The COVID-19 Pandemic has not discriminated, and it has taken its toll on the entire Copper Corridor and as Arizona continues to be a hotspot, Superior has realized its fifth death due to COVID-19.
While the death of the beloved and longtime Hayden-Winkelman teacher, Kimberly Chavez-Lopez-Byrd made national headlines, her brother Roy Chavez was fighting COVID-19 in a Valley hospital. On the afternoon of Friday, July 17, 2020 Roy “Potts” Chavez lost his battle with this raging, savage, virus.
Roy devoted his life to community service. The lists of boards and commissions he served on throughout his life were numerous, not to mention times he pitched in to help coach parks and recreation programs. He was elected as a Town Councilmember, Mayor and was hired as the Town Manager in Superior. He was the first Mayor to be directly elected by the voters of Superior. During his career as an elected and staff person, he helped to lead a variety of new ideas for community improvements such as the Queen Creek Riparian Restoration plan and downtown amphitheater, plans that are being brought into fruition today. He was a founding member of the Superior Optimist Club, served as President of the Superior Chamber of Commerce and Superior Rotary Club. He helped to breath life into Superior during the 1980s and 1990s when things were much more dire for the community.
Later in his career, he became an advocate for Saving Oak Flats, serving with the “Concerned Citizens and Retired Miners” group. His oftentimes controversial position against Resolution Copper brought to light some of the inequities of the 1872 Mining Law and the potential for environmental destruction of the project. His voice was heard at the local and state levels but his voice and advocacy were also heard in the national and international news.
His voice carried with a booming, jovial tone and he was often the community Master of Ceremonies for parades, an announcer for hundreds of sporting events and the prompter of the oohs and ahh’s of fireworks shows for decades. While he was a fighter for what he believed in, he brought joy to people’s lives through his work as a DJ and bar owner. He was a friend many could call on and, in his time of need, his friends rallied for him. His ability to assist with golf tournaments raised hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout his life.
He was also a teacher; he served as substitute teacher in San Carlos prior to his death and over the years also worked for the Superior and Hayden-Winkelman school districts. He was the father to Josh and Andrea Cruz, a brother, a friend and community leader who truly never stopped caring for his community of Superior. He also taught the value of community service to others, and many will tell stories of the times Roy called on them to “help” with community projects or how he inspired them to “get involved”
This is just a glimpse into the life of Roy Chavez, taken from our archives and our memories at the Copper Area News. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our communities are better because of him, even if we all did not agree with every position he took. Our team at Copper Area News mourns with his friends and family.