Jewelry store owner Joey Chacon loved people, golf
October 16, 2008
Joey Chacon wasn’t bashful by any means.
Norma Chacon, his wife, remembers when she first met him at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe in April 1961.
He approached her and asked if she was married, engaged or dating someone, to which she replied, “No.”
“He then said in six months or less that we’d be married,” Norma Chacon recalled Thursday. “Then I replied: ‘What kind of nut are you?’ “
But Joey Chacon was right: They married in January 1962.
Chacon, known to many on the South Shore as the proprietor of J.P. Chadom Jewelers on Kingsbury Grade, died Tuesday at Barton Memorial Hospital.
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He moved to Lake Tahoe in 1955 and began working at Harrah’s, and also worked at the Sahara. He started his career in the casinos as a dealer and finished in top management after 28 years and retired.
Norma Chacon and her husband used to take three months off each year to travel. They had been to all but three U.S. states and traveled all over the world.
In 1971, the couple went to Europe for four months. Joey Chacon spoke English, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese, so he was the translator most of the time.
“I couldn’t have done that without him,” Norma Chacon said. “We always tried to go and see as much as we could, and we’d have a fun time doing it.”
In the late 1970s, when casinos started popping up in New Jersey, Joey Chacon and his wife had a chance to take a job on the East Coast. When they went to visit, they decided they couldn’t leave Lake Tahoe because it was their home.
He retired once, but Chacon was bored after a year in retirement and decided to open J.P. Chadom Jewelers Inc.
“I got bored not working with people,” Chacon said in an interview in August. “People are the highlight of my life.”
Norma Chacon said her husband loved to get dressed up and go out to meet people, and he loved making people laugh.
Besides traveling, one of Joey Chacon’s favorite hobbies was golf.
In September 1993, he played a round with Tiger Woods, before Woods became a legend in the sport, and with Heather Graff in the American Junior Golf Association’s Lake Tahoe Classic at Genoa Lakes. The 14th hole is named after Chacon, since he shot a birdie on it that day.
In August, after 23 years in the business, Chacon decided to retire and close the jewelry shop, which closed permanently last Saturday. In August, he estimated that he had seen 4,000 to 5,000 people come through the store and watched three generations of family members return.