Retired land surveyor receives letter from President before his death

Retired Harlingen land surveyor receives letter from President before his death

HARLINGEN — Sheila Chavez and her cousin, Ofelia Olsson, sat next to a table covered with family photos as they shared memories of the late Andres “Andy” Chavez, a man who helped transform Harlingen.

From 1951 to 1986, Andy worked with the City of Harlingen as chief surveyor, a job his daughter Sheila says he had great pride in.

“My father was born with talent and tapped into it,” Sheila said. “He decided he wanted to go work for the great City of Harlingen and do something for the community.”

At the age of 92, Andy died on March 31.

Weeks before his death, he received something that his daughter said had him “smiling from ear to ear,” a happy birthday letter from President Donald Trump.

“Less than two years ago, I wrote a letter about my father stating things about the type of person he was and everything he’s done,” Sheila explained. “Time had passed and nothing happened, so it was a great surprise when he received it.”

From surveying landing strips at the Harlingen airport to multiple streets in the city and drainage areas, Sheila and Ofelia say these are some of Andy’s many accomplishments.

In addition to his career as City of Harlingen chief surveyor, Andy was a real estate developer.

“He became a real estate developer because when he would survey, he would see what was out there and got this idea to start buying land,” Sheila explained. “He would design everything free-hand. It was very impressive what he would do without a computer.”

Sheila and Ofelia describe Andy as “a pillar to the Chavez family” because of his success.

“My father was never a quitter and I admire that about him,” Sheila said. “That’s the drive that he’s always had and that’s what got him to where he was.”


WHO — Andres “Andy” Chavez

HOMETOWN — Harlingen

BORN — Jan. 17, 1927

DIED — March 31, 2019

CHILDREN — Art and Sheila Chavez

OCCUPATION — Business owner and City of Harlingen chief surveyor from 1951 to 1986.


WHERE — Rudy Garza’s Funeral Home, 1702 East Harrison Avenue, Harlingen

SERVICES — Tomorrow starting at 7 p.m.

INTERNMENT — Sunday starting at 2 p.m.

PHONE — (956) 425-8200