dolores and the rest of Richard’s family,

    I will truely miss Richard. Not to much time passes between my thoughts anticipating the day when I might stand with him again. But on this day of his passing I can only feel that the mountain that I stood next to was truely my reward – to know Richard Chavez – a mountain of a man.

    As you know, much of my life is spent organizing in the arts – and that I am the son of a carpenter and that I am trained as a carpenter. Creative and artistic as our craft is, it is also a journey that enables us to reflect on our result. But the ultimate lesson of our craft is not the building of so much with hammer and nail but the knowledge that we can build a better world with our hearts and minds if we are so driven. The sweat is the same.

    Richard was a man whose life demanded that he set his hammer down for the will of his God. To go out to his people and dedicate his struggle to them, as is the common cause of his uncommon family.

    He was so blessed to be Richard Chavez. And I am so blessed to have been touched by him. And so blessed to have his bandera flying in my soul to protect me all of my life.

    I will continue all the more harder to walk in the footsteps of Richard Chavez. A Man. An Eagle.

    God Bless the Chavez Family. God be with Dolores.

    And if there is anything I can do please know that I remain your sevant.

    Gabriel Quintero Velasquez
    Vice President
    Cesar Chavez Legacy and Education Fund
    San Antonio, Texas

  157. Vaudegal says:

    I met Richard in early 1979 when I was at the UFW’s New York boycott house. I had just joined the Bruce Church boycott in October 1978 from Philadelphia and was in New York City for several weeks helping gather signatures to get Jerry Brown on the state ballot for the presidential primary. At the produce terminal, staff discovered that a grower the UFW was in a dispute with was illegally imprinting his boxes of carrots with the union label. Staff pooled its money and bought a carton as evidence. All there was to eat in the house, for a week or so, was the carton of carrots in the refrigerator. Richard came for a visit and was appalled, bought a bunch of groceries, and made chicken mole for the entire household (about 20 people). My first Mexican food. I will never forget that meal.

    I saw Richard infrequently after that, primarily at meetings at LaPaz. He was a kind man who worked behind the scenes and got things done without much fanfare.

    Shelly D’Amour
    Philadelphia boycott 1978-79
    Watsonville Field office (+3mos in La Paz) 1979-1983

  158. Graciela Garza says:

    Sorry to hear this he was a big leader he live for so long fighting for his worker viva mi primo Richard Chavez ! RIP

  159. Linda Benavides says:

    We met Richard through Dolores Huerta, who is our cousin. We are from Albuquerque, NM and have had the pleasure of having Richard and his family visit us and spend time with us on many occasions. We loved Richard and enjoyed his visits with us. I, Linda Benavides, will always treasure the memories of spending time with Richard talking with him about his younger days , his history with the UFW and sharing this over breakfast with him. Gilbert “Larry”, and I along with our children, Nick, Elena and Alysse will remember him always, his smile, his gentleness and his kindness. We will pray for him and his family. He was truly a gift to many and the legacy he leaves behind will be one that will be remembered forever. May God be with his family, and may he continue to watch over all of us from up above. He will be me missed.

    Gilbert “Larry” and Linda Benavides and family from Albuquerque, NM

  160. Isabel H. Rodriguez says:

    My condolences to Dolores Huerta and the rest of family of Richard Chavez. Another warrior has left us only by his physical presence but not by his accomplishments, contributions and example in the struggle for human rights.

  161. Priscilla Cruz says:


  162. Yolette Rios says:

    Although I never had the honor of meeting Richard, both he and Cesar remind me of my dear daddy, William Montes Rios. I am sad for the Chavez family; they have suffered a tremendous loss. I will continue to teach my students about these wonderful, courageous men and how we must continue the fight!
    Descanse en paz,
    Yolette Rios
    Hesperia, CA

  163. mia tagano says:

    I remember Richard taking a group of us (with John Malloy and the 500 mile spirit runners) from San Jose up to Cesar’s gravesite – he was kind and quiet, a gentle man but strong.
    I wish I would have said more than just “Thank you” – I was in awe but grateful to have met him – sad for Dolores and the rest of the family. May they all find comfort in his memories of him.

