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Stockton Businessman And Philanthropist Alex Spanos Dies At 95

AP Photo/Ben Margot

In this July 14, 1997, file photo, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos poses in front of the Spanos Park development in Stockton, Calif.

AP Photo/Ben Margot

(AP) — Real estate magnate and philanthropist Alex Spanos died Tuesday. He was 95.

Spanos grew up in Stockton, the son of Greek immigrants and became a self-made billionaire as the top apartment builder in the nation.

In 1984 Spanos fulfilled one of his lifelong goals by purchasing the San Diego Chargers and also creating the Chargers Community Foundation, which he funded to support numerous causes and organizations in that community.

Stadiums that bear his name include Sacramento State, UC San Diego, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and University of the Pacific.

Stockton Chamber of Commerce CEO Doug Wilhoit knew him both professionally and as a good friend. He said at the University of the Pacific, Spanos was a major donor and he funded many scholarships and also contributed to the Stockton Unified School District which named an elementary school after him.

“He wanted them to live the dream that he did," Wilhoit said. "He worked hard, he wanted to express that to young people. You can do it, I can do it, you can do it. That’s I think what he believed in.”

Spanos also jumped in during hard times, such as when San Joaquin County experienced heavy flooding where many residents had to seek shelter. He wrote a $1 million check to the Red Cross.

Former television reporter Craig Prosser was onboard Spanos’ private jet that he sent to Cambodia to rescue a Stockton woman who was badly burned while a teaching there and who might not have survived otherwise.

“He always came through when there was a need in the community," Prosser said. "He sent not only his Gulfstream 3 jet but he sent a crew of five people. They recruited a nurse from one of the hospitals so she was able to attend to the patient all the way back."

Alex Spanos’ death comes just two months after the passing of wife Faye. At Pacific, the Faye Spanos Concert Hall bears her name.

He is survived by his 4 children, 15 grandchildren, and his 12 great-grandchildren.

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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