Updated: November 17, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: November 17, 2020 10:37 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Amarante “Mante” Chacon, a well-known and well-loved resident of Taos, died from complications made worse by COVID earlier this month.
Chacon was the kind of guy that puts the charm in small-town living.
His son, also named Mante, described his father’s humble beginnings.
“He started his business in 1973 out of a Rainbo Bread Van,” he said. “ It was like a food cart.”
As a restaurant entrepreneur, Chacon grew his food business, most recently owning Mante’s Chow Cart. He made sure everyone could eat his famous burritos, even if they couldn’t pay.
“I also remember growing up, if somebody needed something to eat, they would just come in and ask. He never asked questions, he always fed who needed to be fed even if he didn't know them,” said Chacon’s son.
Chacon was known for helping his community, especially the fire department where he was named an honorary firefighter. He raised money for public safety agencies in Taos and was known to donate food to families who lost a loved one.
“He was always helping in that way,” Mante said. “He was active in his church and did a lot.”
A few weeks ago, Chacon complained he wasn’t feeling well. His family doesn’t know where he contracted COVID-19, but said the virus caused pneumonia and reduced his oxygen intake.
Doctors in Taos transferred Chacon to Colorado Springs where he passed away on Nov. 7.
“It's super hard, Chris, because— just not being able to be with him. My father was there for every moment of my life—all of our lives—that when he needed us, it seems like we weren't able to be there for him. My dad had a real peace about his death. He called us and said I want to thank you guys, I love you and I'm proud of you. He says take care of your mom," Mante said.
As it turns out, the Taos community also wanted to thank Chacon.
When Chacon’s family returned from Colorado with his ashes, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office and the fire department escorted them from the state line into Taos where Chacon made one last trip to his chow cart.
“The outpouring of support has been really special,” Mante said.
The Chacon family is now part of a growing number of New Mexicans who have experienced a devastating loss.
Amarante “Mante” Chacon’s story serves as a reminder of how deadly COVID-19 can be and that it requires all New Mexicans to take it seriously.
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