Character matters in a legacy of kindness and commitment

Opinion section
Valley News - Opinion

As widely reported recently in much of the San Diego media, on the internet and other news outlets, longtime San Diego media personality George Chamberlin, who was among other things KOGO-AM 600 radio’s longtime business news editor for more than 22 years, died Sunday, Sept. 1, after a difficult 3-year battle with a lymphoma cancer at the 21st century “young age” of 73.

It was particularly upsetting news to me, as I am sure it must have been to countless others, since I had been a friend and admirer of his since the mid-1980s. Chamberlin and I first met on the tennis courts of a private tennis club in Escondido, which is called, of course, Tennis Escondido. He was an incredibly likable, humorous, kind and considerate gentle giant at 6-foot-4. He was a man of unquestioned character and empathy for others. He was passionate about tennis, but he was more so about helping others through his daily radio and television appearances to better understand the world of finance, stock portfolios and all things related to saving and growing money.

In 1988, inspired by sitting in one day on his daily radio program then on KVSD-AM 1000 in San Diego, I told Chamberlin that I thought I would like to do a weekly radio program on real estate. Rather than laugh at me or try to dissuade me, he encouraged me to pursue it, which I did. “Real Estate Matters” debuted just a few weeks later, thanks to his assistance. It was one of the most fun things I have ever been involved in during my 40-year career in the housing industry. Thank you, George.

As reported in other media, Chamberlin was no doubt as well-respected as any business professional in San Diego has ever been. A press release viewed online that was sent out by KOGO-AM said that he was, “… a man who helped thousands and thousands of KOGO listeners understand the stock market and educated us all on investing, finances and so much more.”

The following biographical information was pulled from the KOGO release:

“George Chamberlin was born in Kansas City, Kansas, Nov. 5, 1945. His family later settled in Los Angeles where he graduated from Bishop Montgomery High School. He fell in love with radio back in the 1960s and started out as a disc jockey. His first broadcasting job was working the graveyard shift at a Palm Springs radio station. However, it didn’t take long for George to work his way to San Diego, home to his family for 46 years.

“Even though his first love was always broadcasting, George spent time as the administrative aide to Sen. John Stull of San Diego and later went on to work as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and Prudential Securities. For about 15 years, he combined his work in finance with his love for broadcasting and wore many hats while working in the San Diego news media, including radio, television and print. It was very easy for him to let go of the brokerage career and dedicate his time to broadcasting and public speaking. He has received numerous awards and commendations and has been honored three times by the Small Business Administration as the Media Advocate of the Year. For more than 30 years, he delivered business updates starting at 5 a.m. weekday mornings on KNSD-TV’s “NBC 7 News Today” newscasts.

He wrote business columns for the North County Times newspaper and served as executive editor for the San Diego Daily Transcript newspaper for more than a decade. Up to the last weeks of his life he delivered weekday business reports as business editor with KOGO-AM 600 news radio and hosted a Sunday talk show on personal finance on KOGO. For more than two decades he was the publisher and editor of a national newsletter, “Investing for Rookies,” aimed at teaching basic investing strategies to beginning investors.

Chamberlin and his wife Terry are active in the community, serving as founding board members and past presidents of the San Marcos Boys and Girls Club. He also served on the board of directors for New Haven Youth and Family Services in Vista and San Diego OASIS.

He was an avid tennis player most of his life, adding a love of golf in his later years.

He passed peacefully at home Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, after a 3-year battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. George is survived by his wife of 46 years, Terry, son Tom, daughter Sara and four grandchildren: Sophia, Lorenzo, Lily and Elias and his dog, Lexi. He is also survived by his brother Mike of San Clemente and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.”

Rest in peace, George. You will be greatly missed by many.