Obituary: James M. Chick

Great-grandfather, helped build Chick’s Sporting Goods into regional powerhouse

James M. Chick, loved by his wife Karen Reza Chick; his daughter Angela “Angie” Anderson (spouse Mark); his son James “Jimmy” Chick (spouse Christina); his five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and a wonderful universe of friends, died peacefully March 7 after an extended struggle with dementia.

Born in Covina on April 16, 1946, Jim had an adventurous childhood, growing up among the local orange groves. He was the firstborn child of Elizabeth Eleanor Chick and James Elmo Chick, and had two sisters, Betsy Muenyoung and Cindy Chick. His father taught him to hunt and fish and encouraged him to start working at Chick’s Sporting Goods retail store in downtown Covina at an early age.

“In 1960, Jim’s parents divorced, which was a very difficult time for him,” his family shared. “His maternal grandparents, Ralph and Hazel Chambers, lived nearby and were like second parents to Jim and his sisters. When Jim’s father decided to sell the business and relocate, his grandparents purchased Chick’s Sporting Goods retail business knowing how much it meant to Jim.” This enabled him to work at Chick’s through his high school years. He graduated from Charter Oak High School in Covina and enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona, where he studied business.

He married his high school sweetheart, Martha (Marti) Cleveland, in 1964. They were blessed with two children, Angela “Angie” Patrice and James “Jimmy” Robert. After 15 years of marriage, they made the decision to divorce.

In the late 1960s at the age of 21 with his entrepreneurial spirit and business skills, he purchased Chick’s Sporting Goods from his grandparents and grew it from the small-town family-owned business into one of the retail sporting goods industry’s major success stories. He had an excellent team assisting him along the way to help him grow his business from the original Covina location to 16 50,000 square-foot retail stores throughout Southern California, including both a corporate distribution center and corporate headquarters.

He served as president and CEO of his company, as well as a board member of the National Sporting Goods Association from 1985 to 1994. In 1992, he was elected as chairman of the board and in 2004 was inducted into the Retail Sporting Goods Hall of Fame.

“Thirty years ago in September 1993, Jim married Karen, the love of his life,” his family added. “It was the beginning of an amazing, fun life together.”

In November 2007, he sold Chick’s to Dick’s Sporting Goods, a Fortune 500 Company and one of the largest retailers in the U.S. In turn, he looked forward to enjoying his retired life at their Claremont home, complete with an orchard of mature avocado, lime, lemon, and orange trees. He thoroughly enjoyed his grove and took great pride in the fruits of his labor of love.

As his health declined, his wife realized that managing and caring for him in a home with multiple levels and steps was no longer safe for him. The Claremont home was sold in early January 2023, and the couple moved to the Upland Hills Golf Course Community. Sadly, within a month, his health began to significantly decline at a rapid pace. He died peacefully at home March 7 with his wife and his dog, Lucky, by his side.

“He will be greatly missed by his family and a wonderful universe of friends,” his family said.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Reza Chick; daughter, Angela “Angie” Patrice (spouse Mark Anderson); son, James “Jimmy” Robert (spouse Christina); grandchildren Brittany Anderson, Brianna Anderson, Alexa Anderson, Tyler Chick, Cody Chick (spouse Veronica); great grandchildren Chase Laufer, Avery Laufer, Cadence Anderson, Sophia Chick, and Russell James “R.J.” Chick.

In lieu of flowers the family of James M. Chick requests contributions be made to Cal Poly Pomona Philanthropic Foundation at, or by check to P.O. Box 3121, Pomona, California 91769, with “James M. Chick Scholarship Fund” in the memo line.

“Jim will always live on in our hearts and in our memories. Faithful to God, he will move from his earthly body and in spirit to be with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” his family wrote.

A celebration of life to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at South Hills Country Club, 2655 S. Citrus Ave., West Covina, CA 91791 .


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