Obituary: Phyllis Chamberlain

Great-grandmother, journalist, traveler 

Phyllis Chamberlain, 88, died in her sleep on January 4. She was born in Ontario on June 17, 1934 to John Edward Maurer and Felicia Spillard Maurer. Both of her parents were born in Mexico to U.S. citizen expats who returned to Southern California with their children during the Mexican Revolution.

After graduating from Pomona High School Phyllis attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. She then received a full scholarship to continue her education, completing a master’s degree from the now defunct UCLA School of Journalism. She lived for decades in Claremont.

“Eternity in the Present Moment,” the title of one of her essays, is how she lived. From the 1960s into the 1970s she was a reporter at the Progress Bulletin in Pomona, which has now been folded into the Daily Bulletin. She loved being a reporter during the turbulent times of the Vietnam War, the women’s movement, the space race and civil rights.

During the 1980s she was a foster parent for infants and teenage mothers. “She said she wanted to make a difference,” her family said. She loved traveling. Some favorites were visiting archaeologically significant sites in Turkey, sipping coffee in the cafés of Paris, a safari in Africa, and weeks on Balboa Island in the summers.

She married twice, first to Edwin Porter Drew and then to Joseph Aurel Gendron, the editor of the Progress Bulletin.

She is survived by her sister Nancy Lockwood; children and their spouses Marianna and Michael Cronk, Daniel and Sima Drew, Sarah Drew and Jim Ziomek, and Johanna and Ray Long; stepsons Jay Drew, David Gendron and Paul Gendron; grandchildren Alicia and John Graves, Jessica and Andy Worford, Renee Byer, Benjamin and Angela Ziomek, Madeleine and Jordan Ziomek, Abigail Long, and Keira Long; and great-grandchildren Ezra Worford and Miles Worford.

“Phyllis was sharp minded until the end, spending her last few years reading a book a day,” her family added. “She had three kindles filled with her favorites. Phyllis said it didn’t matter what her body was doing because she could escape into the joy of a book for a grand adventure every day.”

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