  164. Sid A. Valledor says:

    I remember that afternoon in early 1971, under a hot sun, when a dusty car, with three people on their way to Forty Acres, stopped alongside me.The men had just left the camps after ensuring adherence to the contract provisions. Like a true organizer during that short ride the driver was able to ascertain much about his new passenger. He then brought me to Susan Drake and bid farewell: “See you later brother!” Soon thereafter Cesar came out to greet me, then later Larry. I had gone to Delano to merely pay my respect to the farm workers on strike. It did not take much persuasion. I stayed for the rest of the year … with Larry in his office across from Dolores’ while residing with Philip. That is how I first met Richard, a most dedicated person, down to earth, and extremely reliable.
    To his family: I was fortunate to have met him. My time with UFWOC, AFL-CIO was gratifying and I am the richer in soul for the privilege.

    Sid A. Valledor

  165. Ken Seaton-Msemaji says:

    Dear Sister & Brother Chavistas

    Richard Chavez’ connection to the UDW

    As most of you know Cesar’s goal was to organize the working poor and teach them how to empower themselves so they, their families, neighbors & friends could improve their entire quality of life, from cradle to grave ! His twin dream was to unionize the poorest & most exploited workers in the Fields and in the Cities. Thus the United Farmer Workers of America and later, the United Domestic Workers of America !!

    The Domestic Workers Organizing Committee was founded on August 14, 1977 in Cesar’s back yard. Helen Chavez and many of the La Paz residents made a huge barbecue to celebrate. Then-Governor Jerry Brown showed-up, unexpected, to talk with Cesar.

    Not long after that,Cesar sent Fred Ross Sr. to San Diego (UDW headquarters) to teach the UDW founders the House Meeting method of organizing ! Cesar then asked several UFW people to assist with training Fahari Jeffers, Greg Akili, Raquel Beltran & I, all of the things we would need to build a Domestic Workers Union. Some of the UFW Sisters & Brothers who trained and advised us were Helen Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Manual Chavez, Gilbert & Esther Padilla, Mac Lyons, Sister Florence, Rev. Chris Hartmire, Jessica Govea, Richard & Mini Ybarra, Linda & Carlos LeGerrette and Richard Chavez !!!

    Cesar sent me with Richard primarily to learn the art & science of Negotiations but I also learned a PhD worth of everything necessary to building a Union, and some personal advice, including that FAMILY is most important !

    The negotiations I remember the most were with a grower in Escondido near San Diego. Watching and listening to Richard was like experiencing magic. He was soft spoken but very powerful. At times low keyed, but wise, and most of all successful !! It was obvious that he was trusted beyond a doubt by Cesar.

    Over time I must have spent years worth of hours as Richard’s student, friend and part of his extended family. He was a Master Teacher !

    Several of my kids almost grew-up with his younger kids, some of them are still in touch with each other to this day.

    On several occasions he stayed with Fahari & me at our house in San Diego. Those times were like Xmas in any month. When he would leave we were fired-up for the rest of the year.

    Richard Chavez has transitioned to the next stage but he can be here forever if we try to live one of his lessons or examples every day from now on, as long as the sun shines and the water flows!!

    See you later Brother & Thanks, Ken

    Ken Seaton-Msemaji was co-founder of United Domestic Workers of America and served as it’s President for 28 years !

    See the photos below

    Here are the pictures Carlos sent.


    Richard Chavez, brother of Cesar Chavez, and a founder of the farmworkers movement, passed away yesterday from complications following surgery in Bakersfield, CA. Richard never stopped his lifelong campaign to bring respect and justice for those who pick the crops that feed this nation, and the world. And, he always admired and praised the work of the Chavistas (members) of our Cesar Chavez Service Clubs. A great man.

    Que en paz descanse ~ Rest in peace.

    Richard Chavez….PRESENTE!

    Richard Chavez at April 3, 2011 services for Andy Imutan in Delano, CA.

    Richard and Librado Chavez, and Rita Chavez Medina at April, 1993 services for brother, Cesar Chavez.

    A jubilant Richard Chavez admires golf club during surprise 1978 birthday at UFW headquarters in Keene, CA.

    Si Se Puede,
    Carlos and Linda LeGerrette.

    Carlos LeGerrette
    Executive Director
    Cesar Chavez Service Club
    Box 131156, Cesar Chavez Station
    San Diego, 92170
    619 233-1331 Office

    Inspiring youth to believe in themselves and to know they can make a difference.

  166. Julie Greenfield says:

    I think I first met Richard while working on the construction of the medical clinic on the 40 acres in Delano in 1971. Richard was overall in charge of the project, and although he was not there on a daily basis, he oversaw everything. He wanted the clinic to be a beautiful place for farm workers to come for care. When it came time to do the floor of the reception and waiting area, he drove to Mexico with a truck and picked out the lovely clay tiles which you can still see today. That clinic served thousands of people while it was in operation; hundreds of babies were born there. It was a great experience for me and the other volunteers to be part of.

