by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Alex Williams Photography

90 Years Strong

faces_chinn1Earl Chinn’s service to his country and his community has been no small feat for well over the last half century. Celebrating his 90th birthday this year, Earl’s professional and personal life has kept him on the move as a naval officer, a business manager, a professional speaker, and a college professor.

Earl graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1952 with a degree in marine engineering and was ordered to serve on the USS Juneau off the coast of Korea. “For the next 23 years, I felt like I was the poster boy for ‘Join the Navy and see the world.’ During that 23 years, I was assigned to 10 different ships, four of which I was the commanding officer and on three, I was the executive officer,” Earl explained. His deployments over those years included two times to Korea, three times to the Persian Gulf, and five times to Vietnam.


Name: C. Earl Chinn
Profession: Former Naval Officer, business manager, professional speaker, and college professor – now retired
Community: Rancho Bernardo since 2002
Hobbes & Interests: Singing, Toastmasters International, and Padres baseball
Favorite Local Spots: Denny’s, Bernardo Heights Country Club, The Hamburger Factory


faces_chinn2In 1975, Earl entered civilian life. After being stationed in San Diego, Earl and his family – his wife and five children – settled in Poway, where his children all graduated from high school. “There were no traffic lights in the area and only one four-way stop at the corner of Rancho Bernardo Rd. and Pomerado Rd.,” Earl reminisced. Over the next 40 years, Earl worked as a district manager for H&R Block, a computer systems analyst for Logicon, and as an adjunct professor for University of Phoenix San Diego.

In addition to his professional and family life, Earl has been greatly involved in Toastmasters International. Since his initial membership in 1981, Earl’s roles in the organization have ranged from District Governor of District 5 to serving on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors. “I still belong to Toastmasters and enjoy the opportunities to sharpen my speaking skills and, more importantly, visit frequently with friends I have made from around the world,” Earl shared.

faces_chinn3Earl has also been an active member of choir groups since his high school days. Locally, he started singing with the RB Chorale in 1984. Earl has since joined the Rancho Bernardo Presbyterian Church choir, the Madrid Manor Follies, and the San Diego Follies. He sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Conservative Order of Good Government meetings, where he serves on the board of directors, and has been an announcer for the Mother Goose Parade for 33 years.

With a lifelong commitment to his country and his local community, Earl Chinn has served in many capacities. Today, Earl enjoys the pace of life in the Seven Oaks senior community. “Life is good,” he said. “I feel God has blessed me.”