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1923 Edward 2020

Edward E Chase

February 25, 1923 — May 2, 2020

Edward E. Chase 1923-2020

Born in 1923 on a family farm in Corning, Iowa, Edward Everett Chase was only six years old when the Great Depression struck. Early in life he learned to be frugal, inventive, independent, and adventurous. The eldest of three sons, he was responsible for rising early to feed the animals, for harnessing horses, for pumping and carrying water to the house, and for spending cold, short winter days repairing what had broken during the summer and fall. He learned early to hunt and fish not only to provide food for the family but also to supplement family income. These defining experiences resulted in an abiding love of family, an appreciation for life's simple pleasures, and a deep respect for nature and the environment.

Starting at age five, he learned the value of education when it was necessary to walk a couple of miles to reach the one-room schoolhouse where he was the only student his age through eighth grade. Because Corning High School was further from home, he lived during the week at his uncle's dairy farm, where chores in the morning were a necessity to earn his keep. In 1940 he entered Tarkio College in Missouri, where he earned a bachelor of arts in chemistry followed by a bachelor of science in chemical engineering at Iowa State University.

Like most men of his generation, World War II interrupted his education. At age 19 he enlisted in the Army Air Force Reserves and was called up for service late in 1942. He moved from Missouri to Illinois during basic training then to California where he was classified for pilot training. His training progressed from bi-wing Stearmans to BT-13 and BT-14 single engine planes to twin engine aircraft (AT-17) in Texas. In April 1944 he relocated to Roswell, New Mexico for B-17 (4-engine) bomber transition training. Early in December 1944 he was assigned his crew of eight and in a new B-17 flew from Lincoln, Nebraska to Wales--a harrowing winter flight via Labrador and Iceland--to join the Army's VIII Air Force. Assigned to the 91st Bombardment Group, 322 Squadron located at Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire England he began flying missions during the Battle of the Bulge in terrible weather conditions--sometimes at night with as little as 25 yards visibility. As First Lieutenant he completed 30 missions over Germany. Following the armistice Ed spent time in Germany with his uncle, a commander of a P-38 group. The B-17s were refitted with floors in the bomb bay to drop food packages in Holland and Belgium, transport prisoners of war from prison camps, Americans to Paris, and the British to southern England.

After VE Day, Ed returned to the United States, resumed his college education, and married Roberta (Bobbi) Thompson, whom he had met before the war at Tarkio. When he was hired by Sylvania, the couple moved to Emporium, Pennsylvania and in July 1949 to Seneca Falls, New York, where they spent the rest of their lives. There he worked for 41 years at Sylvania and its subsequent parent corporations GTE and Philips. He was the developer and manager of the Department for Environmental and Facilities Energy for the division and its international plants. Following his retirement in 1990, he remained a consulting engineer with Philips.

Ed was devoted to his community. He served on the Village of Seneca Falls Water Board and the Town Planning and Zoning Boards. He was also an Elder of The First Presbyterian Church, for 50 years a trustee of the Seneca Falls Savings Bank and a Director of the Generations Bank. Especially close to his heart was his 50-year association with the Seneca Falls (until 2003 Mynderse) Library, serving terms as both President of the Board and trustee.

After 71 years of marriage, Bobbi died at age 93, following a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Ed's friend Susan Clark Porter wrote in the Finger Lakes Times that his care of Bobbi was the "apex of marital devotion." He is survived by his brother Bruce, his children Debra (William Penhallurick) and Scott (Beverly Tarnow), four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Ed passed away on May 2, 2020. His family is deeply grateful for the extraordinary friendship and care extended to him by so many, especially his truly wonderful neighborhood. A celebration of his life will occur at a later date. Burial will be private.
A celebration of his life will occur at a later date. Burial will be private.

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