Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight residents, Jack and Joanne Chambers.
Joanne Chambers was born October 31, 1938, in Pratt, Kansas, a small town 80 miles west of Wichita. Being brought up in a farming family required a lot of hard labor and grit, and Joanne remembers her and her sister, ages 9 and 5 respectively, had to cook dinner for nine people each night. She had three brothers and one sister.
Jack Chambers was born October 14, 1929, a mere two weeks before the stock market crash of Black Tuesday, triggering the events leading to the Great Depression. Jack was born in Oakland, but following the death of his father, moved to Fallon, Nevada where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. During the Prohibition era, Jack’s grandfather made moonshine in a still on his farm, and Jack lived a bit of the cowboy life.
Jack realized early on his talent for fine art, which led eventually to his pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Art from UC Berkeley. He served in the Army Air Force for two years during the Korean War, and met and married his partner, Judy, with whom he had four sons. He was hired as a media consultant in the Cooperative Extension at UC Berkeley, and later in Riverside. When Jack’s younger son was thirteen, Judy passed away, and Jack raised four teenage sons as a single parent.
Joanne spent winters with her family in the mild weather of Tucson, Arizona, beginning her musical career there. At age 14, her father passed away, and she went to work playing the organ in churches and teaching students piano, which helped lead her to a Performance in Organ Degree from the University of Arizona. Joanne married and had two sons and a daughter. She and her children moved to Davis after her husband left, and raised them as a single parent as well. She loved Davis for its bicycles, safety, and beauty, and taught band and strings in public school for 20 years. While playing organ and piano for the advanced choir at UC Davis, she met Jack, and they married in 1983. They were now raising their seven children as a married couple!
Joanne recalls a favorite life experience as traveling the world with the UCD Choir. Among the countries they visited and performed in were Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Russia, Egypt, Greece, Australia, Tahiti, and New Zealand. A performance she recalls very fondly is playing for the Catholic Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
Asked about a message they want to pass along to others, they say, “Fill your life with music, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” After retiring from UC Davis, they enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren, making new friends at Carlton Senior Living Davis, and being well-cared for. Joanne still gives organ concerts and recitals, teaches, and has made nearly 250 quilts for Project Linus, which provides them for needy, orphaned, and fostered children.
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Written by Eric Demuth