  167. Marti Harris says:

    Marti Harris, says… I too, never met Richard Chavez but like so many, I know of his legacy of standing up for workers,justice and truth. May you rest in peace and know that the work and dedication you accomplished while walking amongst us, continues and that the hunger for justice will live on. In the name of the UFW, you, Dolores, your children and all of its founders and leaders. God Bless you. Go be with God.

  168. Donna Moreno says:

    I would like to extend my condolences to the family,friends & collegues of Richard Chavez…

    RIP dear Richard, you are with the angels and finally reunited with your brother Cesar!

    Donna Moreno
    Los Angeles,CA.

  169. Susan Sachen says:

    Remembering and thinking about Richard and the boycott campaigns during the 70’s, while also driving on Thursday evening through the Salinas Valley, brought back such vivid and powerful memories. I worked on the NY Boycott while Richard and Dolores were running it. When Arturo Rodriguez, and his family, left Long Island to return to California, Richard asked me to run the Long Island boycott. Richard started a fast at the chain we were picketing and I had my first experience of his real “heart and soul”. Thinking about this while driving and imagining the strikers in the Salinas Valley – the strike lines, Huelga flags, the public and labor who rallied in ways we have hardly seen since, and the tremendous spirit and hope that it brought to the Labor Movement and to workers.

    Richard fasted, Cesar came to join him, the trains filled with unionists and New Yorkers who came to Long Island to join us and our local supporters. We felt such energy and optimism. The strikers who came to the cities to work on the boycott gave us all the connection to the sacrifice and determination they had. We had many strikers from the Salinas area, from D’Arrigo and other companies who, with their families, reached out and made us part of their movement. We cleared grapes, lettuce and Gallo wine from this store and many, many, many others in NY.

    I remember meetings with Richard and Dolores in NY — he always had such a generous spirit and opened doors for us with top leaders, leading musicians who let us into their concerts and promoted collections during their concerts for the strike fund, and community leaders. I have never been to so many different concerts, churches and unions — recruiting volunteers and raising strike funds. I think now that the days weren’t long enough to do all we wanted to do.

    The seriousness of the strikes and campaigns in California pulled him back but an eternal bond was built. Whenever I saw Richard in recent years I was always amazed that he remembered me and gave me a big hug. During the Watsonville Strawberry campaigns in ’96/’97 I again saw him — remembering that amazing march in Watsonville when the town was totally union. He held my daughter shortly and some pictures were taken that I never got (and would still love to have if the photographer is by any chance reading this). The Watsonville newspaper the following day led with our chants “Watsonville is a union town”.

    Richard, in my mind, was the “heart and soul” of the Union who, at that time, was the “heart and soul” of labor and the working class. The UFW gave many of us a start — my greatest hope is that we rebuild the fight, spirit and determination to organize and build unions and workers’ groups that will return our country to a land of opportunity and justice.

    Richard — A Thousand Thank You’s for all of us who you touched and inspired. May we all continue the fight!!!

    Si, se puede – and with love and eternal gratitude.
    Susan Sachen, Oakland, California

    • Christopher Bricca says:

      I knew Richard from the late sixties, working on the grape, wine, and lettuce boycotts. What I remember most is the gleam in his eye, the eye of a gentle warrior. I remember his sweetness along with his fierce dedication and loyalty to La Causa. I remember his hands and his ability to make peace within the many wars. He will be sorely missed, and his light shines even brighter as the contributions of his life are more and more widely know. Que Viva La Union, Ricardo!
      In gratitude–Kit (Tatanka) Bricca

  170. maria varona says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Chavez on the late 90s, when i had the luck to worked with the UWF in NY when strawberry struggle and we went to California I participate in convention of that year. Then we stay at La Paz and had the opportunity to share with him wow what a wonderful person he was we going to miss him, We don’t have to many role model like the Chavez brothers, ViVa La Causa Si Se Puede I would always be grateful to have worked for a union who really care for the workers

  171. Jose Zapata Calderon says:

    For seventeen years, I took my students to La Paz during their spring break and Richard took the time each year to inspire the students through his stories about the many struggles that he had been part of in building the union. We will remember him through our continuing work to ensure equality and justice for all farm workers and our communities.
    Jose Zapata Calderon
    Professor of Sociology and Chicano Studies
    President of Latino and Latina Roundtable

  172. Jenna says:

    I had the privilege and honor of meeting Richard Chavez this spring in Keene, where I volunteered with UFW for a few days and participated in a Stations of the Cross ceremony in La Paz. I was humbled by how friendly and approachable Richard was, despite all the amazing things he has done for the community. He even invited me to spend Easter with his family, which regrettably I was not able to do. Thank you Richard, for all you have done, and who you are as a person. He will be sorely missed.

