Edith Chase–In Memoriam

 It grieves me to let you know that Edith Chase passed away on June 13, 2017. Edith was an award-winning scientist, activist and public official who lived in Franklin Township near Kent for a very long time. As a life member of both KEC and the League of Women Voters and for her numerous other community efforts, she will be missed by many.

She retired and moved to Ithaca, New York, at age 90 in 2014 to live near her daughter because of declining health.   Many environmentalists in Kent, throughout Ohio and nationally will miss her. She not only identified environmental issues, but she also worked tirelessly to correct the problems and was frequently successful. We will miss her quiet manner and smile, her generous nature, her probing questions, her grasp of the facts, and her “green” heart. Faye Ann Sebaly, in an email, expressed the hope that we can follow in her spirit of caring for our world and continue with the same integrity. Thanks, Edith, for leading the way.

Condolences may be sent to Edith’s son, Richard Chase, at P.O. Box 433, Princeton, MA  01541-0433.

Her Career:

Edith earned her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Antioch College. She then returned to her family home in Minneapolis and earned a master of science degree in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Edith was employed as a chemist at Merck & Co. Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, where she met and subsequently married Richard Chase. They moved to Franklin Township in 1958.

While raising two children, Edith became active in the League of Women Voters of Kent and focused her scientific expertise on water quality public policy for the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. She was a founding member of the Kent Environmental Council in 1970 and continued to participate in the League of Women Voters of Kent for more than 50 years. Edith helped to establish and subsequently chaired the Lake Erie Basin Policy Conference of the League of Women Voters.

Recognized nationally, Edith was a writer and editor of scientific papers published by the Hydrology Section of the United States Geological Survey from 1979 to 1994. Recognized across Ohio, Edith was invited to become one of the founding members of the Coastal Resources Advisory Council when that council was organized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1982 and served for several years as chairperson of the council.

Acting locally, Edith was Franklin Township zoning inspector for 15 years. In that office, in 1989, she created one of the first hydrology studies of the effects of oil drilling on groundwater and devised a method for monitoring well hydrology that was used by local governments until the Ohio General Assembly restricted that authority to the ODNR in 2004.

In 2005, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded to Edith the Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Coastal Steward of the Year. Edith also received the Burning River Foundation’s 2014 award for Outstanding Environmental Leader, an honor previously awarded to United States Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich.

After Edith moved to Ithaca, KEC and the League of Women Voters formed the Edith Chase Symposium Committee, which just completed its third annual event. Edith remained a part of the planning of this event for those three years and was proud of what it was accomplishing in educating the public. To find out more or to donate, go to http://www.edithchasesymposium.org.

Honors:

2014 – Outstanding Environmental Leader Award from the Burning River Foundation

2013 – Lifetime Achievement Award from the Portage Parks Foundation

2005 – Coastal Steward of the Year Walter B. Jones Memorial Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2005 – Grassroots Citizen Advocate Award from Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network

1995 – Lake Erie Award for individual stewardship from the State of Ohio Lake Erie Commission Legacy Club Member, Ohio Environmental Council

Life Member, Kent Environmental Council

Life Member, League of Women Voters of Kent

–Lorraine McCarty

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