She even managed to charm Newt Gingrich, said her son Scott Chesnut. As an on-air personality with WBTR in Carrollton, Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain frequently interviewed the then-West Georgia College history instructor in the 1970s.
"He was a hard person to open up," Mr. Chesnut said. "But she did it with her wit and charm and smile. She could disarm anybody."
Jane Turner Chesnut-Chamberlain, 70, of Carrollton died June 25 of liver disease at Embracing Arms Hospice in Cumming. The memorial service will be 3 p.m. July 17 at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. Cremation Society of the South is in charge of arrangements.
Born in 1938 in Richmond, Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain thrived doing radio work and volunteering in Carrollton and Atlanta. In the late 1970s, her career took her to an advertising sales position with WBTR. The radio operation was tiny, so Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain doubled as on-air personality, Mr. Chesnut said.
His mother's talents came from her abilities to laugh, think on her feet and play off what others said, Mr. Chesnut said.
Friend Georgia Meagher never witnessed Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain's interviewing but said her knack for it isn't surprising.
"She was very adept at conversation," Ms. Meagher said. "She had a very melodic voice."
And she was always dressed to impress. "I never saw her without her professional look, even if we were just going out for coffee," Ms. Meagher said. "She always looked beautiful."
In addition to her radio work, Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain had a 20- to 30-year run volunteering for organizations. They included the American Cancer Society, Altar Guild at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Telltale Theater and the Magnolia Ball. Mr. Chesnut said his mother often secured items to be auctioned, helped raise money and stirred the crowds with the microphone.
"She obviously believed in giving back to the community," he said. "She loved giving her time to others."
Michaelann McClain, her friend and personal interior designer, said Mrs. Chesnut-Chamberlain wasn't just a good interviewer. She was a good listener. "She had compassion for other people's points of views," Ms. McClain said. "She was just very open-minded."
And her voice and mannerisms were distinct, she said. "If you didn't really know Jane, you'd think she was from Europe. She had a European flair."
Additional survivors include another son, Capt. Jay Chesnut of Miramar, Fla.; three sisters, Patricia Turner McQueen of Austell, Nan Turner Ballenger of Bowdon and Linda Turner McGivney of Woodstock; a brother, Jim Turner of Alpharetta; and four grandchildren.