  173. Benjamin Esparza says:

    My condolences to the Chavez family, and the UFW family. Richard was instrumental in organizing the UFW from the start along with Dolores, Cesar, and so many others that gave their lives through out the years for the cause. He will be missed by all those who are still struggling for farm workers human rights.

  174. Melinna says:

    Rest in peace and joy Mr. Chavez. You were a light, a blessing, a leader, and a beautiful spirit who graced this world with your love. Thank you from a young Chicana who hopes to make half the impact you and Cesar and Dolores have. Si Se Puede!

  175. Harold Salas-Kennedy says:

    Richard… This man taught me how to use a hammer both in a real sense and with what I now do at the university as an Associate Director of a department. Management, leadership, Richard was a role model for many who helped to make sense challenges, tasks given the union. As the world turns, many precious leaders of the early movement leave us. Rest in peace.

    Harold Salas-Kennedy

  176. Richard Chavez, a brother to all, whose positive impact during his own lifetime will glow long after memories become clouded, has passed on to peace and serenity, yet his footprints still lead us here on the path to justice. He was a great friend to the Jewish Labor Committee Western Region, and through his befriending a tiny child of 5 – Jocelyn Sherman, he brought her adult self to us. As our Secretary, she enhances the progress of the Struggle and embodies the principles of the good fight.

    We know your family will miss you each hour, but also know that you have given enough of yourself to them to offer comfort in the knowledge that you lived as exemplary a life as any human possibly can. Our memories include thankfulness in knowing you and in knowing that your family members continue the work you crafted so deftly. Where you found the tools to strengthen courage in so many souls is one of the greater mysteries of life.

    Our grief is like the nail driven into a piece of wood. In splitting the grain, causing pain, it joins us to so many others who are stronger for knowing you, for working with you to build better lives.

    Que viva, warrior of genteel carpentry,

    Your Jewish Labor Committee Western Region mishpoche.

  177. Felipe Rodriguez says:

    I remember Richard having dinner on many occassions at the house of Frank and Elizabeth Rodriguez’ when I was a teenager in the late sixtys and early seventes. My parents ran the Boycott Committee in San Jose and the whole family was involved in La Causa. My dad (Frank) knew Cesar from the 40’s working in the fields and packing houses. These were great memories and we are very proud to have been apart of La Huelga. Que Viva Richard Chavez! Qjue Viva La Union!

  178. Brenda Evans says:

    My prayers go out towards his family….A great man that serviced the community with all of his heart…He had the heart of Hercules..his legacy lives on…..Brenda Evans

    • Kate Kinser says:

      I worked for the Farm Workers Union from 1970-1972. In August of 1970 I went with Richard and another UFW organizer to take notes and a meeting with representatives from the Libby’s food company. We drove to Fresno for the meeting, and on the way back we had lunch and talked about the stubbornness of the agricultural industry. Because I was only 18 and an Angla, the Libby’s reps kept asking me, “What are you doing here?”, as though I was a juvenile delinquent of soem type. I told them I was Richard’s secretary (which I was, remporarily) and that I respected the work he was doing. I also shared that my parents were proud of what I was doing, since my mother had been a teacher in a migrant farmworker summer school for many years. Richard was a kind, respectful, intelligent, thoughtful person with a great sense of humor. When we got back I typed up the notes from the meeting, and I could see what great skills he had as a negotiator. I will always remember that that day in that day in Fresno and the time I spent with Richard.

  179. Fernando M. Salas, Jr. says:

    I met Richard in Tucson at a rally for Rual Grijalva. We spoke of our hometown of Yuma and his relatives that I knew. It was as if I was talking with an old friend. He spoke of living and working conditions in Yuma and California and his role en el movimiento, Cesar and Dolores. I was humbled to be in the presence of an idol. Gracias carnal, decanses en paz

  180. miguel barrientos says:

    Miguel Barrientos

    Richard Chavez is a great example to nuestra gente.
    Gracias por todo Richard y que descanzes en Paz al lado de Cesar.

