‘COVID Took His Life, But I Think the Vaccine Really Makes a Difference': Vigil Hosted for Escondido Football Coach Who Died of COVID

After a 34-day battle with COVID-19—the father of three teenage boys died Aug. 31 at the age of 47

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Carlos Chavez is being remembered tonight as a larger than life man who loved God, his family and his football players. 

The beloved husband, father and coach was remembered Saturday night with a “celebration of life” by family, friends and hundreds in the Escondido community at Orange Glen High School, his sons' high school football field.

After a 34-day battle with COVID-19—the father of three teenage boys died Aug. 31 at the age of 47.

The Escondido youth pop warner league coach of 12 year’s favorite sport was front and center as those who knew him best recalled their best memories of a man they say was taken far too soon.

“He’s here in spirit, he’s here in all these boys every time you step onto the football field,” Chavez’s wife, Ruth, said.

Ruth says she and Carlos had just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.

Ruth, who is a medical assistant, says her husband was hesitant to get the vaccine because of potential side effects—but is now advocating for more people to get the shot so they don’t have to experience what her family is going through.

In late July, her husband started experiencing a fever and cough. After a week, he developed pneumonia before being placed on a ventilator, Ruth told NBC 7.

“COVID took his life but…I think the vaccine really makes a difference,” she said. “Not only was he a great leader but he impacted a lot of kids, underprivileged kids and he was always a giving person. And we're thankful, we're thankful for him and I know he's no longer here with us but he's with us in spirit.”

Carlos Chavez
NBC 7/Allie Raffa

A spirit she says lives on through her three sons.

In continuing Chavez’s legacy, Escondido’s youth pop warner football league announced the creation of two scholarships in his name at Saturday night’s vigil.

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