Colorful local celebrity and war hero George "King" Stahlman of "King Stahlman Bail Bonds" died Friday, his family announced. He was 85.
Stahlman died at his home, surrounded by family members, said his son-in-law, Michael Hardwick. The cause of death was not disclosed.
The San Diego City Council had declared last Sept. 12 as George "King" Stahlman Day in honor of the Purple Heart veteran, local philanthropist and well-known businessman.
Stahlman's eventful life included a bid for mayor of San Diego in the 1970s. He didn't win, but was remembered for flying an advertising plane overhead as his competitor held a rally.
Stahlman's other endeavors included running a California golf tour in the 1990s that featured daredevil Evel Knievel.
According to his family, Stahlman also held the state's oldest bail bonds license. He started his San Diego business in 1946.
Even the date of his death held some allure.
"With some irony, he passed away on a Friday the 13th, the same day his ship was sunk during World War II," his son-in-law said.
On Friday, Nov. 13, 1941, Stahlman's ship was torpedoed and sunk at Guadalcanal. Riddled with shrapnel and near death, the then 18-year-old sailor spent nearly 14 hours in the water with a few surviving shipmates, Hardwick said.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of late Friday.