Yesterday, we lost two wonderful men from the Palos Verdes Peninsula in a tragic plane crash in Newport Harbor returning from a trip to Mexico. Russ Urban and Chuck Chambers were two inspired and inspiring men who made a huge difference in many lives, both here and in their beloved Mexico.
My husband Bruce and I have raised 3 boys here in Palos Verdes Estates, the oldest is 27 and the youngest 21, and they all had the wonderful luck to have had Russ Urban as their 3rd grade teacher. Russ was one of the kindest men I have ever known, and had an incredible knack of inspiring young people to do their best, and have fun doing it, learn something new everyday, be honest and kind to others. All the kids wanted Russ as a teacher, because they heard that he gave out jolly rancher candy as a reward for doing well.
Russ had an impact on all three of my children, and he was one of their most memorable and loved teachers. He taught at Pt Vicente, Lunada Bay and Cornerstone Schools, retiring several years ago after many satisfying years teaching and guiding children. Russ married his long time sweetheart Judy Dabinett and their years together have been very happy, but sadly all too short. We wish Judy our prayers and condolences.
I first met Chuck Chambers at Cornerstone School along with his wife Leslie and daughter Traci. He and Leslie worked tirelessly to build the then new school. They had a zest for life and for family, always giving of their time. Chuck and Russ, who later joined the staff at Cornerstone as 3rd grade teacher, were deeply committed friends and co volunteerrs for a good cause, a children's orphanage in Tijuana Mexico.
Chuck Chambers was also an extremely well respected real estate professional on the Palos Verdes Peninsula for over 30 years, and I had the pleasure of knowing him as well as working with him. I found him to be a dedicated professional, full of energy and always willing to go the extra mile. Bruce and I wish Leslie, Traci, their family and friends our prayers and condolences.
Both Russ and Chuck truly believed in and were motivated to give back to those less fortunate.
Russ and his students collected unused candy from Halloween and used sports equipment, sneaker shoes and other donations from his students. At Cornerstone School, the students also collected for an orphanage outside of Tijuana, Mexico. Chuck, Russ, their families and others made an annual pilgrimmage to this orphanage to brighten the smile of children far less fortunate than ours.
Although I did not know the other gentleman, Sean Kelly from Hermosa Beach, who also died in the plane crash, my heart goes out to his family and friends also.
Friends and former students of Russ will be holding an informal memorial gathering Friday, November 26th, at the Lunada Bay Elementary School ( where Russ taught 3rd grade for many years ) at 12:00 noon. A group of former students and friends also gathered at Cornerstone School where he also taught for many years. There will be no formal memorial service for Russ as he requested, and his ashes will be spread on the ocean near Catalina.
The family of Chuck Chambers released the following information : Please join us for a celebration of the life of an extraordinary husband, father and friend.
Sunday, November 28th at 3pm
(in front of Surfside Grill at the bottom of Torrance Beach Ramp)
387 Paseo De La Playa, Torrance, CA 90277
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Chuck Chambers Memorial Fund
23550 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite 100
Torrance, CA 90505
They will be sorely missed by the many whose lives they touched, but their memories will live on.
For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at http://www.maureenmegowan.com . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.