For Many, It Was ‘Better to Know Him'

George “King” Stahlman, of "King Stahlman Bail Bonds" has died, according to his son-in-law Michael Hardwick.

Hardwick released this statement Friday afternoon:
San Diego has lost a great legend and one of its most colorful characters today.  George “King” Stahlman died peacefully at his home this morning surrounded by family.  With some irony, he passed away on a Friday the 13th, the same day his ship was sunk during World War II.
The King was born on June 26, 1923 in Hollywood, California.  Most of his childhood was spent between Hollywood and St. Joseph Missouri.  Those years during the Depression helped to form a lot of the strength and drive that made him a success in the bail bond business.
At the age of 18, he enlisted in the Navy and was shipped off to fight in World War II with the Pacific Fleet.  On Friday, November 13 his ship was torpedoed and sunk at Guadalcanal.  Filled with shrapnel, bleeding and near death, he spent nearly 14 hours in the water with a few surviving shipmates surrounded by sharks before being rescued by the Marines.  He was transferred to New Zealand to recover form his injuries and received a Purple Heart for bravery and the wounds he sustained.
After the war, King returned to Los Angeles to work with his father, a famous District Attorney and representative to many of the Hollywood stars of the 40’s and 50’s.  It was not long before he was drawn to the bail bond business and the characters and gangsters of that era.  He left Los Angeles to start his own bail bond business in San Diego in 1946.
King’s motto from his early days was “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” This served him well in the fiercely competitive bail bond business.  He has built a family bail bond business on a foundation of integrity and honesty – a rarity in today’s world.  His newest singing jingle “It is better to know me and not need me than to need me and not know me” will forever be in the hearts and minds of the San Diego faithful.
Over the years, he ran for Mayor of San Diego in the 1970’s – even flying an advertising plane over the top of one of his competitors while they were speaking at a rally.  He also ran a very successful California golf tour in the 1990’s which included another colorful character, Evel Knievel.
The King was known as a great philanthropist in the San Diego community, proudly supporting many causes to benefit children and military families.
They broke the mold when they made King Stahlman.  San Diego has sadly lost an icon, a legend, a philanthropist and truly a colorful character.

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