Former Dispatch editor dies at 86

 

Vincent Power Chan, also known as

the Editor,

may not have been a native Gilroyan, but he certainly enjoyed
the years he spent in the Garlic Capital.
Vincent Power Chan, also known as “the Editor,” may not have been a native Gilroyan, but he certainly enjoyed the years he spent in the Garlic Capital.

“He loved it,” cousin Gene Chinn said of Chan’s time in Gilroy. “He really enjoyed the local activity.”

Chan died April 18 at the age of 86.

Born on Sept. 27, 1921, in San Jose, Chan ventured into uncharted territory upon his graduation from San Jose State University in 1955. One of the first Chinese men to work in mainstream journalism in the United States, he was advised to try his luck at a Chinese newspaper rather than looking for a job at an American paper. However, Chan did not speak Chinese and refused to take this advice. He went on to pursue a 40 year career in journalism, working his way up the ladder from staff reporter to managing editor at the Gilroy Dispatch, where he worked from 1958 to 1966, and the Hollister Free Lance, where he ended his career in journalism in 1984. Chan also held positions at newspapers in Los Altos, Mountain View and Salinas and co-owned the Liquor Depot in Pajaro with Chinn.

“He did a little bit of everything,” Chinn said.

Chinn, who will give a eulogy at Chan’s funeral, remembered a man who broke ground in many ways. Not only did he pioneer the field of journalism, he was the first in his family to graduate from college. During World War II, Chan flew B-24s from England to Germany in 30 bombing runs from 1944 to 1945, Chinn said. His squadron was under the command of Jimmy Stewart, the famous actor.

With no children of his own, Chan was a father figure to Chinn, who was 20 years his junior. He challenged Chinn to push himself, always making Chinn look up a word in the dictionary rather than simply telling him the meaning of a word, Chinn remembered.

Services will be held at Mehl’s Colonial Chapel, 222 East Lake Ave., Watsonville, 11 a.m. Saturday.

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