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George Young Chalmers ’56

George Young Chalmers, beloved family man and friend, was born to Roy Ferris Chalmers and Margaret Young Chalmers on October 29,1933 in Springfield, New Jersey. He passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by loved ones, on March 18, 2018 at the age of 84.

George spent his early years moving from town to town as his family chased hard-to-find Depression-era jobs, finally settling in Detroit, Michigan for the duration of WWII. Always being "the new kid on the block" taught him to use his words and a self-deprecating sense of humor as a survival technique. The experience of being a latchkey kid and paperboy by the age of 10 fostered a sense of independence that never quite left him.

George's father died suddenly and unexpectedly when George was a young teenager. He was a hard man, but he gave his son the gift of the game of golf, and George's love of the sport and the camaraderie that comes with it lasted a lifetime.

Always an indifferent student, George was faced with a life changing decision upon graduation from high school. His mother, a wise woman who adored her boy, gave him two choices: sell his car and go to college or sell his car and get a job.

He reluctantly but wisely followed his beloved sister Jean Chalmers Kepler ’51 to Antioch College in 1951, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business, made several lifelong friends at the infamous Dodd's Hall and met his future wife.

George graduated from college at the close of the Korean War, when military service was still mandatory. He enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps (CID) in Washington, D.C. for two years. He spent his tour living on the economy, rooming with one of his best college friends, and wearing civilian clothes. He loved America, its history and ideals, and was always proud of his service.

At the conclusion of his Army days, George headed for Stanford University, married his college sweetheart Marilyn Griffiths, and got to play golf for $1 a round on the university course. He credited his charm on the golf course, rather than his MBA, for his first professional hire. Now ready to start a family, George and Marilyn had two sons, Jeff and Chris, and eventually chose Palos Verdes as the perfect place to make their home and raise them in comfort and safety.

All his life, George loved to get up in the morning and go to work. He wanted to be productive and his motto was "always ready". He had multiple careers in the real estate world and shone in them all. He began as an analyst with Economic Research Associates (ERA) in Los Angeles, where he met his lifelong friend, Rusty Doms. He moved on as a developer of shopping centers in the Phoenix area, working with Rusty and another good friend, Alan Bramoweth. He retired as an asset manager for a real estate investor in 2015, wishing he could continue working forever.

During his middle years George met Barbara Straka and her young daughter Sheba, fell in love, and bought a home for the family on the Westside of Los Angeles, the place where he felt he truly belonged. He loved being in the middle of the cultural life of the city, their road-trips across America, and their forays into European cities. Best loved were the city of Boston, the state of Maine and the country of Spain.

As much as George loved his work, his true passion was the game of golf. He started playing with his dad at the age of 13, and didn't stop until poor health forced it at the age of 80. He treasured his time and friendships at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, and the camaraderie and adventure of his many golf trips, both stateside and in Europe.

George retired in 2015 after 70 years in the workforce, and only because advancing Parkinson's Disease forced the issue. He and Barbara moved to Santa Barbara to be closer to family and for easier access to the cultural events they'd always enjoyed. They bought a home in beautiful Carriage Hill, where they enjoyed a neighborliness and sense of community they hadn't realized they'd missed in Los Angeles. They felt they'd landed in Paradise, and explored their new home with a passion for as long as George was able.

George is survived by his loving wife, Barbara; sons Jeffrey Chalmers (Lien) and Christopher Chalmers (Lisa); daughter Sheba de Ponce (Michael); grandchildren Britney, Lindsey, Zach, Samantha and Justin; niece Susan Clifford; nephews Peter and Michael Kepler and Nigel McNeill; and in-laws Bethy and Cerves McNeill. George's final thoughts on the success of his life centered on his children. He was so proud that they were happy and successful in life, and felt that he could leave in peace, knowing that they would be well.

There had been some concern about leaving Dr. Avinash Mondkar and the medical community in Los Angeles, but both Barbara and George were thrilled with the quality of care he received from Doctors Andy Gotelli, Erin Presant, Joseph Aragon and Grace Park in Santa Barbara. The family also extends a very special thanks to the "Good Guys" of Happy Living In-Home Care, for the loving care they gave to George in the last year of his life, and to the nurses of Central Coast Hospice, who held our hands in his final days.

There will be a Celebration of Life for George in Santa Barbara on April 21, 2018; details to be determined. He will always be remembered as a great lover of family, friends, hard work, golf, road-trips, books, history and America, the great land that made all things possible for him. George was a true gentleman; gracious, generous, ethical, loyal, humorous, and most of all, loving. He will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered.

In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of George may be sent to the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB), PO Box 6254, Santa Barbara, CA 93160.