Patricia T. Chamberlin-Calamar
Pat Chamberlin was the first to teach folk guitar classes through “Adult Ed” (Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education). The classes started in 1965 and were popular for many years. Also in the 1960s, Pat and the guitar group she headed at University United Methodist Church in Isla Vista were on the forefront of a new type of lively worship service. Later her religious outlook was aligned with the Quaker Society of Friends. Pat, or Patsy, was a remarkable woman full of energy, songs, love, fun, enthusiasm, and hopes for peace. She adored singing, children, nature, camping, cross-country skiing, health food, gardening, The New Yorker magazine, and making marmalade. While she never legally changed her name to Calamar, she hyphenated it to honor her second husband, photographer Don Calamar. He brought eight children to their 1975 marriage and she brought five, although most of these 13 were already adults. In 2004 Pat and the others who cooperated at “Arlington West” near Stearns Wharf to mark Americans killed in Iraq won a Local Hero award from the Santa Barbara Independent. Don, who received a Silver Star in WWII and was a member of Veterans for Peace, participated at Arlington West before he died in 2004. Pat Chamberlin-Calamar is the author of Alaska’s 12 Days of Summer and co-author of Ballad of the Wild Bear.
After obtaining a Masters Degree from U.C.S.B. in Early Childhood Education, Pat briefly worked for the SB School District until Don retired, then taught mother-toddler classes for Adult Ed and compiled a songbook, Rock-a-Bye Parent. In her 80s she performed music with her ukulele for at-risk seniors and with the protest singers, The Raging Grannies. She loved Alaska where she and Don spent 20 summers in Talkeetna helping Don’s daughter and son-in-law run their mountaineering company, Alaska-Denali Guiding. Pat had many Talkeetna friends and volunteered at KTNA Community Radio.
Pat was born in Florida but spent most of her early years on the East Coast. Prior to her life in Santa Barbara and Alaska, she taught folk guitar in Monterey and performed in a trio called “The Abalone Three.” Before that she taught folk guitar in Topanga Canyon in Malibu and was part of a puppet troupe, “The Dancing Dolls.” Pat and her first husband, the late film scholar R. Philip Chamberlin, met in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ before she left for prep school at Northfield School for Girls in Massachusetts. When they married in 1948, she was the singer in his swing band and a teacher at Northfield. Pat attended U.C. Berkeley, majored in English, was a song leader in the spirit squad, played Reno Sweeney in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, and graduated in 1947. Phil and Pat spent 1952-54 teaching in Denmark at International People’s College in Elsinore. In the late 1960s with Bill Rainey and his first wife and the Daniels, they built the Nickelodeon Theatre in Santa Cruz. (Rainey bought out both couples after his wife died. Contrary to a published item, Pat is not a founder of the Magic Lantern Theatre in Isla Vista.) Phil and Pat divorced before she met Don.
Pat struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for several years, but she passed peacefully on June 23, 2019 at age 93. She is survived by four of her five children, seven of her eight step-children, seven grandchildren, nine step-grandchildren and numerous greatgrandchildren and step-greatgrandchildren. To honor Pat, go out and do something to make the world a better place or send a tax-deductible gift to the Resource Center for Nonviolence (www.rcnv.org), Veterans for Peace (www.veteransforpeace.org), the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org), or KTNA Community Radio (https://ktna.org/).
Mark your calendars and join us for a celebration-memorial for Pat at the Quaker Meeting House, 2012 Chapala St. Santa Barbara on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 29, 2019 at 1pm.