STOCKTON -- Alex G. Spanos is known nationally as the owner of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Back at home in Stockton, he’s remembered by many as a philanthropist.
Spanos' presence is very much felt from the Bob Hope Theater he helped renovate to the center bearing his name at the University of the Pacific, where national, state and city leaders paid their respects Wednesday.
"Alex was fun to be around, passionate about what he believed. A really sweet human being," said former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.
Spanos passed away earlier this month at 95-years-old.
His beloved wife, Faye, died months earlier. In a statement, the family says his wife’s unconditional love gave him the strength to pursue goals.
"That idea of coming forth first and being a leader was really part of his legacy," said former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
Spanos had been the longtime owner of the San Diego, now Los Angeles, Chargers.
"Was great fun to be with him. It was more fun, I will confess, sitting next to him when the Chargers were winning a game than when they weren’t," said former California Governor Pete Wilson.
"He did a lot of listening," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "He was not afraid to express himself as we’ve all heard from time-to-time but he did it in a respectful way and one that was in the best interest of the league."
From Spanos’ humble beginnings as the son of Greek immigrant bakers to billionaire businessman, those in Stockton and beyond remembered his ambition and his generosity. More than a thousand people attended Wednesday’s event.
"A person that worked hard in menial jobs from the beginning to aspire to where he is now," said Stockton City Councilman Elbert Holman.
"They can follow in his footsteps, start a business and, ultimately, give back to a community that has provided you with so much," said Congressman Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
"This guy who really embodies what I think is best about Stockton in terms of being resilient, in terms of where we start, doesn’t have to be where we finish, in terms of really valuing family and community above everything else," said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.