Obituary of Jose Tavarez

Mr. Jose A. Tavarez of Auburndale, Florida passed away on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at the age of 64 years.

Jose was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and raised in New York City where he graduated from Aviation High, in Queens, the only Federal Aviation Administration-approved high school in the country.  

Upon graduating high school, Jose served 27 years in the United States Air Force, reaching the rank of Command Chief.  His assignments have taken him around the world in maintenance and flying career fields, ranging from assistant crew chief to flight engineer on special operations and rescue missions to chief flight engineer of the premier “VIP” helicopter fleet that served congressional members and other senior ranking federal personnel in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  His last assignment was as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commander, Twenty-First Air Force, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.  In this capacity, he advised the commander on welfare and morale issues affecting 120,000 service personnel in 15 countries.  During his military career, Jose also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, graduated first in his Non-Commission Officer Leadership School class, and won the prestigious Tactical Air Command Aircrew of Distinction.  His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Combat Readiness Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal with one star.

After retiring from military service, Jose joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in October 2000 as Director of Guest Services.  He was ultimately promoted to Vice President of Hispanic Outreach and Military Affairs, where he developed and implemented programs to enhance relationships with the Tampa Bay Hispanic and military communities.

Jose is known for his humanitarian works, which led him to help less fortunate people in places such as the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras.  

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Celia (Villaseñor), sons Joe (Danielle) and Gabe (Chelsea), and four grandchildren, Jane, Lola, Jack, and Desi.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Jose may be made to Fisher House:

Online at

By mail to Fisher House Foundation, 12300 Twinbrook Pkwy, Suite 410 Rockville, MD 20852.

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