Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Obituary

John S. Chitwood

Submitted by Jerry Socall - August 15, 2007

Monterey Peninsula Herald
Monterey, California
Monday September 17, 1962
Front Page

Chitwood, Ex-Carmel Mayor, Dies

John S. Chitwood, a former mayor of Carmel and one of the most popular political figures in the city's history, died at a local hospital Saturday after a long period of failing health. He was 58.

Cmdr. Chitwood, who ended his Navy career and became a permanent resident of Carmel in 1948, was elected to the city council in 1950 and re-elected by overwhelming margins in 1954 and 1958.

He was mayor from 1957 to I960. Other council posts during his long tenure included those of finance and police commissioner.

Man of Dignity:

Cmdr. Chitwood a lean, angular, bespectacled man of dignified bearing, led the council through some of its most controversy-racked years.

Those years required him to handle such hot issues as a master plan for the city's long-range development and a new zoning ordinance to implement it, the Carmel Plaza parking garage dispute and efforts toward an off-street parking program.

As a councilman and mayor, Cmdr. Chitwood was known as a leader solicitous of the rights of others, to make their views heard in the council chamber and who, though slow to anger, could be blunt in expressing himself.

Although Cmdr. Chitwood unstintingly of his time and energy to city government, he felt, at least as strongly about the Carmel Youth Center on whose adult board of directors he sat for many years.

That depth of feeling led Cmdr. Chitwood to announce his resignation from the council at one point when a majority of that body failed to take an action he believed vital to the 700-member center.

Other councilman, however, refused to accept his resignation, the telephone at his home rang constantly with pleas from private citizens that he keep his post and a few days later Cmdr. Chitwood returned.

Parking Views:

Despite his devotion "to preserving his adopted home town's unique charm," Cmdr. Chitwood's distaste for equivocation led him on many occasions to speak in favor of the unpopular parking meter - something he had no love for but believed essential in mitigating a parking squeeze.

Some observers took it as a mark of Cmdr. Chitwood's stature in the city that his advocacy of meters (never adopted) made not the slightest dent in his popularity.

In his third council race where two seats were at stake, nearly three-fourths of those going to the polls marked his name on their ballots. Few doubted that he could have equaled or bettered his own vote getting record had he sought reelection last spring.

Close Ballot:

That election nearly put Cmdr. Chitwood's wife, the former Jean Taylor - whose late father sat on the town's first council in 1916 into office.

Mrs. Chitwood, running what undoubtedly was the most formidable field of candidates in decades missed by only a handful of votes although her campaign had been a minimum one.

Cmdr. Chitwood was born April 2, 1904, in Carthage, MO. His career as a Navy officer began with his graduation from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in 1925. His World War II duty included an assignment to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C.

Other Activities:

After moving to Carmel, he was active in post 512 of the American Legion serving as its vice commander; the Navy League of the United States and the Carmel Kiwanis Club. He was a former president of the later group.

Survivors include his wife; a son, John Stephen Chitwood Jr., Los Angeles; two sisters, Miss May Chitwood and Miss Marie Chitwood, both of Carthage, and his mother, Mrs. R. D. Fullerton of Carthage.

Private services will be conducted at 10 a.m. tomorrow from the Little Chapel by the Sea by Navy Chaplin Hedges Capers.

Cmdr. Chitwood's family has suggested memorial contributions to the Carmel Youth Center.