Former Chamber president dies

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Former Malibu Chamber of Commerce President Chris Hasselquist was found dead Monday morning from what a Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s detective said was most likely a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 50.

Detective Kevin Lowe said Hasselquist’s body was found by a hiker at a lookout area in Point Dume near Birdview Drive. There was a pistol on his body. Lowe said an autopsy will determine the official cause of death, but he said he believed it was suicide. “We are deeply saddened and distressed at Chris’ death,” said The Malibu Times publisher Arnold York, who is a chamber board member. “We feel terrible that none of us seemed to be able to reach out and help him.”

Hasselquist was well known in Malibu as a community activist and through his computer service company, Malibu Web. He had many clients throughout Malibu, including The Malibu Times.

“Chris was an extremely intelligent man who really wanted to please everybody,” said Janice Vicioso, The Malibu Times controller. “He was a good friend. He was always there if you needed him.”

Kathy O’Rourke, an accountant for the newspaper, described Hasselquist as a friendly man who made everybody’s day brighten when he walked into the room.

Hasselquist’s son, Danny Roa, had similar thoughts of his father. “His persona was just great,” Roa said. “He was big, jolly Chris basically, always joking around and always having something to say. He walks into a room and everybody notices him.”

Hasselquist was born in a Hollywood hospital in 1955 and grew up in Malibu. He attended Webster Elementary School and Santa Monica High. After high school, he took a job as a mechanic. While living in Southern California and working as a mechanic at a gas station owned by his future father-in-law, Hasselquist met Patricia Roa, who was a receptionist there. The two soon married in the early 1980s and eventually moved to the Bay Area. They later moved to San Diego.

While Hasselquist dealt with cars for a living, he also worked on computers as a hobby. Roa said his father became attracted to computers when Apple released its first edition.

“He was into computers since I was a little kid,” Roa said. “He picked it up easily. And he was self-taught.”

After Hasselquist’s wife died in the early 1990s, he moved back to Malibu and lived with his sister, Linda Alexander. There, he realized there was a business opportunity in computer repair.

“It had been a huge hobby and he turned that hobby into a business and became the famous Malibu Web guy,” said Jeanne Hasselquist, his mother.

He also got involved in local politics and business activities. However Hasselquist was not the type who restricted himself to one political group in Malibu. In 2003, when two planning commissioners were fired and one resigned in protest, Hasselquist came to a Planning Commission meeting and loudly voiced his opposition to the political factions that existed in Malibu. He pleaded with the community to come together.

“Chris really loved Malibu,” Jeanne Hasselquist said. “He was proud to have been born and raised in Malibu and wanted to bring all the factions together.”

Planning Commission Vice Chair Carol Randall, who served as co-chair with Hasselquist on a traffic subcommittee in 2003, said she thought of Hasselquist as a person who had no bias.

“He was very dedicated and easy to work with,” Randall said. “He had humor and he did his research and had his own ideas.”

Hasselquist became the chamber president in 2004 and was serving on the chamber board this year as the past president. He often attended council meetings and voiced concerns about how council decisions might affect local businesses.

“He was a larger than life guy,” chamber President Christine Rodgerson said. “He had a great sense of humor. He contributed a great deal to the chamber.”

Hasselquist’s father, Gus, said his son had the ability to fix almost anything, and said he once helped him build a home. Roa said Hasselquist also was a good guitar player and did some piano playing.

A Malibu historian, Hasselquist volunteered as a docent at the Rindge Estate. His mother said he enjoyed giving tours and teaching people about Malibu history.

“He was absolutely an authority on it [Malibu history],” Jeanne Hasselquist said. “He could match wits with anybody.”

She added that her son had excellent people skills. “He really enjoyed speaking with people. He was someone who could make friends with anybody.”

Hasselquist is survived by his father Gus; mother Jeanne; sisters Linda Alexander, Nancy, Carol Mims and Joi Ciarletta; brother Eric; son Danny Roa; daughter Karla and grandson Nathaniel.

The family said it has not set a date for a memorial service. Hasselquist’s mother said her son will be cremated and a service will most likely take place either at a mortuary or outside in Point Dume at which his ashes will be scattered and people can discuss memories.

Hasselquist practiced Buddhism. His fellow worshipers will hold a service at 20534 Roca Chica Drive at 6 p.m. on Thursday.