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Jan Ernest Tavares

September 28, 1939March 23, 2021

JAN ERNEST TAVARES Sept. 28th, 1939 - March 23, 2021 passed away on March 23rd at age 81 after suffering from a long illness. He was surrounded by his wife Elaine Tavares and her daughters, his daughter and son in law Christine and Scott Mocha and his grandchildren Jackson and Cole. Jan was born to Ernest and Lydia Tavares. Ernest being a well known Hawaiian musician and instrument inventor, and Lydia being a teacher, Jan Tavares, was born while on his father’s musical tour in San Francisco, California.

Growing up in Sun Valley, Southern Calif., Jan was a huge “lover of critters” and science and enjoyed studying geology, and history. He also was an avid gardener. In high school, he became very active in sports in water polo and swim. At UCSB, he was on the water polo and swim team. During the Summer months, Jan was well known in his Sun Valley neighborhood, spending the Summers teaching from his back yard the neighborhood kids how to swim. He graduated from UCSB, received his master’s degree at Cal Poly SLO, and began teaching in the William S. Hart School District. His first year of teaching was at Hart High School as the Water Polo Coach and Assistant Swim Coach. He went on to teach over 35 years in the Hart District as the science/history teacher and Astronomy Club and Chess Club Advisor at Arroyo Seco Jr. High, but he was most beloved as Coach “T” aka “Big Wog” of the Saugus High Swim Team for over 25 years. Coach T was known for his incredible leadership in team building. Students were known to “sacrifice” Shakey’s Pizza to the Big Wog Swamp on San Francisquito Canyon and then drive to Coach T’s house and “sacrifice” a pizza to the coach before a big swim meet! The reward for winning of course was to throw the coach in the pool after the game or toilet paper coach’s house. This tradition was enjoyed by his family for many many years.

“My mom really enjoyed watching my Dad in his element as a coach. Growing up, I even got my own cheerleading uniform so I could cheer at the meets for the Saugus Swim Team.” In his later years, Jan Tavares became active in the Santa Clarita Astronomy Club. He also was an avid barbershopper and sang in multiple quartets. He served as president at different times in the Ventura and Santa Clarita Barbershop Chapters. He continued to support barbershop singing in the high schools, specifically at Valencia High School where his daughter taught Choir. Mr. Tavares was also known to substitute teach for his daughter and lead choir himself. Jan Tavares was a survivor. His first wife died tragically in a car accident. In 1974, he met Carol while on a trip to Catalina Island. His 9 year old daughter Toby, introduced them. Jan and Carol Tavares married in 1975 and along came their daughter, Christie in 1977. They were married for almost 30 years when Carol’s life was tragically cut short due to breast cancer. Re-creating his life again, he met Elaine Henry, fell in love, and got married in 2006, moving to Ventura, where he became a grandpa extra-ordinaire, shuttling his grandkids around from dance competitions and rehearsals. In his later years, he moved back to Santa Clarita with wife Elaine where he could be close to his two grandsons, Jackson and Cole Mocha. Even when the pandemic began and visits became harder, Jan never went a night without saying and singing goodnight to his grandsons via facetime. Jan and his wife Elaine were married for 14+ years. Throughout his illness, Elaine was by his side. He is survived by his wife Elaine Tavares and her children, daughter and son-in-law, Christine Tavares-Mocha and Scott Mocha, and their two children Jackson and Cole Mocha both of Santa Clarita; daughter, Toby Diaz, and two children, Eli and Summer of Pacifica, California. His ashes will be interred with his deceased wife Carol Donahue-Tavares


  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, May 8, 2021


Jan Ernest Tavares

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michelle Eikrem

April 24, 2021

Coach Tavares was so good at seeing what you were good at, helping you get better at it and then making you proud of it. Amazing teacher and coach. I was not a star student or athlete but I was one of his stars. Truly a life well lived.

Katie Eikrem

April 23, 2021

Coach Tavares was the best! He put up with teenagers with such grace! He always made me feel like a swimming star. I will never forget the two things he said during practices-“pay your dues!” and “you can always be moved up to a level where someone else will be faster than you’ He always taught this and it was such a good life lesson! work hard , do your best, and be proud of what you can do! I know coach is in heaven with God and I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.
God Bless You!
Katie Eikrem

Marianne Smith

April 22, 2021

My memories of Jan were his gift of song and his love for family. I loved listening to his barbershop quartets and listening to him share his pride in Christy. Rest in peace my friend.