UC Davis

Gordon Styler, who graduated from UC Davis, spent several years during the 1970s at KZAP, a groundbreaking FM station.

Obituary: Sacramento veteran rock deejay Gordon Styler dies

Published: Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2012 - 8:01 am

Gordon Styler, a veteran broadcaster who was a disc jockey at KZAP during the heyday of free-form rock radio in Sacramento, died June 18. He was 65.

He was ill recently and died after "his heart gave out," said his brother, Bill.

Mr. Styler, who started in radio as a UC Davis student and station manager at KDVS in Davis, devoted himself to sharing his extensive knowledge of music on the airwaves. He was an expert on '60s and '70s rock and was friends with many musicians, including Country Joe McDonald and band members of Jefferson Airplane and Blue Cheer.

He spent several years during the 1970s at KZAP, a groundbreaking FM station that was the first in Sacramento to play album rock music chosen by the DJs. He later worked as a reporter and anchor at KFBK and KRAK.

Mr. Styler moved to Astoria, Ore., in 2004, and opened a store selling handmade and restored guitars. He volunteered as a fundraising organizer for community causes and broadcast a Saturday evening program on public radio station KMUN.

"He was very much a free spirit," said broadcasting veteran Big Jim Hall, who worked with Mr. Styler at KRAK. "He was very creative and out-of-the-box."

Born June 15, 1947, in Sacramento, Gordon Charles Styler grew up in Davis and graduated from Davis High School in 1965. His parents, Charles and Evelyn Styler, raised two sons and owned a children's clothing store in Davis.

He earned a history degree from UC Davis in 1969 and worked for state government before going into radio full time.

In later years he also owned a Sacramento sports card shop.

Mr. Styler had no children during a 26-year marriage to his wife, Marilyn, who died in 2003. He is survived by his brother, Bill Styler of Priest River, Idaho.

A celebration of life is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at the annex of the Fort George Brewery and Public House in Astoria, Ore. For more information, contact Bill Styler at (509) 939-8267 or go to radio station KMUN's website, coastradio.org.

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