  181. miguel barrientos says:

    I had the honor of meeting Richard when I was child and very honored that he met my children. Richard Chavez is a great example to nuestra gente. Gracias por todo Richard y que descanzes en Paz al lado de Cesar.

  182. Evelina Alarcon says:

    My deepest condolences to Richard’s family, the UFW and to all of us who were fortunate enough to know, work with, and learn from this humble giant who tirelessly championed the plight of farm workers. His calm strength, joyful demeanor, humility and insightful intellect were an inspiration to all of us in the Cesar Chavez holiday movement. His constant support of our efforts meant so much to us.

    As we campaigned for a California state holiday and then national holiday for Cesar Chavez, our paths often crossed with Richard. I heard young audiences greet him with appreciation as they shouted “Si se puede” and gave him rousing farm worker applause after he spoke. He never tired of sharing the lessons of the past as a way to encourage us to keep up the good fight today.

    Members of my family and I were very honored to receive a tour by Richard of La Paz and Cesar’s office. Richard’s recollections and incredible stories gave us a unique inside view into the battle that won a union against one of the most powerful industries in our country. We particularly enjoyed the stories he told about how farm workers outsmarted their enemies. Richard really loved those.

    Richard’s tenacity, courage and binding connection to the workers in the fields played a unique role in UFW history. His compassion and dedication made him loved by many. He will be deeply missed.

    The commemorations of Cesar Chavez on his birthday and all year are important to the nation in so many ways. One of them is that it teaches the young generations about the contributions of the UFW, Dolores Huerta, Richard Chavez and all those in the fields who work and fight for us all.

    Thank you Richard for making a difference. Thank you for being there for us. Your life inspires us to continue.

    Si se puede!

    Evelina Alarcon
    Los Angeles
    National Coordinator
    Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday Coalition

  183. It is with great sadness that I received word of the pasting of Richard Chavez. My heart felt condolences to Richard’s family and the entire Chavez family. His legacy, along with all the founding members of the UFW movement, will continue on for many generations to come.

    Thank you Richard for your inspiration.

    – Carlos S. Rodriguez
    Rodriguez Assoc.s Architects & Planners.

  184. Therese Ryan says:

    Rest In Peace, Richard. Your family & all farm workers were the cause of my first boycott. I lived in Canada then & the grape boycott was starting. Living now in California & still marching & boycotting. Thank you & your family for all you’ve done. Therese Ryan

  185. Lupita Quintero says:

    In 1969, I was smack in the middle of taking my secretarial notes for our weekly class officer’s meeting in St. Benaventure’s Hall, at the Catholic Univesity of America in Washington, D.C. and suddenly, in walks, Cesar Chavez, his longtime friend and labor leader – Bill Soltero, and Cesar’s brother – Richard Chavez. I later learned that it was my beloved english teacher – Miss Linda Marie Marmalejo out of LA who carefully planned the historical event. Cesar spoke to us students about the hazard to public’s health due to toxins in lettuce and grapes and he also informed us about Safeway’s decision to be uncooperative in supporting UFWs’ remedial and preventative efforts to have toxic produce from their store shelves. It was my first experience in organizing and boycotting grapes/lettuce. When I returned to Az and went to work for Bill Soltero in 1970, I began worker closer to Cesar and always encountered Richard at organizing events, union meetings and UFW conventions. Like Cesar, he was a humble man with a bright smiling spirit. The last time we organized was in Yuma, Az. where we spent tireless hours organizing the migrant – citrus packing industry. We documented this most memorable time in history by snapping photographs. The eagle is used by our Lord in His word. “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up like eagle’s wings, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. Richard is free, he now dwella with our Saviour and Lord, and Cesar and his compa – Bill and Billy Boy. Glory be to God! Say Amen to that!

  186. denis Larcher says:

    May god bless a great Leader!rest in peace Brother our Sympathy to the family

  187. Lucy Boutte says:

    The Cardinal was unable to attend the funeral services, but I asked if he would prepare a message and here it is. It is unfortunate that it wasn’t read, don’t know how it got overlooked but the message was from the heart and I believe Richard received it.;

    Archdiocese of Los Angeles

    3424 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010 Phone: (213) 637-7200 Fax: (213) 637-6215

    A Message from Cardinal Roger Mahony for the Funeral of Richard Chavez

    Today we celebrate the life of our brother Richard Chavez. Richard was a great pillar of strength
    in the fight for justice. He worked hand in hand with his brother Cesar to give a voice to the
    voiceless. Together they fought for workers’ rights and for the dignity of farm workers and their

    It is fitting that Richard was a carpenter like St. Joseph. Like Joseph, Richard had a quiet
    strength and an unwavering belief in what is right. Like Joseph, Richard was a just man, a
    tireless worker and a faithful guardian of those entrusted to his care.

