In Memory of W. Major Chance
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In Memory of W. Major Chance
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La Jolla resident William Major Chance, a pioneer in residential memory care and senior housing development, died on September 1, 2016.

Major is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judy (nee Heimlich); his two daughters, Tami (Billy) Assaf and Ashley (Brad White) Chance; his granddaughter, Kristine Rumbaugh; and his grandson Reily McGinley.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a contribution be made to the

W. Major Chance Visionary Fund through Alzheimer’s San Diego.

Major was born in San Diego on June 2, 1945, to Wiant and Louise Chance of Alpine, CA He attended Grossmont High School and graduated from San Diego State College in 1969 with a degree in finance. In 1974, he and his partners formed Income Property Group and through the balance of that decade structured and managed the successful development of numerous retail, multi-family, office, industrial, and recreational projects. In 1979, IPG purchased its first senior housing property, a skilled nursing facility in Orange County, CA, and soon thereafter formed Health Care Group to serve as its operator/manager.

After a number of years operating nursing homes, Major became dissatisfied with the regulations that required residents with dementia to be physically or chemically restrained. He believed there must be a better way to care for those with memory loss in a less clinical and constrained environment. He then led the charge to change state law to improve the care of those with dementia. In 1988, at his behest, California initiated a three-year study on the benefits of specialized residential memory care communities with secured perimeters. In 1995, Mr. Chance was instrumental in the passage of SB 732, the legislation that finally allowed for secured perimeters in assisted living communities in California. This model has since been adopted by many other states throughout the nation, and by countless other senior housing operators.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Chance directed the expansion of the company’s senior housing portfolio through the formation of various partnerships utilized to acquire and/or develop numerous projects that have covered the entire range of the senior housing spectrum, including free-standing skilled nursing facilities, independent and assisted living facilities, residential memory care facilities, as well as multi-level campuses providing all levels of care. After selling the majority of its senior housing portfolio in 2006, he directed his company to focus exclusively on the development and management of their ActivCare residential memory care communities; renaming the firm ActivCare Living, Inc. in 2011.

As Founder and Executive Chairman, Major served as the visionary and leader of Income Property Group, Health Care Group and ActivCare Living throughout its 42-year history, He served as board member of the Alzheimer’s Association of San Diego from 1989 to 2002, and was its chairman from 1992 to 1997.  After the secession of the local chapter from the national Alzheimer's Association in 2015, he continued his loyal service as a member of the Community Advisory Council for the new local organization, Alzheimer's San Diego.  He was also one of the founding board members of the California Assisted Living Association (CALA), and an active member of the YPO/WPO organization for the last 30+ years. As long-time La Jolla residents, Major and his family have been members of the La Jolla Country Club and the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club since the 1980’s.

Recognized for his groundbreaking achievements in the industry, W. Major Chance was honored by CALA in 2015 for his leadership and commitment to improving care for those with memory loss. He was also featured in Meet the Innovators, a CALA article acknowledging the 20th Anniversary of memory care communities. Mr. Chance was also named one of 20 Men Who Impact San Diego and was featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune for Making a Difference.

“Major will always be the vision and soul of our company. His drive and ambition to provide a better quality of life for those living with dementia is the foundation of ActivCare Living and the sole focus that drives each of our communities and our company.”

Kevin, Renee, Todd and the ActivCare family of communities and staff

ABOUT Friends & Family Tribute Page

Celebrate the life of a loved one or recognize occasions, such as birthdays, weddings or anniversaries by creating a personalized Alzheimer’s San Diego Tribute Web* page. With the help of our team and our easy Web page creator, you can create a tribute page with a personal message, photos and a link to a personalized donation form that collects gifts in honor of your loved one or special occasion.

Click the blue "BECOME A FUNDRAISER" button to create your page or search for a fundraiser below to donate to an active page. 

Please make checks payable to Alzhiemer's San Diego and send to 6632 Convoy Court, San Diego, CA 92111.

Questions? Call Michelle Van Hoff at 858.966.3300.

*Tribute Web Page will be taking down after 3 months to allow new Tribute Web Pages to be displayed.

