John R. Lavis was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 28, 1928, and shortly thereafter moved to El Paso, where he remained a lifelong resident until his death.
John was the son of Henry and Esther (Boxer) Lavis. Esther died when he was a small child and Henry remarried Jeanette Weiss, the beloved mother who raised him.
He was predeceased by his father, stepmother and his brother, Eddie Lavis. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; his children, Dan (Ellen), Stella (Steven) and Jerry (Joan); grandsons, Eric, Matt, Elliot and Myles; sister, Marlene Reynolds; niece, Tera (Kerry); great niece, Kezia; great-nephew, Jay Henry; nephew, Sheldon (Nena); brother-in-law, Michael Goldman (Vicky); nephew, David (Kelly); niece, Lisa (Wes); sister-in-law, Deborah Hamlyn; nephew, Geoffrey (Stephen); sister-in-law, Rachel Lavis; nephews, Ben and Vincent. He also leaves behind many cherished cousins, friends and business colleagues.
John attended Dudley Grade School, and El Paso High School, where he graduated as valedictorian. He attended Texas Western College (now UTEP) and Texas A&M University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, John went to work for General Electric in the eastern United States.
Additionally, he served in the United States Armed Forces for two years during the Korean War. When he returned to El Paso, he met and married Gloria Goldman, his best friend and lover for 67 years.
In El Paso, John was employed by Herlin Engineering and Clay Bagwell prior to entering into partnership with Marvin Goldberg, General Contracting. In 1966 he started John R. Lavis, General Contractor, with offices in Texas and New Mexico. Pride in his community was evident by the many churches, schools and civic buildings bearing his signature. John remained steadfast in his values, demonstrating honesty, decency and integrity in all his endeavors throughout his lengthy 40-year career.
As a dedicated family man, he took great pleasure vacationing with his young children to the beaches of California as well as National Parks. This devotion continued as his family grew into adulthood and to include grandchildren. He valued learning, was an extensive reader and achieved Lifemaster in Bridge.
He relished his travels with Gloria as they explored and learned about people and places all over the world. John was a long-time member of Temple Mt. Sinai, the local Association of General Building Contractors, and Unit 159 of the American Contract Bridge League and served as president of each of these organizations.
The family wishes to thank Encompass Hospice, especially Elizabeth Becerra, Teresa Davila, Melissa Wisdom, Bernice Lara and Gabriella Amendola. Loving care in our home was provided by Cuca Villalpando, Lily de la O, Edith Gonzalez and Mary Saenz.
A virtual funeral service was held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at Temple Mt. Sinai Cemetery and a virtual Minyan service at 7 p.m. Arrangements in care of Sunset Funeral Homes (West). Donations can be made to your favorite charity.