A memorial for Edith Chase will be held:
Saturday, August. 12, 2017 – 11:00 AM
Kent United Church of Christ
1400 East Main St.
Kent, OH 44240
Edith Chase, 1924 – 2017
I first met Edith at a clean air meeting in Cleveland in the late 1970’s. There were only women at the meeting: Emeline Clawson, Ellen Knox, and others I have forgotten. They were talking language I did not understand – legalese, chemistry and physics. These were not sign-carrying, slogan-backed protesters.
They were women of science confronting the most substantial issues of the day using the most substantial line of reasoning of that day or any day. Edith became the respected voice of reason for a generation of environmental issues. She was completely unflappable and full of good humor. Our work, she said, is the challenge of living in interesting times. Her
copious comments, written in a variety of venues to a variety of administrators on a variety of issues were always attended and responded to. No one dared ignore her. She was a professional and an exemplary citizen. No one every labeled her an extremist. How could they? She always chose accepted points of science for her position defense and read her comments with measured voice without a hint of recrimination. Her point of view did not always prevail, but she was always welcome back.Through nearly 50 years, hers was the voice that was anticipated and noted. That voice drove issues related to the Great Lakes, Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Somehow, she never became impatient. She saw her role as an educator, shedding light where the cloak of “economic” self-interest casts its long
shadow. Interestingly, she understood both the corporate self-interest and its long shadow.
Where would we be without that quiet, constant voice and that enigmatic smile? Where would the rules and regulations, which steer public policy related to our river and lake, be without Edith? How would our lives be duller and less vibrant without her cogent, sharp wit? Certainly, our understanding of our role in the world of public policy would be weaker. Without our feet of clay whose arguments Edith taught us to embrace, we would be viewed as voices in the wildness.
Thank goodness we don’t have to imagine life without her. With her strong presence, Edith changed the landscape, the watershed and the course of our river, both actually and figuratively. A friend to all. A champion. A force of nature. To those of us who love her, she was a profit, ushering in a better world grounded in her immense humanity and good will.
We are grateful for all her efforts. The future of our Crooked River lies ahead in the path she forged.
Elaine Marsh, pupil, friend, ally, mourner