Willy Chamberlin Dies

Josiah Jenkins, in the yellow slicker, recalls that Willy Chamberlin came along to where the Santa Barbara Trail Riders were camping on the Chamberlin Ranch one rainy November day in 2010. "Willy went and got one of their tractors to pull everyone out, that is, up and over the hill from the campsite to paved roads." Mourning the loss of his friend, Jenkins wrote, "We have lost a great statesman, rider, teacher, mentor, and, above all, a true gentleman."
Jeff Nelson

Lifelong rancher and former 3rd District county supervisor Willy Chamberlin died last night on the family’s Los Olivos ranch. He was 75, and his passing — after a long battle with prostate cancer — marked 37 years to the day since the passing of his father, Ted Chamberlin, from the same disease.

Willy Chamberlin
Courtesy Photo

In the spring of 1994, after two recounts and considerable courtroom drama, the 2nd Court of Appeals overturned a year-old ruling by Superior Court Judge Nat Agliano that Chamberlin had won the election by two votes. At issue was the validity of ballots cast by registered Isla Vista voters who voted in the wrong polling place. The seaside college town had long been a stronghold of then-supervisor Bill Wallace in a district that also included Goleta and the Santa Ynez Valley. Chamberlin served two years on the board before Wallace took over.

Of six siblings, Chamberlin is survived by his brother Fred and sister Sarah, both of the family’s 8,000-acre Los Potreros Ranch, purchased by their father in 1929. He’s also survived by two children and two grandchildren.


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