José "Che" Abril was born, raised and lived his entire life in the city of Phoenix. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1951. He was later drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Corporal Abril joined the Sixth Army Boxing Team, and later became part of the Army's 546 Field Artillery Battalion. He later trained ROTC officer candidates on their yearly training drills.

After being separated from the Armed Services, Abril enrolled at the Phoenix Junior College. In 1958, he received the Associate of Arts, and continued to Arizona State University, where he received his Bachelor Degree in 1965, and was immediately hired to teach at Phoenix Union High School. Joe continued his education, receiving his Masters Degree from Arizona State University, and went on to earn his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico in 1976.

Among other jobs, he was the director of a Title One Program and of several other federal programs. His last assignment was Assistant Director of Adult Education for the Phoenix Union High School District. Joe retired in 1995 and has dedicated his time to family matters.

He is the author of the book Echoes of life in Phoenix, Living, Loving and Growing in the Barrio, and Las Avenidas, Life in Sonorita and Other Phoenix Barrios, both published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues.

Joe Abril passed away on October, 23, 2021 in his Phoenix home. He was 89.