DON P. CHAIREZ Don P. Chairez, 65, of Pahrump, passed away in Las Vegas on January 21, 2021 from Covid-19. Don was born on September 29, 1955 in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to MSgt. Pedro Chairez and Clotilde (Patiño) Chairez. The Chairez family moved to the Sacramento area after Don's father retired from the U.S. Army in 1965. Don began attending the Sacramento Adventist Academy in the 7th grade, where he established many lifelong friendships, including his best friend, Carl Opsahl, and his favorite teacher, Walt Pontynen. Don attended college at La Sierra College in Riverside, California. After graduating La Sierra in 1977, Don attended law school at the University of Southern California and would be a proud Trojan the rest of his life. Don returned to Sacramento after graduating USC Law School in 1980 and began private practice. While practicing law in Sacramento, Don was introduced to a young educator, Maria Vasquez, by mutual friends. Don and Maria would marry on February 14, 1984. A few years later, their daughter, Monica, would be born on August 9, 1986. In 1988, Don began working as a Deputy District Attorney for Washoe County and in 1990 Don accepted a position as a Clark County Deputy District Attorney. In the Clark County DA's office, Don would form many friendships, especially Tom Carroll. Don and Maria would add to their family on March 2, 1991 when their second daughter, Marina, was born to complete the family. In 1994, Don was appointed to the Eighth Judicial District Court by Governor Bob Miller. His noted decisions would be protecting small property owners against eminent domain abuses. As a judge, Don would often say, "The law is not just about a bunch of words on a piece of paper, but about people's lives". After an unsuccessful run for U.S. Congress in 1998, Don returned to private practice winning several cases before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2019, Don returned to work as a prosecutor, this time working as a Deputy District Attorney for Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia. Don was predeceased by his parents, MSgt. Pedro Chairez in 1973 and Clotilde (Patiño) Chairez in 2009. He is survived by his wife, Maria, and daughters, Monica and Marina, of Las Vegas; siblings, Dina Schwalbach (Jon) of Oxnard, CA, David Chairez (Krista) of Las Vegas, and Dennis Chairez of Las Vegas, and four nieces and three nephews. He is also survived by three aunts, two uncles, and 17 cousins. There will be a limited family service for Don at the Boulder City Seventh-day Adventist church on February 14 followed by burial at the Boulder City Municipal Cemetery. Celebrations of Life will be held later this year and information on these celebrartions will be posted to Don's website at www.chairez.com
. Donations in Don's memory can be made to the Don Chairez Scholarship at the UNLV Law School at http://engage.unlv.edu/tribute
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Feb. 12, 2021.