By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Los Angeles Chargers owner Alex Spanos passed away on Tuesday morning. He was 95.
Besides being the owner of the Chargers, he was a billionaire real estate developer and the founder of the A.G. Spanos Companies.
“Fiercely loyal, competitive, passionate, and loving — that was Alex Spanos,” the team said. “As Alex would say, ‘Believe in yourself. There is nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.'”
He was born in Stockton, California to parents Constantino and Evanthia Spanos, both Greek immigrants. While Spanos was young, his father owned a bakery and he began working there at eight-years-old.
He then dropped out of college at the California Polytechnic School in 1942 to join the Army Air Forces training program as a pilot. Spanos left the program instead of serving during World War II as a tail gunner.
Spanos would later attend the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he received a degree. He was a swimmer while there.
Several years after graduating from college, he borrowed $800 from a local banker to by a truck in 1951 to sell sandwiches to migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley. Four years later, he made his first million dollars. He invested the money he made in real estate — and at the suggest of his tax accountants, started to build apartments to gain even more investments.
He founded A.G. Spanos Companies in 1960. By 1977, it was the largest apartment builder in the United States. It is located in Stockton, California with 10 subsidiaries.
In 1984, he had an opportunity to purchase 60% (a majority stake) in the San Diego Chargers from former owner Eugene Klein for $48.3 million. Following his purchase, he was able to bring in several more small co-owners but was able to take 97% of the ownership in the team by 1994. George Pernicano, the San Diego restaurateur, held the other 3% in the team until his death in October 2016.
Spanos’ son Dean ran the day-to-day operations of the team since his father bought the team. In 2015, the Chargers were valued at $995 million by Forbes.
His wife, Faye, who married Mr. Spanos in 1948, died at 92 in August.