Maria Elena Chavez, age 60, passed away on June 28, 2020, at UNM Hospital in Albuquerque, NM following an illness. She was born on January 4, 1960, in Santa Rosa, NM to the home of Juan and Florencia Lopez. She attended school in Santa Rosa. On September 13, 1975, Maria Elena was united in marriage to Michael R. Chavez. A lifelong Catholic, Maria Elena was a parishioner of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church where she was a catechism teacher for many years. She was employed with the Santa Rosa Consolidated Schools as a bus driver and school cook at Santa Rosa Elementary. She is preceded in death by her parents Juan and Florencia, brother Celestino Sammy Lopez, and nephews Geno Chavez and Leo Chavez. Survivors include her husband of 44 years Michael, her children; Joyce, Francisca (Marty), Andrea (Jonathan), Michael Jr. (Monica) and Maria (Matthew), 14 grandchildren, 1 great-grandson, nephews and nieces who Maria Elena helped raise; Janna Lopez, Marco Coca, Gabriel Chavez, Reyna Chavez, Santiago Chavez, Joaquin Chavez, and Robert Chavez, brothers; Johnny (Vivian) and Roberto “Hogan”, Sisters; Anna Mae (Nick) and Christine, father and mother in law; Ernesto and Evelyn Chavez, and many brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews who always knew that they could have a conversation, laugh or fresh tortillas day or night. Holy Rosary was recited at 7:00 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The Funeral Mass was held at 11:00 am Thursday, July 2, 2020 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church with Father Sotero A. Sena officiating. Interment followed at Santa Barbara Cemetery on the Chavez Ranch. Pallbearers included Brandon Lucero, Martin Madrid, Andres Madrid, Jonathan Gonzales Jr., Gabriel Chavez, Marco Coca, Santiago Chavez and Joaquin Chavez. Honorary pallbearers will be her grandchildren, great-grandson, nieces, and nephews. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Social Distancing guidelines, services were private and limited to the immediate family. We ask that you keep Maria Elena and her family in your prayers. You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook. All services are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 923 S. Third St., Santa Rosa, NM 88435. 575-472-3369. To place an online tribute please visit www.chavezfuneralhome.com.