Kenneth Trawick Chase and his wife Doris Carlson Chase of Lodi, California, passed away within 35 days of each other, Doris leaving first on November 16, 2012 from terminal cancer, and then Kenneth of heart failure following a massive stroke, on December 21, 2012. They had been married for more than 50 years.
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The two could not have had more different childhoods. Ken was born in Karizawa, Japan, on July 18, 1927, of missionary parents. Doris was born three years later on November 11, 1930, in Valley City, North Dakota, of an immigrant Norwegian farm family. Ken was the oldest of four children. Doris, the youngest of five. Ken went to schools in Japan, Korea, Tennessee, and California. Doris staying in Valley City from kindergarten through high school.
When Doris graduated, she wanted more than North Dakota had to offer, so she moved to Seattle to live with her married sister, Tillie, and then to Los Angeles to live independently. Meanwhile, while Doris was still in Valley City, Kenneth graduated from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, giving the valedictory speech in 1945. While he was still in high school, he joined the Army Special Training Reserve Program and immediately following graduation was sent to the University of Idaho for officer training. The end of the war, however, abruptly ended the need for additional officers, and Ken was soon mustered out of the service.
It was the G.I. Bill that made UCLA possible for Ken, and it was there that he met Doris several years after his discharge, when he was a student and she was a departmental secretary. After a brief but intense courtship, they were married in Downey, CA by Ken's minister father. A year later, their son Marc was born. They wanted Marc to know his cousins, so they soon moved to Whittier, CA, to be near Ken's brother and his family.
At the time, Ken was an insurance agent, and after several years in the business, he wanted to establish his own agency, so he moved the family of three to Santa Rosa, offering several kinds of insurance and representing several different companies. Because Ken had been a motorcycle enthusiast in his youth and later in life as well, he offered motorcycle insurance, a specialty not available everywhere. In addition to helping Ken with his business, Doris found employment with Hewlett Packard in Santa Rosa, where she worked for several years.
Then in 1980, tragedy struck when their only child Marc was killed in an automobile accident on his way to a car rally with a friend. The news was a blow to everyone in the extended family, but especially to Doris and Ken. In Marc's memory, the family contributed to a scholarship at Marc's high school in his name.
When Ken sold his business and retired in 2000, he and Doris moved to Lodi, CA, again to be near family – in this case, his 98-year-old mother Wahneta Chase, his sister Lois Finch, her husband Jim, and their children and grandchildren.
Ken became active in his homeowner's association and held offices in the organization. It was in Lodi that the two died last year.
Ken and Doris will be remembered for several things: Their openness to receiving guests in their home, their maintaining life-long friendships- some going back to early school days, their involvement in the local community, and their concern for those less fortunate. Some nieces remember Doris for her recipes, especially those for baked beans and potato salad. Some nieces and nephews remember Ken for their first motorcycle ride. Others enjoyed kidding him for always wearing white socks with black shoes. They laughingly called him Cliff Clavin, and he enjoyed their attention. Yes, Doris and Ken are both dead, but they still live in the memories of those who knew and loved them.
Doris and Ken are survived by her brother Lou Carlson, Ken's brother Bob, his wife Dallas, Ken's sister Nadine Neuhaus, his sister Lois Finch, her husband Jim, and many nephews and nieces from both sides of the family.
Ken and Doris gave generously to the Salvation Army. Donations to that charity in their names will be gratefully accepted.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Jan. 4 to Jan. 11, 2013