Name Date Amount Comments
Nancy Carden 02/10/2017 $100.00  
Kathleen Parker 12/20/2016 $300.00 He was a wonderful man and an inspiration to so many. We will miss his smile and generous spirit.
Joel Grieco 11/20/2016 $250.00  
Diana Farr 10/28/2016 $25.00  
Barbara Lail 10/26/2016 $500.00 THANK YOU
Barbara Harris 10/21/2016 $50.00  
Franci Free 10/20/2016 $500.00  
Gregory and Cheryl 10/20/2016 $200.00  
Judy Chance 10/14/2016 $1,132.07  
Jerry and Sharon Stein 10/14/2016 $100.00  
California Assisted Living Association 10/13/2016 $500.00 In honor of W. Major Chance, a man who made a difference in the lives of thousands of Californians. CALA is grateful for his leadership and mourns his passing.
John & Margaret 10/13/2016 $100.00  
Duane Heise 10/11/2016 $25.00  
Walter Doren 10/11/2016 $100.00  
The Assaf Family Trust 10/10/2016 $500.00 In loving memory of a remarkable man- Major Chance.
Tami Assaf 10/10/2016 $200.00 In honor of our loving father!
Joan Tincher 10/08/2016 $100.00  
Anonymous Friend 10/06/2016 $50.00  
Robert Getty 10/06/2016 $100.00  
Wanda Garner 10/06/2016 $500.00  
Hanson Bridgett LLP 09/30/2016 $1,000.00  
Steve Quinn 09/29/2016 $300.00 With our sincere condolences to Judy and Major's entire family; we will miss his bright smile! Pam & Steve Quinn
Hymie Barber 09/29/2016 $500.00 Major was a consummate gentleman, extraordinary businessman and a good friend. His legacy lives on through his family and ActivCare.
Robert W. Doede 09/27/2016 $300.00  
Greg Koch 09/27/2016 $250.00 My deepest sympathy for your loss.
Papa Doug Manchester 09/26/2016 $500.00  
Jackie & John Hassler 09/24/2016 $200.00  
Alan Berkowitz 09/23/2016 $200.00 To an exceptional health care innovator and gentleman
Epstein Family Foundation 09/23/2016 $1,000.00  
Gwen Brunton 09/22/2016 $200.00 Our sincere condolences to Major's family and friends at this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
David and Cathy White 09/21/2016 $100.00 To: Judy, Family and Friends While we are saddened with Major's passing, let us all remember, cherish, and pay tribute to a wonderful human being. He will be missed!
Emma Zuckerman 09/21/2016 $500.00 Dear Judy & Family, We're so sorry for your loss. Major was a true gentleman and we have many fond memories of good times together in YPO. You are in our thoughts. Emma & Leo
Nancy Schier Anzelmo 09/21/2016 $100.00 In memory of Major, a true leader who changed the lives of so many individuals affected by dementia in CA. Thank you for being a pioneer and inspiring us to never settle for the status quo but to keep moving forward!
MIke Dokmanovich 09/20/2016 $100.00 A truly great guy. He will be missed
Windward Life Care 09/19/2016 $100.00 All of the staff at WLC offer our sincere condolences to the Chance family and the ActivCare team.
Karen McElliott 09/16/2016 $1,000.00 It was an honor and a privilege to know Major. A true friend and an incredible and thoughtful partner. He took care of me during my darkest hours, and I will never forget. I will miss him
Christine & John Michaelsen 09/16/2016 $500.00 Dear Judy and Family, John & I are very saddened to hear of Major's passing, and offer our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to you. John and Major have been friends since the early 70's, when they shared an office space for nearly three years. He was such a great guy and will be so missed.
John W. 09/15/2016 $500.00 Major was a great & wonderful gentleman…he will be missed…
Bruce Ives 09/15/2016 $50.00  
Jennifer Teran 09/15/2016 $50.00  
Dan and Lorraine Moriarty 09/15/2016 $2,500.00 Partner and friend - so many memories - always in our hearts
Dona Whitaker 09/14/2016 $100.00 With Deepest Sympathy to Judy, Tami ana Ashley. Thank You, Major
Sheila Scaramella 09/14/2016 $100.00 In continued support of W. Major's strong commitment to improving care in residential memory care communities. Our deepest sympathy to Judy and their family. Sheila & Larry Scaramella
Anonymous Friend 09/13/2016 $1,200.00  
Wayne Mushet 09/13/2016 $1,500.00 We will miss our good friend.. Diane & Wayne Mushet
Ron Hendtix 09/13/2016 $150.00 He was a great volunteer for the Asdociation and my Board President for 5 years. He will be missed by me and many others.
Kevin, Renee, Todd and the ActivCare family of communities and staff 09/12/2016 $5,000.00  
Daniel Whiting 09/12/2016 $50.00  
Harriet Skarie 09/12/2016 $75.00  
W. Major Chance 09/12/2016 $100.00 W. Major Chance..forever in my thoughts and memories. A wonderful lifetime friend and an honorable and exemplary human being who gave much more than he could ever receive.
Jon, Nancy, Jonathan and Courtney Lischke 09/11/2016 $100.00 Major was a remarkable man of extraordinary commitment and compassion. Our deepest sympathy to his family with whom we shared many wonderful experiences.
Gloria De Aragon Baker 09/09/2016 $100.00 In celebration of the extraordinary life of a cherished friend.
Anonymous Friend 09/09/2016 $20.00  
  Total $23,777.07  
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