Our devoted husband, father, son, big brother, uncle, and friend, Donald Gordon Chavis, passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 5, 2022 at the University of Utah Hospital, in the company of his loving wife.
Don was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 19, 1981 to his adoring parents Dave and Jackie Chavis. In early childhood, Don “Budzo” was a happy-go-lucky, blond haired, cherub-faced, little boy. He always wanted to be with people and enjoyed giving big hugs. He loved to go camping at Willow Lake in the Manti-La Sal National Forest with his parents and little sister, where they spent many fond summers together. Don began little league wrestling at age four and basically grew up on the wrestling mat at the Brighton High School gym. He became an outstanding athlete and accomplished wrestler, winning two state championships and placed second in High School Nationals. He was widely respected and admired by the entire wrestling community because he dominated his weight class, and always treated his opponents with dignity. Don attended Cal State Fullerton where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in History. After college, he returned to Utah, and began working for Salt Lake County in the Assessor’s Office, where he was most recently the Residential Division Director. Upon his return to Salt Lake City, Don also fell in love with his long-time friend, Amber Leigh Holmes. They were married at sunset on September 15, 2007, on the beautiful Poppy Beach in Southern California.
Don was a sensitive and caring individual who was accepting of everyone. He was always available to lend a helping hand to a friend in need or a complete stranger, and was known for his big heart. When he wasn’t busy helping others, Don spent his free time in the great outdoors, traveling, and riding his mountain bike on the trails along the Wasatch Front and Southern Utah. He loved listening to his favorite music, camping, and getting together with his many friends. He and Amber would often host gatherings on their back deck that he built with his dad. He called his mom regularly, and loved unconditionally. Most of all, he treasured the time that he spent with his family, his son Kaden, and his daughter Arya. Amber was his very best friend in the whole world, and Don moved mountains for both of his kids. He coached Kaden’s youth wrestling team and loved spending that time with his son. In their spare time, they enjoyed gaming together. He and Arya also shared a special bond and they loved to watch Utah football, play basketball, and of course…wrestle together. He was a super-hero dad, and loyal husband with a heart of gold. Don cherished his family more than can ever be imagined.
Although Don’s absence is an immense heartache for everyone that loved him, we are happy to know that he has been reunited with his beloved dog and trail companion, Boozer. He will always be admired and deeply missed, but to have known Don can only bring joy to those who were fortunate enough to have met him.
Don is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Amber Leigh Chavis (Holmes); his daughter, Arya Leigh Chavis, and son Kaden Taylor; his parents, Dave and Jackie Chavis; his sister, Jessica Rasekhi (Bijan & Kasper); his in-laws, Brenda Van Leeuwen, Sam Holmes, and Mark Van Leeuwen; his sister-in-law and brother in-law, Aubrey Van Leeuwen and Conner Van Leeuwen; and last but not least, his two loyal dogs She-Ra, and Scarlet.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held in his honor this Spring in Dave and Jackie’s backyard. All of the people that loved Don will be invited to gather and share a laugh, cry, hug, memory, and remember the wonderful human being that Don was, is, and always will be. We love you Don. Until we meet again!