Pancho was one of the first faces that I saw on campus after orientation died down. I was lost, trying to figure out who I was, as many freshman do. I found my first home in the Spanish club, which was my minor at the time. He was there, at the first meeting. It there that we really hit it off. He was quiet at first, but after getting to know him a little bit, I realized that he was super friendly and very silly. He was also there when I was trying to decide which fraternity to join and was the one who introduced me to the men I now call my brothers.
I think if I were to credit anyone with bringing me out of my shell, it was him. It wasn’t until after his death that I really saw the magnitude of how many people on campus he’d impacted with his kindness. I had a chance to sit down and speak with a couple people who knew him best.
Gabe Chavez was one of the people on campus who knew Pancho better than anyone. They had met in fourth grade, during summer school and their friendship stood the test of time. In middle school, Gabe, Pancho, and their group of friends would hang out in the pool at Pancho’s house. When he got his car in high school, Pancho would pick Gabe up and they’d go to the beach and hang out often.
Pancho was described by his best friend as positive, outgoing, and was always looking to make others just as happy as he was. He was someone you could count on if you were in a jam. Gabe recounted a time where he and a group of friends went out to McDonalds and someone ordered something off of the dollar menu because of money issues and Pancho had stepped up and took care of their meal. When someone was in pain from a breakup or death, he was always the one to step in and console them and help them get through the tough time. Overall, he was a very caring and humble person, and loved his mother more than anything else.
Jeff, one of Pancho’s roommates, commented that Pancho was responsible for giving free haircuts to a couple of the sports teams on campus. Pancho would end up cutting about 5 to 10 heads every weekend. He wasn’t professionally trained for it, nor did he expect any sort of compensation. He would rather give the haircut to someone and save them $20 and the trouble of having to drive to a barber.
Austin Abbot, President of Kappa Sigma, remembers Pancho from English class his freshman year. At the time, Pancho was a sophomore and worked in the gym. While working out one day, Austin recognized Pancho from class and they struck up a conversation and became friends. Austin recalled that Pancho wanted to start a fraternity on campus and leave a legacy. Kappa Sigma was born the following school year. During his time in the fraternity, Pancho served as the Champion Quest committee head, which is in charge of rush week. Austin credits him for being personally responsible for so many guys wanting to rush Kappa Sigma and for helping make the fraternity what it is today.
Pancho’s legacy ended up extending past the fraternity. His legacy is in how he affected each and every one of us, how he cared for us and was someone we could count on. If the size of the masses or the vigil were anything to judge, Pancho touched a lot of people’s hearts and his legacy will continue forevermore.