Tertius P. Chandler, historian, writer and Berkeley resident has passed away at age 85.
Mr. Chandler was struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk near his home in North Berkeley April 21. He died at Highland Hospital in Oakland almost four weeks later, on May 17.
His family will hold a memorial service in Massachusetts, and plans for a memorial service in Berkeley are still pending.
In 1978, Mr. Chandler campaigned for a seat on the Berkeley City Council and in 1980 he ran for Congress as a Republican candidate against Rep. Ron Dellums. He lectured about such topics as history and religion in Berkeley and was a frequent letter-writer to local newspapers.
Berkeley historian Carl Wilson met Mr. Chandler in 1948 while working as a ranger at Lassen National Forest. He said Mr. Chandler had recently graduated from Harvard and was living in a cave near Susanville. Mr. Chandler was looking for work and joined the force.
“We just happened to have one vacancy for a job as a firefighter,” Wilson said. “At that time we were doing some work on a septic tank near the office at the ranger station. So he started digging. He got, all over his hands, nothing but blisters, but he worked hard and didn’t complain about it.”
Wilson said that Mr. Chandler worked for the fire department for one summer before moving on. He spent 15 years roaming the West, moving from town to town. Some 20 years later, Wilson received word that Mr. Chandler was living in the same neighborhood in Berkeley. He said that the two had remained in touch ever since.
Mr. Chandler was born in Massachusetts in 1915 and attended Harvard and UC Berkeley. He was an avid walker and jogger who never drove. In his last years of life, Mr. Chandler still woke up at 6 a.m. to go on morning jogs in his neighborhood. He also ran in the Bay to Breakers race several times and competed in the Boston Marathon.
“I can’t imagine anybody as vital and bright,” Wilson said. “I never had a feeling that he was derogatory or harsh in any way. He was soft spoken and caring.”
His unpublished autobiography is on file at the Berkeley Historical Society, located at 1931 Center St.
Mr. Chandler is survived by his wife, Margot Chandler of Berkeley; a sister, Elizabeth Alexander of Sunappe, N.H.; and a brother, Roger M. Chandler of Ridge, Md.