Jefferson choral director dead at 49

October 13, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Longtime Jefferson High School choir director Harold L. "Sonny" Chamblin died Monday at his home. He was 49.

"It's a tremendous, loss particularly to the young people," said former Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Judson Romine. "He did such a tremendous job with the pop singers and the chorus. He was just a tremendous asset to the school."

When Chamblin did not show up for school Monday, school officials called his home and then met a relative at the home to check on him, said Jefferson County Schools Superintendent David Markoe.


Chamblin was found dead at his home. He had heart trouble last year and missed part of the school year because of his health, Markoe and Romine said.

"He spent hours and days and nights there at the school. He never complained about it. Never said much. He just put the time in," Romine said.

Jefferson High band director David Wilson said Chamblin was devoted to the music programs.

Chamblin had taught the parents of some of his students, Wilson said.

He was the kind of teacher who students could approach with either musical questions or personal problems, Wilson said.

"It'll be a hard adjustment on the kids," Wilson said.

School counselors met with the music students on Monday and will return this morning, Markoe said.

The parents of the students also were contacted, Markoe said.

"He cared about the kids a lot," Wilson said.

Wilson said he will remember walking into Chamblin's class room and hearing his familiar greeting of "what's up, doc?"

"He was just always very pleasant. He always had time for me and answers for questions I had," Wilson said.

Chamblin was hired as a music teacher in 1972 when Jefferson High School opened. He was just 22 years old and had graduated from Shepherd College in 1971.

He started the Jefferson Pop Singers and the Jefferson High Choir.

Jefferson County School Board President Peter Dougherty paid tribute to Chamblin before Monday night's school board meeting.

"Certainly Sonny's leaving us was premature and a real shock to many of us," Dougherty said.

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