Edith Marie Cates Chase, 92, of Ithaca, NY, formerly of Kent Ohio, passed away on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at Longview in Ithaca. Edith was born on November 25, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was the daughter of the late Floyd and Aimee (Fisher) Cates.
Edith earned her BS degree from Antioch College, followed by an MS degree from the University of Minnesota, both in chemistry. Edith was then employed as a chemist at Merck & Co. Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, where she met and subsequently married Richard Chase. In Franklin Township, Ohio, Chase Park was created and named after both of them in recognition of their civic contributions.
An award-winning scientist, community activist, and public official, Edith lived in Kent for fifty-six years. While raising two children, she 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. A founding member of the Kent Environmental Council in 1970, she continued to participate in the League of Women Voters. 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. Also known across Ohio, Edith was a founding member of the Coastal Resources Advisory Council when that Council was organized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1982, and she served for several years as Chair.
Acting locally, Edith was Kent's zoning inspector for fifteen years. In that role, she created one of the first hydrology studies of the effects of oil drilling on groundwater in 1989 and devised a method for monitoring well hydrology that was used by local governments.
In 2005, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded Edith the Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Coastal Steward of the Year. She was later awarded the Burning River Foundation's 2014 award for Outstanding Environmental Leader. Also in 2014, The Edith Chase Symposium was created in her honor to continue the environmental work of the League of Women Voters of Kent and the Kent Environmental Council that she had been so dedicated to for over fifty years.
In addition, Edith was a longtime member of the United Church of Christ in Kent and taught Sunday School there for many years. She also was an active member of the Longview senior retirement community in Ithaca for the past three years.
Edith is survived by her daughter, Barbara A. Chase, of Ithaca, whom she moved near in 2014; her son, Richard A. Chase, and his wife Avery, of Princeton, MA, grandson, Henry McD. Chase and granddaughter, Sarah K. Chase. She is also survived by her sister, Shirley Cates Carlson, nieces Margie Carlson, Vicki Thomson, Gerry Niebuhr, Gail Carlson, and nephew Blake Carlson, all of Minnesota. In addition to her parents, Edith was predeceased by her husband, Richard G. Chase, and sister-in-law, Nancy McD. Chase.
A memorial service will be held at Longview in Ithaca on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 11:00am. A second memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 11 am at the United Church of Christ, Kent, OH
Donations in Edith's memory may be sent to The Kent Environmental Council, P.O. Box 395, Kent, OH 44240 or The Longview Horticultural Program, 1 Bella Vista Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850 or The Kent United Church of Christ, 1400 E. Main St., Kent, OH 44240.
The Bangs Funeral Home, 209 West Green Street, Ithaca, NY, has care of arrangements.
(The Bangs Funeral Home 607 272-1922 RC 6-17-17)