CORNELIO CHAYRA, JR. Cornelio "Neil" Chayra, Jr., (92), of Las Vegas, passed February 11, 2021. He was born February 21, 1928, the son of Cornelio Chayra, Sr. and Timotea Solano Chayra. He attended school in Santa Maria, Calif. and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII at the age of 16. He served in the Pacific and China, later serving in the Korean War. A combat veteran, Neil was decorated numerous times as well as receiving a Purple Heart. Upon his discharge, Neil joined the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department where he once again received letters of commendation from the Sheriff and Chief of Detectives. Relocating to Las Vegas, Neil became an investigator for Del Webb properties and later transferring to Summa Corporation. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gilbert and Edward; infant son, Richard; and former wife, Frances Sheila. He is survived by his sisters, Eleanor and Delores; brother, Richard; daughters, Sharon, Lisa and Stephanie; sons, Daniel (Lola); Dr. Garey (Linda), Terry and Steven; grandchildren, Jordan, Thomas, Iain, Christian and Alexander; great grandchild, Daniel, Jr. He was especially proud of his son, Steve, who upon graduation from the University of Cincinnati turned NFL opportunities down to join the U.S. Navy and become a Navy SEAL, which he accomplished with distinction. Neil enjoyed telling humorous stories of the wars he served. Nearing the Pacific war's end, his unit was sent to a rest camp on the island of Guam. While there, typical of the Marines, there was a watch to be stood and he was posted on guard duty on an officers' unauthorized party, which included females. A Jeep soon arrive and in it the legendary General Holland "Howlin' Mad" Smith, known for his colorful language and telling it like it is. Gen. Smith ordered the party shut down and used some of his famous language and had his smiling driver take him away. A young captain arrived shortly to close up festivities and repeated the same words Gen. Smith used, with much delight. Later, working as a security lieutenant at the Frontier Hotel, Neil was summoned to the gourmet room with a customer demanding a "comp," a free meal to those non-Las Vegas people. Upon arriving, the guest throws his business card on the table without saying a word, the card read Special Agent in Charge, FBI. Without missing a beat, the "special" guest was told he would be charged with defrauding an innkeeper and trespassed from the property should he not pay his bill. The individual paid and mumbled obscenities as he and his guest left. The following days, several agents came in for details and laughed as this individual was not well liked. He will miss his four-legged buddies, Achilles, Angus, Boo, Macho and Pedro. Services will be at Palm Mortuary, 1600 S. Jones Blvd. on Saturday, February 27 at 12 noon.
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Feb. 20, 2021.