WWII Veteran Henry C. Chase “Hank”, 97, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 20, 2019 at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, MI. Henry was born on December 22, 1921 in Chicago, IL, the son of Walter and Sophie Czachowski and the youngest of 6 children. He graduated in 1940 from Lane Tech High School and went to work as a precision cutting tool grinder. As WWII started, Henry was given deferments from the draft so he could instruct women to take over the jobs of machinery operators. In 1943, his deferments ended. With his father’s death in 1942 and his mother already having two sons in the Army Infantry, he was allowed to choose which branch of service he entered. Since walking in the mud did not appeal to him, he chose the Coast Guard with the hopes he would be stationed in the USA and be able to check on his mother every now and then. Little did he know! Upon completion of boot camp and Diesel School, he was assigned to a Coast Guard manned Destroyer Escort ship, the U.S.S. Kirkpatrick DE-318, as a Motor Man. The ship made numerous convoy trips across the North Atlantic from New York to Europe. After V.E. day the U.S.S. Kirkpatrick was sent to Cuba, thru the Panama Canal to California, Hawaii and then to Japan, to support the pending invasion. Prior to arrival in Japan, the war came to an end. When in Japanese coastal waters, Henry was transferred to an LST retrofitted to use as a “Mine Sweeping Ship”. While on the LST, he volunteered to row Navy Demolition Experts out to disarm mines that could not be blown up by gun fire. For these actions he was awarded both a Navy Commendation Medal and a Coast Guard Commendation Medal. He returned home to Chicago after being honorably discharged. Henry made the channel 6 news, when at age 96 the Coastguard presented him with his medals at the Coastguard Station in Marquette.
On June 1, 1946, Henry married the love of his life, Betty Anys (originally from Watersmeet, MI) who was one of the women he taught to operate precision grinding equipment prior to enlisting. In the mid 1950’s Henry and two of his brothers changed their family surname to Chase.
Henry and Betty raised their three children in Chicago and Norridge, IL until they retired in 1986 and moved to Escanaba, MI where they enjoyed being close to Betty’s family. Henry lost the love of his life in 1992 but remained in Escanaba. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, gardening, traveling, making new friends and most of all being with people he loved. He was a member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church and took pride, until the age of 92, volunteering his services at luncheons for grieving families after the funeral masses. In 2017 he became a resident of the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, MI., There he continued to thrive and make many new friends, both residents and staff.
Henry is survived by his children, Tom Chase, Gloria Traudt, and Cindy (John) Matik; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by many loving family members and close loving friends that were like family to him and Betty.
Henry was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Betty; and five siblings, Stanley Czachowski, Loretta Reimer, Virginia Rietesel, Edwin Chase and Leonard Chase.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 28, 2019 at St. Anne Catholic Church in Escanaba. A memorial mass will follow at 11:00 a.m., Friday, with Father Fran DeGroot officiating. A luncheon will be served at the conclusion of the services in the church fellowship hall. Military Honors will be conducted at 1:30 p.m., Friday, at Holy Cross Cemetery by the Delta County Veterans Council. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests memorials please be directed to a worthy organization of your choice.