    Richard and Cesar are together again in the Kingdom of Heaven, but they will always be with us
    as we continue the fight for peace and justice. We honor their legacy every time we declare: “Si
    Se Puede!” “Si Se Puede!” “Si Se Puede!”

    At Cesar’s funeral, we added his name to the special litany of prophetic heroes who gave their
    lives for the cause of justice and peace. Today, we add one more name to that special litany,
    Richard Chavez.

    As is tradition in Mexico and Latin America when a name is recited in that litany, we as a
    community respond by saying, “Presente,” symbolizing our commitment to continue the struggle
    which Richard’s life embodied. While I cannot be with you in person, I join you today in
    celebrating Richard’s life, his works and his uncompromising commitment to the values he held
    dear by reciting Richard’s name and responding with you: “Presente!”


  188. Ken Seaton-Msemaji says:

    Please tell Cardinal Mahony, “Presente!” As he will recall Cesar & Richard inspired & assisted the creation of the “United Domestic Workers of America” to continue their dream of organizing the working poor. Presente Brother Mahony, Ken Seaton-Msemaji Co-founder & President (retired) of UDW.

  189. Lucy Boutte says:

    I will email his office and copy this and your post in which you give a great testimony to the Cesar legacy and to Richard. Thanks for your contribution to la causa.

  190. Juan Luna says:

    Mil gracias for everything! Decanse Richard knowing we will honor you long into the future for all of your contributions to la familia Chicana!

  191. Claudia F. says:

    A big thank you to Richard Chavez, with his passing I learned more about him as I never met him in person. May he rest in peace now and may his arduous work continue on for generations to come and may the life of all the hard working people in the fields continue to be a dignified, justified and respectful one. My sincere condolences to all in his family and may all the happy moments be with you these days and the years ahead.

  192. To Richard,

    Life is either a daring
    adventure or it is nothing.

    A rush of proud memories of you,
    Helen K.

  193. El Mago Torres says:

    Tengo el Orgullo de haber conocido a Richard Chavez, un hombre muy humilde y bueno. Las muchas ocaciones que lo entreviste para Radio Campesina, siempre fue muy sincero y le facinaba contarme anegdotas de su hermano ( Cesar E. Chavez ). No importa que tan mal estuviera su dia, Richard siempre nos recibia con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja… Por tu dedicacion a los demas, por dar tu vida a la CAUSA, por haberme permitido ser tu amigo, Muchas Gracias….. Valla Con Dios… Viva Richard Chavez… Viva La Causa… Viva la union de Campesinos…. UFW…

    El Mago Torres
    Bakersfield CA …

  194. […] Farmworker Documentation Project, including audio interviews with Chavez and his brother. Richard Chavez, before he died July 28, granted a number of interviews about the Chavez’s family history, as […]

  195. One of the great memories I have is spending the night at Richard’s home in Keene, California in April 2004. This was at a home that Richard was so proud of as he told me he built it with recyled materials. This particular weekend was the ocasion of the formal dedication of Cesar’s final resting place at the UFW headquarters, known as La Paz. This was an awesome gathering of farmworkers and supporters.

    At that time I was a member of the
    Chavez Family Vision, Board of Directors, a non-profit organization out of San Jose, serving with Richard’s siblings Rita, Vicky and Librado in San Jose. Both Rita Chavez Medina and Vicky Chavez Lastra also stayed the night at Richard’s home and we woke up to steaming hot menudo that Richard had prepared for us. A bit later that morning Librado and his wife Annie came by.
    I was privvy to some of Richard’s and his siblings stories of their early childhood and early union organizing days. Later in the morning we all participated in the formal dedication of Cesar’s resting place. I attended both Cesar’s and Richard’s funerals at the 40 acres site in Delano in 1993 and in 2011, respectively. Although sensing great sadness in these days I also felt proud to have walked with and served the Chavez Family and the Union. Furthermore, I came home to San Jose, CA reinvigorated and more enthusiastic about continuing my commitment to La Causa.
    I will live on with wonderful memories I have had with Richard and his family over the last 35 years. Viva Cesar, Richard and the Chavez Family! Viva La Causa. Max Martinez

  196. […] Source: United Farm Workers Remembering Richard Chavez: […]

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