LOS ANGELES, CA – Just two months after the passing of his beloved wife Faye, Greek-American businessman, philanthropist, and Los Angeles Chargers owner, Alex Spanos passed away at the age of 95. The sad news was announced on October 9.
Born in Stockton, CA in 1923 to Greek immigrant parents, Spanos worked in his father’s bakery from a young age. He served in the Army Air Force in World War II as a tail gunner and studied at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. He married his wife Faye in 1948 and the couple raised four children- Dean, Dea, Alexis, and Michael.
Spanos founded the A.G. Spanos Companies in 1960. In 1984, he bought 60 percent of the then-San Diego Chargers. Since 1993, Spanos’ son Dean handled the daily operations for the NFL franchise which is valued at $995 million, according to Forbes.
The Spanos family also stands at fifth place on TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans 2018 List.
Spanos contributed millions to schools, hospitals, and charities and received the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honor from Greek President Karolos Papoulias in 2008.
The patriarch of the Spanos family, he published his autobiography, Sharing the Wealth: My Story, in 2002. Spanos was inducted into the Order of St. Andrew/Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1972, and was awarded the Order’s Athenagoras Human Rights Award in 2004. One of the founding members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’ Leadership 100, he had served as chairman of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism and as president of the Archdiocesan Council. In 2008, Spanos announced that he was suffering from dementia, the Denver Post reported.
He is survived by his four children, 15 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.
In his autobiography, Spanos wrote about being asked by journalists at the time he became the Chargers’ owner, “Who is Alex Spanos?”
“What could I tell them? I had exceeded my wildest dreams in my business, raised four happy and healthy children, and been blessed with a long-lasting, soul-sustaining marriage to the love of my life, Faye,” he wrote.
The Chargers released the following statement from the Spanos family:
It is with heavy hearts that the Spanos family announces the death of Alexander Gus Spanos, founder of A.G. Spanos Companies and owner of the Chargers NFL Franchise. Alex passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday morning. He was 95.
From humble beginnings to becoming the top apartment builder across the nation and the owner of an NFL franchise, Alex proved that dreams do come true.
Alex was the embodiment of the American dream and leaves behind a legacy of passion and hard work. Born the son of Greek immigrants in 1923, Alex’s tireless work ethic and fearlessness was instilled in him when at only eight years old, he began working in his father’s bakery before and after school. A tough upbringing coupled with the unshakeable belief that he could accomplish anything he set his mind to drove him to succeed and overcome countless obstacles.
In 1984, Alex fulfilled one of his lifelong goals by purchasing the San Diego Chargers. His intensely competitive nature and passion for sport made him the perfect fit to be a part of the NFL family. One of his most memorable moments was watching the Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to play in Super Bowl XXIX. He was equally passionate about the franchise’s impact off the field, implementing many Chargers’ community outreach programs that exist to this day. The Chargers Community Foundation – which he created and funded – still supports numerous critical causes, individuals in need and organizations supporting the community.
Faye and Alex Spanos. Photo: Courtesy of the family
Aside from being a celebrated businessman and generous philanthropist, Alex’s greatest joy and source of pride was his family. His beloved wife Faye, his four children, his 15 grandchildren and his 12 great-grandchildren always came first. Throughout Alex’s life, Faye, his wife of nearly 70 years, was his rock and inspiration. It was Faye’s unconditional love and support that gave him the strength and peace of mind to take risks and pursue his goals unfettered. Together they contributed generously to worthy causes and charities. Hospitals, universities, scholarship funds, youth programs, sports programs, churches, schools – all were recipients of their incredible generosity.
Through it all, Alex never forgot his roots and took immense pride in both his Hellenic heritage and Greek Orthodox faith. It was through that faith he learned compassion and empathy. Whenever he was called upon to help, he always delivered. Passionate about education, helping the underprivileged and enabling those with a dream to better their lives, he took pride in setting an example for others to follow.
Alex and Faye Spanos at the Roma Bakery. Photo: Courtesy of the family
Fiercely loyal, competitive, passionate and loving – that was Alex Spanos.
We have no words that can adequately express our sadness with his passing. We will continue to honor his legacy by dedicating ourselves to making a difference in the community and throughout our country.
As Alex would say, “Believe in yourself. There is nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the next few days.
Faye and Alex Spanos. Photo: Courtesy of the family
FILE – In this Oct. 27, 1993, file photo, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos gestues after the NFL announced that San Diego secured the 1988 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Tim Boyle, File)
Alex and Faye Spanos. Photo: Courtesy of the Spanos family
Alex and Faye Spanos on their wedding day. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)